Blis launched a new research report today titled, “Locating Decisions: A Marketer’s Guide to Re-Navigating the Consumer Path to Purchase.” The objective of the research was to see how the retail industry has evolved over the years through the lens of the customer journey. We looked into how consumers are discovering and, ultimately, purchasing products, to provide recommendations to marketers as to how to best reach those customers along their path. Our research found that the path to purchase has significantly shifted from the traditional linear path. More like a web, the new path’s complexity and lack of causal progression presents new challenges for brands.
Our research found that 31% of consumers still discover new products in stores while only 18% tune into TV for new products. This is a huge departure from 2013 when 58% of people attributed TV ads as their biggest source of finding new products, closely followed by peers. However, product research doesn’t end once consumers walk in the doors; we found that many shoppers (36%) will simultaneously browse online and in store pricing to figure out where they can get the best deal. This is a huge opportunity for brands who must take advantage of this additional touchpoint or risk sales being stolen by competitors.
All that to say, the customer journey hasn’t shunned digital research. After discovering a new product in a physical store, 64% of people will go online and check out the product further. While 23% make their final decision online, 15% will continue their research in store and 14% will conduct additional research on their mobile device typically while commuting. Since time is equally as important as place when targeting your audience, it’s helpful to know that just about half of all respondents do their online research after 6pm and about one-fifth will do some digging during, as well as after lunch.
Aside from all the change in this industry one element has consistently stayed the same: consumers will circle back to a more expensive product three times before making a final decision. This should be viewed as a great marketing opportunity for retailers since consumers may know what they want but may not have settled on a brand or price.
Along with time and place, preference is another strong component needed to navigate a target audience and better understanding their motive to purchase can be very helpful. We found that everyone loves a great sale or an incentive to buy and people are more inclined to walk into a store and explore if it’s tied to a discount. Earning loyalty program points, in-store rewards or receiving a bonus gift or ‘buy one get one’ type offers are all valued and will raise the likelihood of someone making a purchase.
Brands and retailers must understand this new consumer path to purchase, and rethink their approach to marketing by adhering to four critical factors:
- Do your research
- Prioritize right time and right place (still essential components)
- Think “long term”
- Always value ROI
Brands needs to act accordingly to drive people into stores, make conversions and ultimately generate more revenue, or risk falling flat in getting bodies in the door and converted into sales. One way this can best be done by using highly targeted and personalized ads. With location data, brands can not only understand where audiences are, but also where they have been, what content they are consuming and their foot traffic patterns. This also enables predictive modeling to better understand consumer journeys, unlocking behavioral insights around purchase intent, shopping patterns and mobile consumption while shopping. These insights can help to inform more effective campaign planning and deliver competitive advantage–converting those last minute sales. To read the full report, click here.