Understanding the new consumer path to purchase
Digital transformation has changed a lot about the way consumers purchase and the way retailers sell. As a result, we at Infobip have uncovered new consumer expectations, how they influence the path to purchase, and the role of technology in communicating with customers.
4 Factors influencing the consumer path to purchase
Our research has identified factors influencing the consumer path to purchase:
Being able to communicate with the customer throughout the entire journey at any time over mobile necessitates the need for a mobile strategy. In this respect, the industry has moved at least a solid five to ten years ahead of where it was prior to COVID.
Companies now are enabling the customer journey, from the awareness stage to the consideration phase–even through to the buying stage, within the confines of a social media app.
Social selling is driving the concept of more real-time communications such as SMS, in addition to voice and email. Users are expecting to have rich two-way experiences across chat applications and social media channels.
Consistency across channels
There’s nothing worse than when a person starts a communication with a retailer on one device and then gets into their car or goes to the store, and they want to pick the conversation up but they don’t want to repeat themselves. They may be returning a product or aren’t happy with the purchasing experience. If you can’t show the consumer you understand by bringing context and sentiment across all of their channels and devices, you’re setting yourself up to fail. This is the area in which I think companies can make the most improvements.
The need for better segmentation
When you have many options from a channel perspective, customers will have channel preferences. They may want to, for example, only engage in a support conversation over messaging, while others may want to do that over the phone or face-to-face, in-store.
This type of segmentation is something that can still be improved in the industry. But there’s never been a better time to dig into these finer details because we have a lot of customer data available now.
Many companies during the pandemic had to come up with real solutions very fast, and this sometimes generated new silos of data. It’s time to rethink the steps you’ve taken during the pandemic and really try to focus more on not only which channels you use, but what kind of content you serve, based on customer expectations, over those channels.
Leveraging chatbots for increased conversion
If you do have a chatbot, please continue to tune it. Do so frequently at least once a year. Take a look at the technology you’re using because there’s so much that’s being done with location services and language processing now.
We were recently just speaking with a company that opens up new locations from time to time and really wants to seed those markets with awareness. We discussed ways they can create a radius around each new location so that as shoppers are nearby, and they have their mobile app, they can be gently “pushed” toward the store with in-app messaging such as, you’re near a brand new location opening, use this $5 coupon on your first visit.
Infobip has data on how successful in-app push messages can be for conversion rates. (See this customer story from Infobip about how one retailer used push notifications to increase in-store conversion rates by 35%.)
Optimizing customer journeys
If you’re looking to ensure you’re optimizing your customer journeys, make sure your mobile and social strategies are up to date, since that’s how your customers are communicating with you–in real time, and ensure consistency across all of your channels. For example, no one enjoys waiting on a 1-800 line for service. Why not give customers the opportunity to start a conversation on a messaging application to get immediate service instead?
If you pay attention to the four factors mentioned above, you’ll be in a good position to invest in and optimize your customer journeys.
Also, take stock of what some brands are doing now from a channel perspective, such as WhatsApp chatbots, Apple Messages for Business, and Google Business Messages. These channels afford much richer content and the experiences you can create between a brand and the end user is really phenomenal.