Entrepreneurship is at the heart of the American people, and many hope to start a successful business. The number of successful businesses, however, tells a different story. In many cases, new entrepreneurs fail to understand the influence of technology, especially the internet.  In this series of interviews, we ask entrepreneurs what they had to say about how consumer behavior is influenced online before purchasing.

The question we asked them in this interview series was – What advice would you share with new entrepreneurs knowing that consumer behavior is deeply influenced by what they find online? Depending on the study an average of 80% of shoppers research their product online before purchasing.

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Matt Miller

Title: CEO

Company: Embroker

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/millermatthewc/

While many entrepreneurs rightly focus on the quality of their products and services, they often forget about the customer’s overall online experience and that is why it is important to simplify it. Part of the attraction of purchasing online is the convenience, however, if a website is clumsy, hard to understand, or makes the checkout process unnecessarily complex, it can lead to a lost sale.

Ensuring that your instructions are easy to follow, limiting the steps from product selection to purchase, and making the shipping guidelines clear, will help put the customer at ease and prevent the frustration that can result in abandoned carts. By spending as much time in simplifying the online shopping experience as you do ensuring the quality of your offerings, you will reinforce that sense of convenience and increase conversions.

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Dawood Khan

Title: CEO

Company: Pixelied

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dawoodkhan66/

In a world where the majority of consumers are researching products online before purchasing, cultivating a pristine online reputation has become more important than it ever was. What this boils down to is how you handle your customer experience. The more satisfied your customers are with your product or service, the more likely they are to leave favorable comments on your product. This user-generated content is a powerful tool than can boost your product’s desirability in the marketplace.

However, what is even more likely to happen is for customers to leave unfavorable reviews whenever they have a bad experience with your product. You can keep this from happening too often by focusing on always delivering exemplary service, but you can never prevent it 100%. As soon as an unfavorable feedback goes live online, you have to mitigate the damage by responding to the feedback promptly and offering solutions. You may not be able to please the disgruntled customer completely, but at least you’ll be seen as someone who really cares what their customer thinks.

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Oscar Rodriguez

Title: Founder

Company: OssieRodriguez.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ossierodriguez/

First, it’s important to have a strong online presence. This means having a well-designed website and active social media accounts. It’s also important to make sure that your online content is high-quality and informative. If potential customers can’t find information about your product or service online, they’re likely to go to a competitor who does have a strong presence.

Second, you need to be aware of how consumers are searching for products and services online. This means using the right keywords on your website and in your social media content. It also means making sure that your website shows up in relevant search results.

Third, you need to be prepared to answer any questions that potential customers might have about your product or service. This means having a FAQ section on your website and being active on social media. You should also make sure that you have customer service reps who are available to answer questions via phone or live chat.

Finally, you need to be aware of the fact that consumer behavior is constantly changing. This means that you need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and changes in the online world. Only by doing this will you be able to keep your finger on the pulse of the consumer market and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

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Sarah Ross

Title: Co-Founder | Financial Adviser

Company: CocoLoan

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-ross-63963b242/

The continuous advancement of technology allowed our world to transform digitally. It gives us many advantages and provided us with more connectivity than ever before. The market now is dominantly influenced by the internet. In fact, consumers are becoming smarter and smarter in purchasing. 80% of the consumers are now said to be doing the research before buying something. This is actually a good thing since they are making use of the technology since information can now be easily disseminated. However, it could pose a problem to new entrepreneurs that have a budding business without an established name for itself.

The first thing that you should make sure of is to have high quality products and services so that when a few people trust your business, they will not regret it and even spread the word for you to their friends and families resulting in a larger reach and possible wider engagement.

Consumers now give extreme value to transparency. They now boycott and instantaneously dismiss businesses that have questionable practices or even just because of the political stance of the business leaders behind the company. A perfect example would be the cosmetic companies that test their product on animals such as rabbits. This is said to be an act of animal cruelty and now people are more careful in picking the product of their choice and take into consideration animal cruelty free brands.

It is an important and effective move to include in your business processes advocacies for the betterment of social and environmental concerns. This can not only boost your sales but can also be used for long term plans. Additionally, businesses that stem from sustainability and concern in the prevalent and underlying community issues are more favored now and even romanticized by consumers.

Once you were able to rope in a few customers, make sure that they provide honest feedback and even testimonies about your services or products. These reviews can be used to attract more customers by posting feedback or testimony on your social media accounts and website. This can increase the trust rating of your technical audience and will be enticed to try out your product or service.

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Stella Scott

Title: CEO

Company: EasyPaydayLoan

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stella-scott-a98162237/

Leverage short video content.

