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Customers have become tech-savvy, they communicate using different channels. This results in marketers trying every type of channel popular among customers for advertising and marketing effort hoping that one of those will bring successful conversion.
There are more touchpoints to track which makes “Path to Purchase” a treasure hunt. It has become unrecognizable in this digital world with its web-like interaction. One search leads to an entirely new search history or customer desire. A customer’s decision-making is more complex and this makes optimizing Path to Purchase even more crucial for a brand.
Get ready to uncover the how, when, what, and where questions in a research problem
Path to purchase involves multiple channels and touchpoints, each of which plays a role in influencing a customer’s decision to purchase. These channels that customers are exposed to can vary from search engines to emails, social media, forums, review sites, brand websites, etc.
The journey customers go through in Path to Purchase is often not controlled by brands, i.e. brands have no direct influence in these touchpoints. The path to purchase is made up of numerous individual touchpoints or micro-moments that convert a prospect into a customer.
Path to purchase occurs outside of a brand’s control. It refers to the channels that customers are exposed to prior to making their purchase decision.
Customer Journey, on the other hand, refers to the experience a customer goes through during the process of purchasing a product or using a service of a particular brand. In a customer journey, the brand can measure the brand’s effort, track interaction, or conversion rate to improve the overall customer experience.
There are three main stages in Path to Purchase – Awareness, Consideration, and Decision stage. Some marketers also include Evaluation. Marketers need to utilize all these stages by educating customers and helping them make informed decisions.
This is at the beginning of the path where prospects realize what product/ service they want or need to buy. At this stage, they are searching about the product to have a better understanding of it. Customers are trying to find solutions that will resolve their issues.
Customers at this stage know what they want they have a goal to fulfill. In the consideration stage, customers evaluate all the sources available to them. At this stage, they are comparing products across the internet and considering the best option.
According to Google’s clickstream research, 70% of customers who purchase products online perform search during the observation period. Marketers can deliver information to help buyers make the best purchase decision and steer them gently to the company’s offerings.
This stage refers to the conversion of a potential customer into a buying customer. The customer has made his purchase decision – when and where to purchase their required product. Brands need to ensure that the sales journey is simple and seamless for the customer. It should be easy for the customer to book a service, order any product, or make payment through a secured gateway.
A happy customer does not only buy your product but also recommends and advocates for it to others. This stage is crucial to boost repeat purchases and improve customer loyalty. Evaluation or advocacy helps to shorten the journey into consideration for other prospects. Marketers should embrace ratings and reviews left by customers online to build their marketing strategies.
Conducting exploratory research seems tricky but an effective guide can help.
There are many channels and touchpoints at play in a customer’s path to purchase. Tracking it will help a brand understand the role the channels play and how it drives to sales or leads. You know that a customer does not convert the very moment or day it lands on your website.
The path to purchase is not linear; it involves a combination of numerous micro-moments. Understanding the harmony between these moments you can optimize your marketing effort to reap benefits.
Thanks to digital evolution customers expect brands to deliver what they want when they want. Customers seek different information, both positive and negative reviews, as they move through each stage in the process. Marketers can take the opportunity of these multiple micro-moments to inform and educate the customers and generate interest in the brand’s products.
Google search for the qualifier “near me” has increased over the last few years. In the last two years, it has grown 200% along with the qualifier “where to buy”.
To gain the best result you must optimize your brand to provide value to your customers whenever and wherever they need it. It is not only “near me” but the ability to bring your product to the local level can also put you in advantage among the customers. Highlighting your delivery options can show your customers how easy it will be to get your brand’s product whenever they want.
There is a volume of information available for customers online. You have to embrace the fact that customers are well-informed and work on being useful to them. Help customers during their research process by providing them in-depth information on products and services. Guide your customers with true data and establish your brand as a trusted resource.
A single search never stays in a straight line. It often causes a domino effect and distracts people from what they initially began their search with. Brands can use this to their advantage. One unrelated search can trigger a customer’s interest in your brand and the services/ products it has to offer.
Identify connections between your brand’s offerings and complementary categories that will lead customers to your brand in the right moment of their decision-making process. This will also help brands to reach a similar audience.
Ratings and reviews left by customers help the prospects make decisions about their purchases. Every customer looks through different review websites and a brand’s website before they decide to continue with the purchase or leave it.
Marketers should embrace ratings and reviews that reveal customers’ perceptions of your brand and products. Showcase these reviews on your website, ads, or messaging to garner trust from your audience.
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Brands need to align their marketing efforts with the path to purchase. Optimize campaigns and channels of interaction that can accommodate the information required by the potential customer throughout their decision-making process.