Where do your customers decide to buy something from your website? Do they decide to buy while surfing the web? Do they decide to buy while on a social network? Or do they decide to buy somewhere else? The location of the decision to purchase is an important consideration since if most of your marketing is in that place, it will have the greatest impact.

People make the decision to buy something online while at home

People often make the decision to buy something while at home

So, it is worthwhile thinking about the location of purchase for your web site. Let’s think, as an example, about grocery shopping. When on a site like Tesco, do the customers decide to buy their shopping on the web page – or was the decision to get groceries made elsewhere? Almost certainly the decision is elsewhere – perhaps in the kitchen when the realisation comes that the fridge is empty.

Consider also the decision to buy a new laptop. Does that come when an individual browses the Dell site? Or was the decision made elsewhere? Almost certainly the decision is elsewhere – perhaps on the train when the person realises their current laptop has several broken keys.

And what about the decision to buy some consultancy services for your business? Do you make that kind of decision whilst browsing management consultant websites?  Almost certainly the decision is elsewhere – perhaps at a business networking meeting when discussing with your fellow business people the current state of your business.

In spite of the billions of pounds spent online almost all of it is based on decisions made offline. The location of the decision to buy is not on a web page, but in a buyer’s home or office. So, for your web site’s products and services, how much influence do you have in those locations? How much presence do you have in the home or in the office of your potential clients?

If your business messages are not present in the place of decision to purchase, you can’t influence that decision. Hence, for anyone selling products and services online, the most important place to “be” is offline. That means branding, public relations, promotional merchandise – and all the other offline marketing activities that have served businesses so well for years before the Internet came along.

The web is merely a delivery channel for your products and services; if you want to influence purchasing decisions, you need to be where those decisions are made – which for most things is not on the Internet.

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