What if you could improve accuracy of your sales forecast? Learn how to determine purchase intent and properly allocate your resources for the next period.
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“We would become excellent planners if we could see into the future. If only we knew exactly who was coming to buy from us and when, we would save so much wasted cost...”
Exhausted buyers, salespeople and managers
Have you ever bought inventory based on historical data only and then unexpectedly had a large amount of stock left over (or had not enough stock)? Stop despairing and combine historical data with data-based predictions. Uncover at least the part of the future you can. How? Reveal the future by data that you collect. Find out details about your customers’ purchase intention and plan like a boss. In this article you will learn:
what purchase intention is
why we should measure it
what may affect it
how to create a purchase intention questionnaire
What is purchase intention - short definition
Purchase intention is the probability that a consumer will make a purchase in the following period of time.
The more accurately we can define purchase intent, the more accurately we can allocate all our resources. If we find out what is affecting the purchase intent of consumers in our industry or directly in our niche, we can then start to influence purchase intent positively by ourselves.
Why should we measure purchase intention
So far we have answered this question only in general terms. Let’s go more into detail. There are so many processes in each company that lead to one main goal - to sell the product. Every process is a part of a chain, there is literally no process that would be totally independent of other processes. Because the individual processes interact so much, inconsistencies in one process always carry over to another process.
Purchase intent is closely related to the main goal. Knowing the details about purchase intent will help you optimize almost all key processes and eliminate errors that affect the following processes.
If you knew the number of products that is about to be sold in the next period of time (month, quarter or one year) you could for example:
provide your buyers with data that will help them optimize stock,
optimize your workforce depending on how much you have to produce and sell,
adjust the sales strategy of your sales representatives,
launch marketing campaigns depending on changing purchase intent over time.
With the help of questionnaires, we try to estimate the purchase intent in order not to waste money, time and human capital unnecessarily.
What may affect purchase intention?
Type of the product
The more expensive a product is, the less often people will buy it and the longer they will think about who to buy it from and what exact type of product it will be. How often do you buy groceries? Almost every day. You don’t overthink, you just buy what you want to try out. If it doesn’t taste good, you will buy something else next time, no big deal.
Do you think the same way when buying a winter coat? No. You let it go through your head more precisely. You'll be wearing that coat for the next five years, so it needs to be nice, made of good quality material, windproof and waterproof. And the price has to be within your expectations too. And when you buy a new car? It can take up to a year from the first idea to the actual purchase. An ordinary mortal will only make such a purchase twice in a lifetime.
Stage of the marketing funnel
You have probably heard of the four stages of the marketing funnel - Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA). Especially if the customer journey is long (for example, when buying a car), the purchase intent of each consumer for the next period of time depends on what stage the consumer is currently at. It is essential to map the specific customer journey including crucial touchpoints. If you are aware of how people behave and what type of content and contact with your brand they currently need, you will be able to influence the real purchase intent and perhaps be able to speed up the whole customer journey.
It may be obvious which products are seasonal until you look inside the mind of the consumer. There are people who only wait on the post-seasonal discounts because normally the product would be too expensive. There are people buying bikinis in winter because they are about to spend Christmas in the Caribbean. Get to know your niche and the approach to purchasing products. Then you will be able to keep marketing and seasonality in balance. What if there is a certain group of people who buy your products out of season for a specific purpose? Get to know their characteristics and tailor your marketing communications to them.
Characteristics of your target group
For some people, purchase intent is more predictable than for others. Some people buy more impulsively and some more rationally. Some people buy a new coffee machine because their old one broke after seven years. Some people buy the same new machine because they don't like the old one anymore, it takes up too much space and can't make coffee as fast. Your goal is to find out how most of the people who buy from you behave and think. Do you dazzle them with new functionalities and design or do they need to see a famous person next to your product as an ambassador to make a purchase? By getting to know your target audience, you expand your understanding of how to influence their purchase intent.
It is crucial to measure purchase intention regularly. You can check the purchase intent only once and keep track of your customers' purchases for the next period. But you'll never get as much out of the data as you can when you compare it over time.