With shoppers researching products and services online, new entrepreneurs need to leverage video to market themselves, engage their customers, and improve conversions. Online prospects have shorter attention spans, such that, while written articles may give more information, they tend to be boring, necessitating the use of short videos which pack a bigger punch. Moreover, people understand better when they listen and see than reading plain texts, meaning the incorporation of graphics, music, and testimonials will enhance sales as customers internalize the value offered by entrepreneurs.

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Patti Naiser

Title: Owner

Company: Senior Home Transitions

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patti-naiser-5168b410/

My number one piece of advice for new entrepreneurs understanding consumer behavior is to adopt predictive and prescriptive analytics. These industry-specific tools can help you generate valuable insights on forecasting future trends using your company’s old data.

Due to this, you can make real-time changes to your marketing and sales strategies. It can directly impact your target audience’s perception of the brand vision and image. Additionally, prescriptive analytics can help create practical solutions to your problems in these uncertain times.

In today’s fast-paced world, having a more streamlined online presence is an important tactic for gaining potential leads. Hence, it’s advisable to use both tools simultaneously, as they not only assist in making insight-driven decisions but they suggest recommendations according to the business needs. As a result, it helps boost your customer relationships and increase profitability.

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Aviad Faruzon

Title: CEO

Company: Faruzo

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faruzaviad/

Seeing that today’s world is heavily influenced and dependent on technology, entrepreneurs need to immerse themselves in understanding the modern criteria for business. Online shopping is now associated with even the least active consumer in the market. Convenience and pandemic have combined to birth the term ‘diversity’ when it comes to shopping.

It’s critical as ever to study the mind of buyers and that is only possible through first hand exposure to the social media spectrum. Young entrepreneurs have this glistening advantage since they grew up surfing the internet and indulging in online shopping themselves.

I would advise interested individuals to think like the consumer so it’s easier to see their patterns. Understanding social media insights and metrics is crucial to growing a startup, especially when it’s new.

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Randy Soderman

Title: Founder and CEO

Company: Soderman SEO

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/soderman-seo

My best advice for new entrepreneurs is to add customer testimonials and reviews to your website. Since potential buyers thoroughly research a product before purchasing it, it’ll be beneficial for you to post customer reviews. This can completely make or break the consumer’s preferences and influence them to buy your products.

Remember that customers will be more encouraged to purchase from you if they see that others like them are satisfied with your products. Thus, highlighting the positive impact that reviews and testimonials can have on your sales and profit margins. So, you must encourage your loyal customers to leave positive reviews or even make video testimonials if they’re comfortable.

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Syed Balkhi

Title: Founder

Company: WpBeginner

Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/syedbalkhi

Consumer behaviour is modified time after time based on previous experiences, past purchases, what they’ve learnt about the industry and what other people share about how to purchase a product safely and properly. So, it’s obvious that you, new entrepreneurs, need to be aware of what’s going on out there with the industry, the trends, your competitors, what the influencers have already done and what the experts have already said about what you’re going to do.

Based on those factors, you can clearly come up with the strategy to promote your product online to give your leads insights into what they are going to buy with data-driven trust and references from authoritative sources. After all, it’s the trust issue which you can’t build in one day – it will take time and patience to build up the relationships and nurture the leads.

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Amy Wampler

Title: CEO

Company: Spartan Mechanical

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/spartan-mechanical

I would advise entrepreneurs to practice adaptability when analyzing consumer behavior. Business owners should carefully observe the market and judge what metrics they should rank for their website. In today’s climate, consumers’ needs are ever-changing, and entrepreneurs must stay on top of things if they want to succeed. Business owners can research what offerings consumers are interested in and market their brand accordingly.

Once individuals understand the target audience’s behavior, it can lead to them making informed decisions. This measure inevitably increases the conversion rate. You should create a dashboard that can help you visualize data in a streamlined manner. It would help you determine patterns of your target audiences, allowing you to create effective campaigns.

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Erin Zadoorian

Title: CEO

Company: BudPop

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erin-zadoorian-95282419b/

There are several brands and established businesses everywhere. Being a new entrepreneur is risky and challenging. Fortunately, there are ways to understand consumer behavior. When you create attractive marketing strategies, you will have a higher chance of getting noticed by consumers online. Information and reputation of a business is spread online like a wildfire so utilize social media platforms efficiently. It is important to make a good and lasting impression to get the customers’ loyalty. Track and keep up with the latest trends to satisfy the needs of the customers. The combination of good marketing and excellent customer service will allow a business owner to capture the hearts of the customers.

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Brandon Walsh

Title: Founder

Company: Dads Agree

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandonmwalsh/

advice for entrepreneurs looking to make their products more attractive to savvy consumers online is to create eye-catching and well-thought-out content. If customers spend more time researching, invest in educating them. Jot down research-oriented product descriptions. Pay special attention to digital design, photography and make engaging videos. Informed clients prefer buying from businesses that voluntarily dole out details about their goods.

Testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers are also vital sources of information about your brand. Make sure your social media accounts and website display positive experiences buyers have had with your company. Consumers tend to trust each other. A purchaser praising your merchandise will leave a much greater impact than you promoting yourself.

Lastly, pay attention to changing market trends and tailor your communication accordingly. Simply put, if your clients are researching you, research them back and keep an eye on their needs.

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Brad Cummins

Title: Owner

Company: Insurance Geek

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/insurance-geek/mycompany/?viewAsMember=true

Pricing is the king, ruling your entire business. Your pricing strategy must be highly competitive with the rates which are available online! A regular check-up on your online competitor’s price must be kept; accordingly, the prices must be altered. Selling platforms such as Amazon and eBay hold minimal inventory eligibility to have people sell online. Because of such reasons, bulk purchases are made, so they get their stuff at much lower rates. This is where the pricing is differentiated. However, analyzing the demand forces and making purchases in bulk while providing further demands can have you in the perfect profit margin state.

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suzanne sachs

Title: President

Company: Vintagediamondring.com

Linkedin:

Any brand can have a logo and a product, but when a consumer can turn to a company and know their purchases say something about who they are and what matters to them, it falls into a different category. When you connect with them on that level you are able to tap into their world.

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Alice Eve

Title: Marketing Director

Company: Cicinia France

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alice-eve-740479245/

Because consumers will associate their values, desires, or aspirations online with a brand, product, or service, emotional connection is a powerful motivator of behavior. These connections are frequently hidden in the unconscious and go unnoticed. Because they are predictable and consistent, leveraging them is the most effective long-term business strategy. While your customers may not express their intentions explicitly, their actions frequently reveal clues. The worth of emotional connection is not speculative; it can be measured. Customers who are emotionally connected spend more and recommend your brand more frequently.

In my experience, some customer behavioral metrics that you need to track are:

Bounce Rate – As a rough benchmark you should be aiming for around the 40% mark, the lower the better. This metric indicates relevancy i.e. if a user bounces immediately visiting your website it is quite likely that they did not find what they were looking for.

Time on Site – A good metric to identify how much users are engaging with your content, the more time spent on your site, the more engaged they are with your content

Conversion Rate – How many people convert on your website, this metric will vary depending on your industry, if you are looking for a target, anywhere between 2 – 3 % would be a good start.

Users – How many users you actually get to the website

Currently I am using Google Analytics to analyze my customers’ behavior and track my business growth. All-in-all, I think it’s a great tool since I can create specific segments of customers and further engage with them accordingly via hyper-personalization. Also, the number of different metrics available on the platform is mind blowing.

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Tom Leighton

Title: COO

Company: Sofary Lighting

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-leighton-89135723a/

My advice to new entrepreneurs would be to invest significantly in growing their presence online, especially on popular social media platforms. Find out which platforms your target audience spends most of their time on, and the type of content they are responsive to. These insights should guide you when developing your social media marketing schedule and strategy. Ideally, you should strive to target the right audience on the right platform using content that they’re most responsive to.

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Stephanie Hastings

Title: Content and Outreach Manager

Company: Power Biopharms

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-sd3/

It is no question that reaching your consumers online – and utilizing social media well – is essential to any brand. We must always be consumer-focused and reach our customers where they are. Getting to know where they are begins with research, strategy and utilizing analytics. Beginning with data (SEO, SEM) helps set the stage for the plan. It’s important to answer the consumer and that’s where you find out what they’re asking for.

Beyond that, here are more tips that are important to remember:

Be consistent in your brand voice and your branding on all platforms.

Be authentic to you and you will attract your customer. You won’t be for everyone and that’s okay.

Post regularly and vary the type of post. Once you know what kind of info the desired audience is looking for, that helps in knowing what to post. A common thematic rotation includes informative, behind-the-scenes, advetorial, and human elements. Also sprinkle in what trends if appropriate.

Remember that it takes 30 touch points (times the consumer is reached by you in various areas) these days – thanks to the growth and reach of media types.

Know your audience so that you can engage with them – the most important part of social media is the engagement. Take time to comment on other posts and answer comments and questions directed to you.

There are no shortcuts. Quality digital outreach is a long game. Buying bots or followers will only hurt you long term.

It is absolutely worth it to pay an experienced person to do this for you. Social and digital marketing for a business or brand is very different from how you, personally, use your own accounts.

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Alexis Taub

Title: Founder

Company: Alexis Jae Jewelry

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexis-taub/

Online shopping allows customers to compare a limitless number of products with minimal effort, so it is essential to highlight the benefit of buying your product over the competitors. At Alexis Jae Jewelry, price is our main competitive advantage. We offer fine jewelry without mark-ups. Customers looking for affordable jewelry can compare our prices based on the diamond quality, gold weight, and craftmanship. Besides highlighting your competitive advantage, you must have a strong brand identity that makes your brand relatable. Share your brand’s story – who are you, why are you selling your product, and does your brand give back?

