April 29, 2012

What DRTV Buyers Like/Don't Like

Below are some more findings from my first DRTV Experiences survey. Before I get into that, however, I want to thank everyone who responded to my last post with thoughtful comments and suggestions. Thanks to one reader in particular (HT: Mark S.), I now know that the margin of error for my survey was 8.73% at a standard 95% confidence level, something to keep in mind as I reveal the results.

Many people wrote me to say that they weren't convinced an opinion survey could yield accurate data about price preferences. Some examples:

  • "Not sure you can accurately test the $10, $9.95 and $9.99 with a preference survey? Purchase behavior could be vastly different than a 'thinking' answer to a survey."
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  • "I don't think you can ask someone if they prefer a price point, as much of it happens on a subconscious level. There's a reason we like prices that evoke an 'impulse' buy. In my opinion, a better test would be convincing a marketer to run an A/B split on the two prices."
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  • "Survey questions and answers are different from unbiased actual purchasing behavior … The survey bias of the respondents might over shadow their actual impulsive behavior or conservatism. 'I am not going to swayed by a mere nickel.' Or, 'Of course I would want the lowest price possible.' The question of each price point would have to be asked independently over a large sample with an attractive product, as in reality the customer does not get a chance to make a comparative decision."

These readers are right, of course. While asking DRTV buyers for their opinions is much better than believing in 'rules of thumb' or so-called logical arguments, it is not nearly as good as running actual sales tests to measure what people do instead of what they say they do. Perhaps that will be my next step in this learning process. There are many small variables that never get tested because of the cost and their limited impact on a CPO.

For example, no one would ever air an A/B split to determine if $10 is better than $9.99. However, thanks to modern Web-testing platforms like Permission Interactive's Predict-A-Hit, such 'micro-testing' is now cheaper and easier then ever, so it's quite possible I'll be able to validate my findings with sales testing in the near future.

Returning to the DRTV Experiences survey: One of the first things we asked people is what DRTV product(s) they had purchased and what they liked most and least about the experience. Here are the findings:

LIKED MOST

  • The ease and convenience of buying off TV were, by far, what people liked most about their DRTV buying experience. About 18% of respondents mentioned "ease" specifically, and another 10% mentioned "convenience."
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  • The price of the product came in second with about 13% of respondents mentioning this factor.
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  • And third? Believe it or not, 10% of respondents liked that the product worked as advertised.
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  • Other things people mentioned: being excited by the product's promise (6%), the speed with which the product was delivered (6%) and the uniqueness of the product (4%).

Incidentally, here is a smattering of the most common products respondents purchased: Telebrands' Aluma Wallet, Allstar's Eggies, Allstar's EZ Moves, TriStar's Genie Bra, Telebrands' Lint Lizard, Telebrands' Orgreenic and Allstar's Perfect Meatloaf.

LIKED LEAST

  • The high cost of shipping and handling, especially with regard to BOGO offers that charge double S&H, was the biggest pet peeve of survey respondents. Thirteen percent of respondents mentioned this issue specifically.
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  • There was a three-way tie for the second thing people liked least about their DRTV buying experience between: a) upsells, b) shipping delays and c) poor product quality. All three were mentioned by about 7% of respondents.
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  • Another 6% of respondents said that the product they received did not work as advertised. This is interesting in light of the fact that 10% said the opposite.

So there you have it. Any DRTV marketer with experience and the ability to be honest already knows people don't like the tactics we use to get our average sale up. This survey just confirms it. However, these problems may not be solvable. As long as media costs continue to rise, and DRTV buyers remain much more willing to buy products at $10 than $20, these issues will remain.

On the bright side, these numbers imply that no one issue is overwhelming. For example, even if we apply the margin of error in an unfavorable way to the least liked aspect of DRTV buying (high S&H costs), we're still talking about less than one-quarter of DRTV buyers. Indeed, a much larger percentage of DRTV buyers (24% vs.13%) said they could think of nothing they disliked about their experience.

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