7 min read 07/03/2023

The Hidden Search Costs Customers Face Online

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Costs are not exclusive to the realm of currency. Yes, money is the tangible medium of exchange in the modern world. Who doesn’t dream of skiing down a mountain made of dollar bills? Even the creatives at our Brisbane web and digital agency share the same fantasy!

Daydreaming aside, dollar figures obscure the hidden search costs imposed on online visitors. The intangibles or the “less fancy” costs are often completely neglected by business owners in favour of the $. However, these hidden costs are not immaterial and are much scarcer in availability.

In the mindset of the consumer, these hidden cost considerations are unconscious; they subliminally shape their search behaviours, out of sight but not out of mind. Naturally, Brisbane design agencies like ours consolidate those metrics in the bespoke design of the digital user experience (UX).

Harnessing these silent signals in your digital marketing strategy puts your business in a seriously advantageous position. Stop letting profit tunnel-vision jeopardise your business’s long-term growth.

But first, allow us to lift the veil over your eyes, and discuss the unrealised opportunities each hidden search cost poses.

Search Costs Explained

According to Investopedia, search costs are the time and energy expended by customers to search for the right product or service to satisfy their immediate needs and wants.

Traditionally, search costs don’t have dollar figures attributed to them, but they are a noteworthy influence in the decision-making framework.

Depending on the customer persona being targeted, several consumers are satisfied to pay a price premium for a product or service if the intangible savings in both time and energy outweighs it. Oppositionally, the competing persona values real cost-savings over intangible benefits.

In Behavioural Economics, the former group has a high “present-day bias”, overvaluing immediate gains over future gains. Conversely, the latter group has a low “present-day bias”, where the elapsed wait time or expended effort does not matter as much in the decision-making process.

Now, let’s focus on the implications that search costs bring to the round table:

Opportunity 1: Improving the Discovery Phase For Time Savings

While the degrees in how much both groups value spontaneity over cost-savings varies severely, a lower-search cost is still a significant net positive in the decision-making process.

This applies across the entire web search experience and conversion process, irrespective of the industry you’re serving. Let’s examine this lucrative opportunity from the beginning.

When a user searches for a product/service or solution to a problem, the user defers to the expertise of the Google search engine for valuable information. For example, over 0.63% of Google users visit the second page of their search results.

Search costs amidst the online discovery phase are extremely high, and more than 99% of online visitors immensely value high website visibility. Plus, landing on your webpage doesn’t guarantee a complete visit. Take it from our digital agency: if your page takes longer than 2-3 seconds, 90% of online visitors are bound to bounce!

The direct solution to these problems is excellent SEO, be it on-page, off-page, or technical. Alas, SEO is more a continuous art, less so a science and demands a concrete understanding of its technical nuances.

To complicate things further, SEO is not a static profession — it’s an amorphous landscape that continuously requires a hands-on approach.

Given the enormous ROI this venture promises, we highly recommend outsourcing the services of Brisbane web and digital agency for fruitful results. The result is an enormous reduction in consumer search costs, attracting more viable customers to your website’s doorstep.

Opportunity 2: A Strong UX and Efforts Savings

The discovery phase is complete. Opportunity 2 (UX) is what strictly certifies a conversion on your website. To surmise, your website is like a virtual hotel; an open space for guests to experience the quality of its facilities and offerings first-hand.

Understanding the journey a buyer or visitor takes on your website is paramount to delivering an unrivalled UX. How a user travels across the omnichannel, from one segment to the next, should be buttery smooth and free from odd irregularities.

Designing a user interface (UI) that removes barriers to entry and accessibility with a seamless transition between elements reduces the effort needed to traverse it. Superfluous elements should be completely removed for a clean and crisp website.

Lightning-fast load times and straightforward navigability are surefire guarantees for increased conversion rates. Save your target audience both time and energy, and they’ll see the underlying value of your brand and its key offerings.

Our Brisbane web and digital agency have the internal capacity and capabilities to develop a straightforward and intuitive UX and UI that retains and converts. But we’ll discuss what else we can do to scale your business at the end of the feature.

Opportunity 3: Enticing Your Audience.

Consider this a bonus in the world of search costs! The existence of luxury brands signifies the exorbitant willingness to pay for a product/service perceived to be of higher quality — the operative word here is “perceived”.

Now, we’re not suggesting you price-gouge prospects in exchange for your wares! Instead, we are offering you a brilliant opportunity to heighten the “perceived” value of your entire brand in exchange for a premium asking price. A strong value proposition can offset the lagging stages in your sales funnel.

The graphical and verbal collateral and content populating your online presence should complement each another. Before developing said content, every responsible business owner should create and structure a comprehensive digital brand strategy.

This end-all-be-all blueprint provides unmistakable instruction on how visual or verbal content should be designed or composed via mood boards or style guides. Following suit, every customer-facing piece of content should continuously showcase the fundamentals without deviating from its chartered course.

Hence, our Brisbane web and digital agency recommend that you do not neglect the visual and verbal content that fills up the elements your customers have to interact with.

In conclusion, a premium price tag can only be justified if your brand has the perceived equity to match it.

Killing Three Birds With One Agency

Search costs present a 3-in-1 chance to scale your business to Everest-like peaks! But ironically, the time and effort needed to maximise each opportunity overshadow the marginal gains in search cost savings amongst your target audience.

Conveniently enough, the solution is staring right at you!

Our full service digital agency in Brisbane is a one-stop shop for every imaginable digital branding and marketing service. Furthermore, understanding the customer’s mindset forms the nucleus of each bespoke branding or marketing strategy we craft and execute.

By identifying the intrinsic and extrinsic factors influencing his/her/they decision, we can unconsciously appeal to those desired criteria by minimising their search costs and maximising perceived value. Over time, their gains grow higher and losses go lower!

And these 3 growth opportunities are a mere sampler of what our agency can do. From billboard buying to website design, we wear all the shoes in the marketing business — there’s no obstacle or setback we’re afraid of.

Besides, our goal is to fetch your business to its absolute destination. Mobilising our first-hand expertise in the branding space, Vesanique is the one-way express carriage to success!

But don’t just take our boastful words for it! As a frontier-pushing Brisbane website designer, our “Work” page proudly exhibits the brands we’ve helped mould into the living, breathing successes they are today.

If you’re ready to take this watershed step towards destination success, then we’d like to walk this road with you as equal partners in arms! Shoot us a message or a call, and we’ll organise a brief catchup to better understand the “whys” of your business. Carpe Diem!

Let’s talk. Don’t be a stranger ?️.

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