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Maria McDowell

Title: Founder

Company: Easy Search People

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-mcdowell-54a11a233/

Consumers are greatly influenced by what they see, especially online; that is why new entrepreneurs should be more focused on building quality products and excellent customer service. Most consumers focus on reviews to make decisions when shopping online. When consumers want to purchase online, they leverage other people’s experiences to make their purchasing decision. As an entrepreneur, building quality product that satisfies consumer needs and customer service that impresses them is one of the best ways to make your business successful. Satisfied customers leave great reviews that attract others. Also, happy customers are more likely to refer others to your business.

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Blaire Brown

Title: Founder & CEO

Company: Visionary Advantages, Brand Strategy Group

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blairebrown/

There are 2 significant ways to stand out from your competition online when consumers are scanning through their options. First and foremost, it’s critical to have a solid foundation for your branding. If your branding looks professional, is backed up with testimonials for social proof, and your product/service is truly solving a relevant problem for your consumers– you’ll be starting out on the right foot. Secondly, search engine optimization (SEO) is also another strategy that businesses should leverage to get their brand noticed the most organically. Imagine if your site was at the top of Google’s search results every time (without paid ads.) From the audience’s perspective, this is going to immediately give your business more credibility and could be the leverage that gets them to purchase from you.

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Darren Litt

Title: Co-Founder

Company: Hiya Health

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/darren-litt-3057402/

If you’re looking to start your own business, knowing how the internet influences consumer behavior is essential. This is because many people now rely on the internet as their primary source of information when making purchasing decisions. When they hear a brand, the first thing they’ll do is search for it online and see what comes up. If you don’t have any online presence, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers and revenue.

Here are a few tips on how to make sure your business is visible online:

1. Invest in SEO
Ensure your website is optimized for search engines so that people can easily find it when searching for relevant keywords. Use relevant keywords throughout your site, including in the title, Meta tags, and content. A website ranking highly in search results is more likely to get traffic and generate leads.

2. Use Social Media
Another way to increase your online visibility is to use social media. Create profiles on popular platforms like Facebook, Tiktok, and Instagram. Post engaging content regularly and interact with your followers. This will help you build a strong online presence and reach a wider audience.

3. Use Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is a great way to get your business in front of more people. Invest in Google Ads and Facebook Ads to reach people who are most likely interested in your products or services. You can also tweak your targeting options to make sure the right people are seeing your ads.

4. Create Valuable Content
Content is still king when it comes to online marketing. Creating high-quality content relevant to your target audience will help you attract attention and build a loyal following. Write blog posts, create infographics, and produce videos that provide value and offer something that people are looking for. This way, you’ll be able to establish yourself as an expert in your industry and gain the trust of potential customers.

5. Stay Active Online
It’s not enough to just create an online presence; you need to be active and engage with your audience. Respond to comments, answer questions, and join conversations. This will help you build relationships and connect with potential customers. Build a community around your brand and give people a reason to keep coming back. When people see that your business is active online, they’ll be more likely to trust you and do business with you – this is because they know they’ll be able to reach you if they need to.

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Michael Miller

Title: Editor

Company: Luxury Cars A2Z

Linkedin:

Shoppers/customers require various degrees of client assistance, and understanding the distinctions inside your client base will assist you with offering the most suitable support for every individual necessity.

Consumer behaviour analysis has arisen as a significant instrument to figure out your clients. By investigating this, organizations can create new items, showcase efforts, and increment benefits.

Organizations ought to converse with shoppers, keep an eye out for disappointments, and in particular, recognize their requirements and assumptions.

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Colette Shelton

Title: CEO, Chirpyest

Company: Chripyest

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/search/results/all/?keywords=colette%20shelton&origin=RICH_QUERY_SUGGESTION&position=0&searchId=d0187d75-4bc0-4dcd-ad14-e93f7191e953&sid=Zj4

I love online shopping so much that I started my own discount shopping site! Not buying blindly, especially in the fashion, home, lifestyle and beauty realms, is particularly important to younger consumers. Researching products online can be even more effective than buying in a brick and mortar because consumers can see reviews. They can also get detailed descriptions and insights not obvious to the average shopper. Having researchable products online is a great way to drive traffic to your site, intrigue customers and lead to sales.

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Sam Speller

Title: Founder

Company: Kenko Matcha

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sam-speller-49613517a/

The most important thing you can do as a new entrepreneur is to create a strong brand identity. People are more likely to trust and buy from brands they recognize and like, so be sure to invest in the right marketing materials and build up your online presence so that people know who you are. It’s also important to bring in the right online marketing personnel at the start of your business so that they can work on building this brand identity as soon as you establish your venture.

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