Even as little as a hundred years ago, the ability to manufacture a quality product was a huge marketing advantage. Today, this is no longer true. A company offers a new product and just a few days later, eBay and other websites have knock-offs at half the price. Using 3D printers, people can create parts and tools at home that even a few decades ago, could not be created without hundreds of thousands of dollars in research and equipment.

For all these reasons, customers today are pickier than ever before. Because of the Internet, they also have more choice. Here are three factors that play a huge role in how customers today choose products:

The product or service itself

Customers are basing their decisions on how products perform and what materials they are made of. More and more sustainability-conscious customers are choosing products made of sustainable materials. Such customers also pay attention to the packaging and recyclability of the products.

The practices of the company that creates products

Most people agree that businesses need to be not only profitable but also mindful about their influence on the environment, communities, and society. Many customers are willing to switch brands when they hear of unethical labour practices in the third-world countries. This side effect is often visible instantly after the press highlights the poor corporate social responsibility policies of a business. At the same time, many businesses that adhere to the values of sustainability are able to grow faster than their competition. Whole Foods Market is an example of such a business.

The origin of the product

Many customers are becoming aware of hidden product costs such as delivery to the point of sale. For this reason, people are buying regional and local goods more than ever before. Because of the higher prices of oil, business models of transporting products back and forth across the ocean are suffering significantly and it’s a good thing for the environment.