Supercharging the path to purchase

By Karleitia Bodlovic, director of ecommerce and Minsun Collier, head of data and technology acceleration, Blink Consulting, MediaCom | Sponsored

We continuously get asked by our clients to help them make the consumer’s path to purchase easier and more efficient. It can be complex, but it helps to refer back to marketing 101.

Seeking ways to optimise the consumer journey through connecting ecommerce strategy and social media campaigns, interpreting consumer behaviours, and data technology sources into a 360 unified ecosystem, doesn’t have to be complex to navigate.

If there is one, the silver lining of the global pandemic was the accelerated shift towards ecommerce, with more people than ever before opting to shop online.

In fact, Australian shoppers increased their online shopping frequency by 52% and the shift toward digital marketing among brands saw digital spends increase by 24.2% YoY.

We also saw a subsequent reinvention of physical retail to support this growth, with retailers setting up click & collect hubs, and utilising stores as new fulfilment points.

The pandemic, in effect, flipped the traditional path-to-purchase on its head, forcing retailers to rethink, act fast and optimise every opportunity.

What we are seeing in more contextual terms is that a customer’s value now determines the purchasing journey. Now that we have two years of learnings, we can start to develop a more agile and unified ecosystem that will make the customer’s path to purchase as short, seamless, and memorable as possible – ultimately to see scalable and promising results.

How do you recognise new consumer behaviours?

The pandemic has created new consumer behaviours.
Provide convenience through omnichannel strategy.
Win loyalty and attract new customers through personalised experience.

The first step is recognising the new consumer behaviours that have developed during the pandemic and adapting your strategy accordingly.

Consider that convenience is key for consumers now.

As such, brands must consistently communicate across all channels directly to consumers and deliver products or services whenever and wherever they are.

The challenge is that currently most retailers/brands aren’t omnichannel. They’re multi-channel at best, meaning comms that each customer experiences are fragmented or disconnected between channels. For example, in-store catalogue or visual merchanting messaging vs. online/social content.

In an omnichannel ecosystem, the message must be adapted to each channel, so that the experience is built for the user - wherever the consumer is experiencing the brand or retailer.

Brands that merge their traditional ecommerce strategy with new consumer behaviours will not only maintain relevancy with their loyalist users but will expand their reach to new consumers that expect products to find them.

How to realign to a consumer-centric business using the 3P’s.

The key is a consumer-centric strategy through the 3Ps structure – People, Process and Platforms.

Navigating a customer-centric strategy is not a new concept, and yet many businesses still don’t follow this. Now that consumer behaviour has shifted, it’s time for brands to invest in the 3Ps structure – People, Process and Platforms.

Sam Walton, founder of Walmart said it best; “There is only one boss. The customer. And he or she can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his (or her) money somewhere else.”

Brands and retailers that invest in a consumer-centric strategy have a far greater opportunity to uncover aligned processes needed to allow for smarter, better integrated campaigns, the most suitable platforms to share data and insights and finally, the right internal people who focus on all customers and their needs, rather than a narrow approach.

This realignment will ensure a tactical and unified response to consumer needs.

How to discover the unique value proposition of investing in multiple channels

Be where your consumers are, not where you want to be.
Take the multiple channel approach.
Strongly consider your presence in marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.

Convenience and accessibility are now the key drivers of ecommerce adoption with marketplaces and social commerce now outweighing that of traditional DTC channels.

In fact, 74% of consumers state since the start of COVID-19, they have used multiple online channels to start and complete a transaction.

Aside from the obvious goal of maintaining market share and revenue, marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, give brands the opportunity to sell products to the marketplace shopper who may not have been interested in searching for the brand’s owned channel.

These shoppers are unique. They are generally motivated by price, stock quantities, availability and free shipping. Consequently, the impact to traditional physical retail channels can be minimal.

Brands that see the strongest results are utilising the platform to sell products that are price comparable, available in special offers or bulk buys, offer free shipping and are supported by specific targeted on platform advertising.

The advice we give to our clients is to find where their consumers are and be there, not always where you want consumers to be purchasing from you. Be where they are looking for you.

The Rise and Rise of Social

Social has the power to collapse the purchase journey.
Embrace social and live commerce now.
Design the experience for your customers of now and tomorrow on social.

Social media networks have transformed multiple aspects of people's daily lives, including the way they spend money. We see how China is clearly leading the way when it comes to social and live commerce, with an estimated $423bn in value to be made by the end of 2022, and how our clients in China are embracing this.

Australia is catching up, with 30% of internet users purchasing from a social network this year alone. The consumer purchase journey from discovery to research and to decision to buy is collapsing and are done in one channel alone. To maximise this opportunity, we believe Australian marketers should invest in creating more engaging on-platform experiences to converse directly with the consumer. Each social channel should be optimised with individual content and audience strategies to support relevant partnerships and UGC programs to drive the necessary engagement and, most importantly, data collection to supercharge the path to purchase.

Data driven discovery & research – what does this look like?

Consumer purchase intent isn’t only reflected on search engines anymore.
Focus on reaching your customers in various forms, both online and offline.
Your first party data is key and prioritise building, growing and harvesting them.

Consumers are now digging deeper in their research; using more elaborate and broader search terms that express their needs and desires to find potential new purchases. These signals give us valuable data, to understand what they are looking for and how their behaviours have evolved.

Marketers can respond to that search intent with relevant ad copies on the search engine results page, but what if they aren’t only searching on Google or Microsoft? Their search behaviour has evolved, and they expect brands to be available to them anywhere and everywhere, whether it’s on social media platforms, content publishing websites and audio-visual platforms, online or offline. This means that marketers need to balance their efforts on both digital and traditional forms of advertising.

Our recommendation to clients is to make it convenient for their customers to research and buy online or offline, whichever way the consumers would like to. Why? According to research published by Google, it’s because having a physical and digital presence combined drives +32% sales revenue, and 67% of consumers feel positive towards brands that connect with them both online and offline. Traditional advertising contributes greatly to online sales and vice versa. Therefore, it is best to plan a broad mix of channels that will make brands visible throughout the purchase funnel.

It’s easier said than done and for brands to know how, where and what to focus on, or how to interrogate your own data. Analyse what your current customers and potential customers are signalling. If you haven’t already started, marketers must invest into building, growing and harvesting scalable first party data (1PD). Data will help you see the bigger picture and it will unlock much of your potential to understand, identify, serve and market to your high value customers in a way that truly will supercharge their path to purchase experiences.

Always thinking consumer first and putting efforts into providing them with convenient content coupled with a seamless ways to buy, will be worth it.

If anything, these are the five key takeaways MediaCom and its advisory division Blink Consulting, would like you to keep in mind:

  1. The pandemic has brought new consumer purchase behaviours and accelerated ecommerce.
  2. Brands need to adapt towards providing omnichannel experience with a consumer-centric strategy.
  3. Invest in multiple channels, especially in Marketplaces and also embrace social and live commerce.
  4. Broaden your marketing mix that spans across traditional broadcast as well as data driven media targeting tactics.
  5. Data is the seed that will help you see the bigger picture and guide your business to grow with your high value customers. Build your first party data.

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