Software Buying Trends of 2010

The majority of those reading this blog probably can remember the first time they used a computer or when computers started becoming common in their lives.

software buying trendsFor me, I remember vying for a chance to play Oregon Trails in elementary during lunch time instead of having to go outside for recess. (I know – it’s a lame memory because I’m not old enough to remember computers the size of entire rooms).

Perhaps that’s why it seems so crazy to me that just since the 1990s the number of people owning their own computers has exploded. In a survey this summer, Elastic Path Software, a leading enterprise ecommerce solutions provider for the software, media, telco, online services, and digital reseller markets, found that 99 percent of adult software consumers in the U.S. have access to either a PC or laptop at home or work – and that a large majority also have either a smartphone or iPad as well.

I hadn’t seen anything similar to this research recently so I thought I’d share of a few tidbits from it. The survey emphasizes personal software purchases, so I adapted the tidbits to fit those of you seeking to purchase for business and/or personal reasons.

Tidbit #1: Search engines and online product reviews are the No. 1 places people start when researching software products to buy.

According to the report, 49 percent of software consumers start their search probably on Google, and 44 percent rely on customer product reviews posted online. This isn’t terribly surprising, as it’s definitely the two places I look before I buy any product – whether it’s an online sale or not. I did find it slightly surprising since I do consider primarily using search engines and product reviews a generational thing that my generation (Gen-Y) would do more than older generations that would typically make up those purchasing software.

The other two places people start in the study are friends/family and colleagues and the software company’s website.

This statistic alone is enough reason for us to continue adding as much information, reviews and additional features to our website to further help those in the software-purchasing process.

Tidbit #2: Good reviews, brand reputation and already owning or using a product of that company are the biggest influences in purchasing software.

This is something that we are definitely seeing more at SherWare compared to how we’ve seen potential clients purchase in the past. Prospective clients are definitely wanting to utilize our case studies, references and have talked to others in the industry about our software, compared to earlier clients who often found features or our competitive pricing strong enough reasons to purchase.

Tidbit #3: Half of software consumers were only moderately satisfied with the website user/online checkout process on websites where they could purchase software online.

With sites like Amazon.com and Zappos.com that have amazing online shopping experiences, it forces other websites with shopping carts to boost their experience up to similar levels too – accounting for the level is discontentment consumers have with online shopping.

This is why you will see our online store is currently under reconstruction as we work to provide the best online shopping experience so that it’s as easy or easier to shop online as it is to call and order directly from us.

Tidbit #4: Software consumers still want a physical backup of their software if they choose to digitally download when purchasing.

Despite the fact that 80 percent of software consumers prefer to purchase their software online, nearly half (41 percent) still want to receive a physical backup of their software if they choose digitally download the software when they initially purchase it. Of those, nearly 40 percent would be prepared to pay extra for the CD to have as a backup should they need it in the future.

Tidbit #5: Software consumers love to share with others how they feel about their software, so keep them happy!

I’ve touched on a similar topic previously on the importance of keeping your current clients happy as opposed to continually trying to attract new ones. This statistic solidifies the argument that it is not only economical but business-savvy to keep your current clients happy.

64 percent of software consumers will recommend their software to friends, family or colleagues and 39 percent have done one of the following: wrote an online review, shared through social media such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube or shared in user forums.

This is an important statistic for creating a viable online community where clients and potential clients can interact unbiased by software vendors.

Tidbit #6: The No. 1 reason clients switch software programs is dissatisfaction with your product (either its too slow, too many bugs, etc.)

This statistic should remind software companies the importance of user-testing and keeping the software as error-free as possible. Companies that strive to provide a healthy balance of innovative, easy-to-use and well-working software with values that offer high levels of customer service, support and satisfaction are ones that will prosper in the future.

What is your experience with buying software? Do you find yourself fitting the statistics from this year?

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