Last month in this space, I reviewed a series of market projections for 2014 from Harvard University as well as the industry’s leading associations.
World wide word-of-mouth
As the Internet evolves into the most powerful purchasing
tool ever created, so does its impact in facilitating the growth of online conversation to influence buying decisions
Researching remodeling searches
At Professional Remodeler magazine, we wanted to know when ZMOT occurs in the remodeling buying cycle. We theorized that it would be different for each type of remodeling project, depending on the amount of investment required. Because there was no research in the market to help us determine the answer, we partnered with RenovationExperts.com, a Web service that connects consumers with contractors in the United States. Approximately 200 consumers who had hired a contractor through the website from January 2012 to May 2012 provided responses to questions about their Internet searches leading up to hiring of a contractor. And, for the first time, we now have a sense how far out ZMOT occurs with remodeling searches. We also have a sense of the questions they are asking when they go online to research their projects.
It should come as no surprise that larger remodeling projects had the largest average lead times of searches conducted prior to decision time, when consumers reached out to a remodeler and signed a design agreement or contract. Other than searches by consumers looking to build new custom homes and outbuildings, kitchen remodel clients had the longest lead times in their ZMOT searches, with their most meaningful questions coming eight months to a year before they hired a remodeler to do the work. Decks and room additions came next. (See chart Finding ZMOT in Remodeling: lead time of web searches by type of remodeling project).