“The point of purchase is no longer in-store.”
We’ve all heard this many times over and while many believe this statement is a reference to the e-commerce movement, in reality it is a reference to the changing path to purchase as a result of the new information access digital has created.
People spend a great deal of time researching a product online before they step into a store. In fact, consumers are spending 15+ hours per week researching products and services on mobile, according to a Google/Nielsen Mobile Path to Purchase study. They may then go into the store and speak with a sales associate about the product, only then to go back home and consult their social following about their potential purchase or read products reviews and blogs, before at last returning to the store to make the purchase.
Not only are there many more channels from which a consumer can make a purchase, there are also many more channels from which they can gather brand and product information, reviews, and testimonials from in order to provide them with the purchase confidence they seek. 74% of consumers are using mobile search to guide their purchase journey, 33% are visiting branded mobile websites and 26% are leveraging branded apps. Of these mobile users, 93% go on to complete their purchase of the product or service, with the majority (82%), purchasing in-store.
With such information access and a wealth of channels at consumers’ fingertips, it is now wonder that digital now plays a major role in driving purchase consideration and conversion for both in-store and online. Digital has transformed the path to purchase by taking the power away from the retailer and allowing the consumer to be the controller of their journey. While brands were often one-step removed from the consumer, with the retailer being the main vehicle of brand engagement, digital is allowing brands to develop more direct and meaningful relationships. That is why an effective digital strategy is no longer about simply delivering digital coupons anymore—it’s about fully leveraging digital as a brand advertising platform, integrated with shopper marketing initiatives and creating early-on awareness so that your brand falls into a shopper’s consideration in the initial research phases of purchase intent.
As shopper marketing shifts its focus from driving short-term sales to motivating long-term behaviors, digital will continue to evolve as a critical tool for accelerating this evolution of shopper. In order to fully leverage the power of digital across the consumer journey, brands need to ensure consumers find insightful, geo-targeted information, personalized advertising and helpful tools at the right times and through the right channels along their digital quest for information.
Below are some tips to ensure your brand is leveraging the most popular product research channel—mobile:
1. Make it easy for consumers to purchase quickly by enabling click-to-call and showcasing results of local product availability.
2. Tailor your search ads with mobile-preferred creatives and specific mobile calls to action.
3. Help consumers find you by enabling location extensions, which let users know how close they are to your business and provide directions.
4. Ensure that you have a mobile-optimized site for the majority of your customers and extend apps to loyal, repeat customers.
5. Create seamless experiences across touchpoints and measure cross-media conversions in a manner that doesn’t just report on the activity, but the “why” behind the channel movement.