At a Glance
- Mobile Google searches for “that looks like” have grown by over 60% in the past two years
- Shoppers aren’t allowing tough economic times to hinder their aspirations, so comparison research is on the rise
- It’s more important than ever for brands to help people in the moment they’re making these decisions
In the past two years, Google mobile searches with the phrase “that looks like” grew by over 60%, indicating that consumers may not be able to afford what they’re looking for, but they are willing to settle.
Whether it’s inexpensive tiles that look like wood, a Honda that looks like a Ferrari, or new furniture that looks like antiques, imitation alternatives have dominated search bars as consumers compromise accepting products that are as good as the best for less.
The big idea: Be the practical option for the cash-strapped consumer
Being the alternative to what consumers really want, but can’t have doesn’t sound like a good way to do business – but sometimes shoppers must face the reality that the exact thing they want is out of their price range.
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“Today’s research-obsessed consumers aren’t letting price get in the way of aspiration,” according to Google. “They realise they have the tools to find something similar to that aspirational product, but that’s more practical for them.”
What’s in it for you: Your brand is top of mind as a viable alternative
It’s a fact: Shoppers are using search to research alternatives to some of the world’s best and most popular brands. While this may make some brands uncomfortable, this presents an opportunity for you to stand out.
“It’s more important than ever for brands to help people in the moment they’re making these decisions,” says Sara Kleinberg, Head of Research & Insights at Google.
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Kleinberg’s suggestion for brands concerned about competing on price is to highlight product features “and enable product comparisons in a way that benefits their brand.” The more tech savvy route would be for your business to optimise its content so it appears in these searches.
Make it happen
Capitalise on consumers’ high aspirations on a tight budget and discover how being the alternative can work to your brand’s benefit. Here’s how:
1. Establish the aspirations people associate with your product category. Use this information to highlight your product’s best features, instead of competing on price.
2. Use product comparisons to benefit your brand and how it’s seen in the market. Being a cheaper alternative doesn’t have to mean you’re second-best.
3. Optimise your content to increase visibility when users search for ‘brands like’ or ‘stores like’. This puts you top of mind when they’re seeking comparisons to other brands.
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