Just when you think you know the customer journey, think again. In the digital age, new paths to purchase are forged at the tap of a touch screen. According to a Think with Google report, “How intent is redefining the marketing funnel,” as people turn to their devices for immediate answers, no two customer journeys are exactly alike. Even within the same category (say, a search for “best washing machine sales”), customer journeys take multiple shapes.
“Today, people are no longer following a linear path from awareness to consideration to purchase,” according to Google. “They are narrowing and broadening their consideration set in unique and unpredictable moments.”
Today’s customer journey is paved with personalization and multiple searches. Before a purchasing decision is made, today’s empowered consumer may zigzag from researching “best washer brands” as well as the entire category, e.g., “front loader vs. top loader,” to gathering specific details on multiple washers, to finding product reviews and searching “washer sales near me.” And these searches are in no particular order!
Navigating the tangled customer journey is like a Visa commercial: “It’s everywhere you want to be.” In “RE:MARKET: New digital techniques independent retailers can use now to compete better, grow faster and work smarter” (RWS, 2017), we explored the distinction between multichannel and omnichannel marketing:
While multichannel marketing is simply all the channels, or touchpoints, in which a consumer comes in contact with your store, i.e., your mobile site, Google Display and Facebook advertising, landing pages, in-store visits and more; an omnichannel approach, when implemented effectively, merges the multiple marketing channels by creating consistent experiences every time a consumer comes in contact with your store, virtually and physically.
This “merging of marketing channels” through consistency of your store’s brand and message is key to guiding consumers along their journeys, rather than trying to keep up with all the twists and turns they may take. And when done right, it’s an opportunity of discovery for independent retailers despite consumers’ labyrinth to purchase. To get started, here are five ways consumers’ many paths to purchase can lead to discovery of your store—and turn them into customers:
Ultimately, each digital touchpoint along the customer journey is an opportunity of discovery for your store. And as paths to purchase continue to branch out, consistency and relevance will remain the keys to the castle.You can read this article on Dealerscope by clicking here