Monday, March 4, 2013

The digital path to purchase

The path to purchase is dead, long live the path to purchase.

Today's shoppers now have a number of tools at their fingertips to help them chose which products to buy and consumer technology has been the facilitator of this.

Research from Google Analytics has found that over a two-day period customers now interact with a brand 4.3 times before making a purchase. Furthermore the average U.S. shopper now interfaces with a total of 10.4 traditional and online media sources prior to purchasing. That's a lot of browsing before buying (or looking before booking, if you're in an industry such as online travel).
Furthermore, according to further research by Google, online customers are now making the majority of their purchasing decision before engaging with a sales representative,

There's no doubt that the traditional way that shoppers purchase has now evolved and the marketing to these people has changed with it. However a lot of the ideas that the more technology-savvy shopper marketing agency might suggest to a client (e.g. QR codes and online store check-ins via FourSquare or Facebook Places) just don't make the impact required... and therefore turn out to be expensive experiments.

My view is that optimising shopper engagement across the path to purchase needs an integrated approach, one that pulls together: marketing, useful functionality, content and online retailing... then measured and learned from. Without this, brands and their agencies will continue to just experiment.

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