Rethinking the shopper’s journey (Part 1 / 3)

The old purchase funnel as we recall it is now irrelevant. Consumers use multiple devices, with connected immersive experiences across many different touch-points. They jump from one device to another, and today most experiences (or apps) stay beautifully connected.

Every engagement is now a conversation, be it with friends or businesses, people you know or people you don’t know, watching videos or reading articles, liking an experience or expressing frustration about a bad one.

We start, stop, rejoin, and change engagement levels in the conversation throughout, and it influences our decisions. Consumers now create their own paths to purchase using a variety of online and offline channels. Now this inherently makes it tough for marketers to reach the right user at the right place, right time — because there is no *one* right place or right time now.

In this series of three articles, I chalk out a framework to think about shopper’s journey. I identify the steps that consumers take to find information before they make a purchase, and how they interact with the various media touch points along the way. Hopefully, I will end the series discussing few opportunity areas.

Summary of multiple touch-points and the diversity of it across purchase journeys of 800+ customers across multiple verticals (apparel, auto, electronics, restaurants, etc.)

Now with all these purchase paths, few themes of pain points were highlighted in these surveys and focus groups

  1. Access to structured, relevant information
  2. Informational disconnect during online-to-offline transition, or for good shipped online
  3. Logistical hassles of shopping (online and offline)

Let me unpack these

Access to structured, relevant information

  1. Not knowing where to start looking
  2. Model/feature information overload
  3. Keeping track of peer recommendations
  4. No easy way to get peers’ opinions remotely
  5. Finding reviews by people whose opinions matter most
  6. Finding and keeping track of coupons/deals/gift cards 
  7. Hassle to find and establish relationship with the right seller
  8. Comparing features and specs across different brands

Information disconnect (online — offline, online — shipped)

  1. Discrepancy between product description online and in store
  2. What is bought is not what is shipped (esp. in apparel)
  3. Expired/misleading products and deals online
  4. Having to call store to check inventory

Hassles of shopping

  1. Long queues at check-out
  2. Product unavailable when shopper visits store 
  3. No personalization even for frequent shoppers, every engagement starts from scratch.
  4. Forgetting/losing loyalty card, even online. Sometimes does not work for online.
  5. Forgetting/losing/expiring coupons

In the next blog post on this series, I will talk about how to think of these pain points on the dimensions of feasibility and market attractiveness (and hopefully pick up couple of deep dive on).

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