Not only can you compare the outputs of the surveys you conduct to make predictions for the future. You can also compare individual surveys against historical data and see over time whether the prediction has actually been reflected in real data. This way you will be able to estimate purchase intent much more accurately.
First, select a sample of respondents whose characteristics match the target group. Make the selection carefully. If the characteristics of the respondents differ from your target group, you will get biased data and will not be able to use it as a basis for decision-making. To find out more about how to identify the characteristics of your target group, read our use case: How to Create Market Research Survey.
Then conduct the survey itself (send out questionnaires and collect responses). Make sure that all respondents understand that the answers to the product questions refer to a specific time period (for example, the next six months or year).
Finally, predict market sales by converting your research results to the total size of your market.
Purchase intent survey questions - examples
The main objective is to find out the volume of projected sales for the next period. You can go for it with a Likert scale:
or with a question type called semantic differential:
Next, you find out what influences the purchase intent of your target group the most. Take inspiration from the following questions that you can further change and modify. Design them as open-ended questions or single and multiple choice questions:
What is the main “why” behind your purchase of our product?
At which price would the product already be too expensive for you?
What is the lowest price level that makes you feel the product no longer meets your quality requirements?
What would make you buy our products in larger quantities?
Would a discount make you buy more of our products?
How likely are you to buy our product out of season if we offered you a 20% discount?
What makes you buy our product out of season?
Do you see our products as seasonal, or do you need them in the same quantities over time?
Would you describe yourself as a person who makes a purchase spontaneously or rather after careful consideration?
What do you need to know about the product to buy it?
What new functionalities would make you buy the new version of our product?
What type of content do you want to read up on to get more educated about the product?
How do you currently feel about our product?
How to create your online survey?
Creation of the survey with Survio won’t take more than a few minutes. There are 19 question types for you to choose from. You can:
Add and delete questions and options,
set up a condition of obligatory question,
add an image or video,
choose the format of the answer (e-mail, number, date, text),
customize the design of your survey to match your brand colors,
add your logo or your own picture to the background.
TIP: People are usually unwilling to give their time for free. Motivate them in advance with free content to download or discount codes. Give an extra purpose to the thank-you page of your purchase intent questionnaire. You can show the discount code as a reward for their time there. You can also redirect them to your website or e-shop once they submit the survey. Encourage them to browse through your catalog and purchase your products at a reduced price.
Share your survey through various channels
In Survio, it is possible to share surveys and collect responses in a number of ways. It’s up to you whether you select only one, combine a few or use all of them. The goal is to use channels that people in your target group are used to communicating through.
Survey e-mail invitations will enable you to distribute surveys to the database of current customers. Create an e-mail campaign directly in Survio, add introductory text with description and purpose of your research. Then you can watch metrics like delivery rate, click rate, open rate and response rate to evaluate the success of the campaign.
A unique URL link that opens your survey can be easily copy-pasted in any text, any e-mail that you are about to send from your mailbox.
A QR code - don’t be afraid to use the array of black and white squares that carries a link to your survey. Questionnaires in Survio are mobile responsive, which allows respondents to comfortably fill them in using their smartphones.
Embed your surveys directly in the website content:
Iframe - the survey becomes an integral part of the web by inserting a Survio generated html code in the code of a particular web page where you want to display the survey.
A pop-up window - technically works on the same principle as the Iframe, however the display form is different. Pop-up window shows the questionnaire in a separate screen above the website’s content. It can “pop up” right after the page is loaded or you can set a delay.
A pop-over widget - uses a nice tab on the side of a screen that you can edit. Once the tab is clicked, it unfolds an interactive bubble with the questionnaire and respondents can select their answers in there.
How to get maximum out of the results
You don’t need any other statistical software to process the result analysis. Survio will generate the response analysis automatically and in real time. The data, whether it be aggregate results or individual answers, can be filtered, e.g. by answers, by date, by completion time, by source and other parameters. The reports with professional charts and tables that Survio creates can be further exported to the most common formats (PDF, DOCX, PPTX, XLSX, CSV or Google Sheets) for subsequent editing and use.
Now it is your turn!
You are now fully equipped to start your own purchase intention surveys. We believe that you will enjoy working in Survio as much as we do creating and enhancing it for you. It’s about time that the valuable data starts to roll in!