Win customers on their path to the purchase

The path to a purchase is rarely linear and often hidden in a vast array of decision making. The reality is, the shopping experience is more akin to a hunt than a peruse; one search often daisy chains to another and one search result can make the difference between your product or the competition. so how does a modern business mitigate the pitfalls loss transactions? How do we connect to customers?

Using Clickstream data from Luth Research’s opt-in panel1, shows the pages users visits that clarifies moments of intent don’t exist in a vacuum. The facts reveal these ‘moments’ belong to people who live complex lives and have complex reasonings. Businesses need to accommodating to these needs and as much as we think we know about online shopping; the fact is, we’re still learning. so with compiled data from Clickstream, Google and myself, let’s dig in

Location and Convenience
Consider targeting by location; Reaching people not only while they’re on the go but also based on where they are is an advantageous approach to your advertising dollar. Make sure to highlight your delivery options and displaying product inventory also helps demonstrate demand so customers can easily see what’s in stock and where. The intent is to make the purchasing process as fast and pain-free as possible. Aligning your store to fulfill these questions will go far with today’s shopper. Key takeaway: With the vast options we have online, make your user experience relevant and useful, People will come back if you make their lives easier.

Informed Consumers
Ads don’t always have to center on a transaction. Be helpful throughout the research process and establish your store as a trusted resource. With the volume of information available, consumers are now more informed and like it or not, businesses have to embrace this reality and the smart ones are prepared for them. Key takeaway: We have options, online even more so. Part of your service capacity can also function as a source of information. you have the expertise, why not build trust and relationship with it.

Search leads to Discovery
Search is a means of discovery and while some are interested in brand loyalty, most aren’t committed to it. Customers are actively looking for guidance and ultimately discovering products and services that meet their needs. As you refine your understanding of the customer, consider the product discovery moments you want to capture. Think beyond the last click. Key takeaway: The customer journey is part of your online strategy. The last click shouldn’t be the only goal plus establishing trust between B2C will reward with a return visit.

Complementary Categories
Think about your customers holistically and know that one seemingly unrelated search often triggers interest in related brands. Consider partnering with relevant brands in different (but connected) verticals to reach similar audiences. Marketers worth their salt will see the connection between products and services and complementary categories. Key takeaway: Recommending products or services from other connected businesses doesn’t push customers away. Building relationships of value help establish your business in the related landscape and allow yet another outlet of networking to flourish.

Prepare for the Unexpected
Keep an eye on the customer journey and maximize your presence in those places where people may change course (and consider reaching related products and spaces). Key takeaway: Being dynamic and pliable is the key to any strategy that has a chance of a return on investment; often creativity and insight have its hidden pitfalls but rewards aggregate.

Don’t underestimate the power of reviews
We all know of the bogus product reviews that permeate the marketplace. To an extent, some will ignore positive and negative feedback and rely on deeper research. Yet, clickstream data reinforces that product reviews are taken into account and are embraced. Key takeaway: Product reviews and ratings help build consumer perception, consider building these into your ads and messaging.

Remember the world is mobile-first
Data has proven that the people interchange screens in a matter of seconds. The path to the purchase may start with a desktop or tablet but it often ends with the mobile phone. Recognize the role that mobile devices play in the research process. Orient your messaging and targeting plans around a cross-device consumer environment. Key takeaway: The days of having a website alone are gone, make sure your site caters to mobile users. And cater does not mean “it can be accessed via phone”!

1 Google/Luth Research, U.S., methodology: Google partnered with Luth to analyze the digital activity of its opt-in panel participants. The data was analyzed between April and August 2016.
2. Google Research: Consumer Journey, October 2016