The times they are a-changin’… Actually, times have already changed. Traditional marketing techniques based on the typical shopping lifecycle are outdated because people are accessing products, reviews, locations and multiple brands from the palm of their hand, both in stores and online.
Before smartphones and tablets, brands created their advertising and marketing messages based on a sales funnel. This idea suggests shoppers follow a consistent path that leads to purchasing a product, from acquiring awareness to expressing interest, showing desire, taking action, and ending with establishing loyalty to the brand. But, buying patterns are not what they once were.
In today’s world where tons of information is online and easily accessible, buying habits are extremely inconsistent. A visitor could come to your site from a social network, organically through search, a link on another site, or directly from a friend’s recommendation. Interest in a brand or specific content from that brand doesn’t always translate to interest in buying. Someone’s purpose for visiting may not be to purchase anything, or he could come with a product in mind.
Either way, it is because of this that marketers need to provide an opportunity for purchase throughout every stage of the buying process and attempt to influence buying behaviors on every visit. Take advantage of all visitors, no matter when and where visiting from, and keep in mind, consumers don’t necessarily always buy right away because they know it’s easy to go back. Potential buyers won’t necessarily stay long and buy on their first visit unless they have a reason to do it right then.
Making buying accessible is only half of the process. Customers can purchase on a whim if it’s easy and all the information they need is there. If it isn’t, they could leave and not come back because they found something better while researching somewhere else.
With so much content within reach, consumers can get easily distracted or quickly find information that prevents them from buying a product, even if they are aware and expressing interest. Marketers need to make accurate information available at every selling opportunity so buyers don’t have to leave the page to look something up (reviews, information, pricing, etc.), and potentially never come back. To keep up with the mobile shopper and take advantage of the new path to purchase (or lack thereof):
- Use clear CTAs on each webpage, email, and ad to encourage customer clickthroughs
- Offer conversion points on every page of the website to track interest
- Run email campaigns surveying customers about meeting their needs
- Provide compelling content across top platforms to keep customers coming back
Don’t wait for shoppers to find you and always be aware of the online content about your business. Shoppers today decide to purchase based on the information available at the time they are ready to buy. Information is always available through the web, so make it a priority to know what your potential buyers have access to at any given time.