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Modern Consumer Journey:
Everything You Need to Know

The traditional consumer journey has evolved dramatically over the years with eCommerce fundamentally changing the way consumers purchase products.

While we have often heard the phrase that consumer is king it's truer now more than ever.With brands competing to win larger customer shares consumers can make a choice from thousands of brands for similar products.

Around20 to 30 years back the consumer journey would start by either identifying a need or seeing anadon billboards newspapers radio and or TV. Consumers would learn about the products and go to purchase it in store. However it isno longer a single journey but rather anamalgamationof many small journeys that lead to a purchase.

What is the consumer journey?

The consumer journey is a detailed representation of the consumer buying process which are the steps customers take on their way to making a purchase. It sets out all every interaction they have with your brand - from awareness to research and even advocacy.

In the world of eCommerce the consumer journey includes all the digital touchpoints that your brand has with a customer. These could take place across websites social media online marketplaces search engines apps or other channels as shoppers use their desktop mobile or other smart device.

Creating a customer journey map allows businesses to understand the experiences and needs of their target audience. These insights also empower marketers to target consumers with tailored content and remove any barriers to conversion.

Evolving digital touchpoints

The Moment of Truth (MoT) was a concept introduced by Jan Carlzon in 1981 and later modified by P&G.

The first moment of truth is when the customer is looking at the product whether in-store or online and the secondMoTis when the customer buys the product and uses it.

The third Moment of Truth is similar to advocacy when consumer share whether they liked the product or not.

Google coined the term Zero Moment of Truth of (ZMOT) with the internet being widely accessible consumers increasingly begin to research products before purchasing them. It is based on the findings from a study that showed that 50% of shoppers researched the product on search engines 38% compared the prices and review and 31% read the online recommendations.

The brand is responsible to give the consumers the right information at the right time using the different channels that consumer interact with. If content is the king, context is the queen.

This is also of key importance for strategic planning and attributing budgets based on the best performing channels.

Consumers may discover the brands through various channels whether it be a search display network social media or in-store.The search for products conducted via voice search smartphones and or via desktops.

Consumers will closely check the reviews and ratings before buying products online and the purchase itself can be through different channels including in-store from marketplaces or from the online shop. Modern day consumers evenwantvarious options when it comes to delivery of the product.This is why omni-channel marketing for brands is so important.

How has the consumer journey changed?

Today citizens across the UK and parts of Europe have access to an average of nine connected devices. In the US the average household has a total of 22 connected devices. With a world of content at our fingertips the customer journey has evolved and expanded significantly bringing new channels pathways and advertising opportunities into the mix.

New channels

The consumer journey begins with the awareness stage so you need to make it easy for people to find your brand's products.

Traditionally consumers first became aware of a product from advertisements or PR presented through television radio newspapers and magazines. Then they could buy it in-store after consulting with friends family or store clerks.

With the rise of the internet the way consumers hear about research and buy products has changed completely. There are many more channels to discover and research products including search engines social media and review sites to name just a few. There are more ways to purchase products online too.

Digital path to purchase

The modern consumer journey is less linear than the traditional consumer journey of the pre-digital age. Customers are now much more likely to discover new brands during the research or consideration stage of their journey.

For example someone who considers buying an Apple iPhone may discover a whole host of alternatives while researching products and reviews on Google, Amazon or a tech blog.

In the past consumers would usually narrow down their options at this stage of the journey but now there are many more digital paths to purchase that influence conversion.

Another unique feature of the digital consumer journey is that communications now go both ways. With just a couple of clicks consumers can find the answer to any question about your industry brand or products. They can also read or share reviews ratings and FAQs on websites social media or marketplace listings.

Modern consumers and cross channel marketing

So you may be wondering how your brand can adapt to the modern consumer? Here are some pointers that brand marketers should adhere to in 2021.

Deliver the right message at the right time

New pathways and online channels in the modern consumer journey make tracking and analytics more complex. But the detailed data available today also means marketers can reach prospects with carefully tailored messages at critical moments in the digital customer journey.

For example when someone who is ready to make a purchase searches 'football boots' on Amazon Adidas can present them with a sponsored ad.

On Google when someone searches 'Buy protein powder' they'll see a series of relevant ads along with lots of organic search results. If someone reads Braun's blog post on 'How to cut your hair' they can then be retargeted with ads for the brand's hair clippers.

Be smart about your online presence

Ensure that you have your brand's presence on multiple channels such as website marketplaces and social media and outline the different objectives these channels are going to solve for. Your brand strategy should be focused on exploring and improving the retail footprint.

Consider whether it is vital for you to have presence at a retailer level or not. For example Bose decided to close all of its stores in Japan, US, Europe, and Australia. They will now sell online and via retailers only in an effort to adapt to the change in consumer needs is not always necessary to have a physical presence especially if a brand has very strong brand awareness in the market already.

Never stop measuring the consumer journey

Being familiar with the consumer journey allows marketers to identify which touchpoints are most important and where there are problems that may prevent conversion. It helps you to make informed decisions which boost performance while also improving marketing ROI.

On top of this monitoring the customer journey has been shown to improve overall business performance. After all you can't optimize what you don't know!

How ChannelSight helps you understand the consumer journey

As the digital consumer journey evolves it can be difficult to keep track of every online interaction. Website analytics and UTM tracking certainly helps but ChannelSight's Where to Buy solutions provides an unprecedented level of product and basket level data. With this data you can learn from every sale and streamline every path to purchase. Book a demo with our team of experts to learn more.

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