Even though online shopping seems to favor a pure value model, more than 6 in 10 of consumers rely on factors such as positive buzz about a brand when making purchase decisions, according to an Opinion Research survey for Analytic Partners. Online product reviews, for example, influence 3 in 4 shoppers. "No longer are the days brands can advocate solely for themselves. In fact, the way brands spend their marketing dollars to interact with their consumers can ultimately have a real impact on profitability," says Nancy Smith, CEO of Analytic Partners.

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