How the Customer’s Path to Purchase Has Become More of a Winding Road
For years now, the customer journey has been discussed via the model of a funnel, through which customers would travel through various stages (awareness, consideration, evaluation, and purchase, generally). Using a funnel model meant that marketers accepted that customers traveled in a linear direction, never jumping from stage to stage or reentering the funnel at different stages.
However, the customer funnel has changed greatly just within the past few years, and with it, the path to purchase has become more convoluted. Instead of simply seeing an ad and making a purchase, customers may research a product on their smartphones and then make a purchase on their work computer two weeks later. They may begin purchasing in one browser on their tablet, but then realize they left their wallet upstairs and finish the purchase on their laptops in a different browser.
With all the different ways to research and make a purchase these days, it’s no wonder that only 2% of customers make a purchase on their first visit to a website. Subsequently, it’s become more difficult for companies to get insight into what makes a customer purchase a product and what causes them to fall of the path to purchase.
Your revenue depends on keeping customers focused and engaged during the purchasing journey, preventing them from getting distracted or turned off from making a purchase. Luckily, there are three strategies we’ve found to be successful in keeping customers on the path to purchase: creating cross-device consistency, capturing (and keeping) users’ attention, and calibrating content so that it’s personalized for the customer.
1. Create cross-device consistency
It’s more common than not for people to have several Internet-enabled devices in their households, from smart phones to tablets to laptops to desktops. Because of that variety, 67% of consumers move between devices when they’re shopping online, and nearly all of the time, consumers switch between those devices in a single day.
However, if your ecommerce site is impossible to navigate on mobile and your customers aren’t around a desktop to complete the purchase, you’re going to lose that sale. Two out of three smartphone users say a mobile-friendly site will up the chances that they buy a company’s product or service; plus, 74% of smartphone users say a mobile-friendly site makes them more likely to return. By ensuring that your website is adapted and responsive to various devices, you can keep your customers in the moment and tailor your purchasing experience to their needs.
2. Capture their attention quickly – and hold on to it
The goldfish’s short attention span (nine seconds) is well-known; less well known is the fact that today’s typical consumer only has an attention span of eight seconds. In digital marketing, first impressions are everything, and often, your page’s response times are the key to making a captivating first impression.
Of course, the quicker the response time, the better. A response time of 0.1s gives customers instant gratification, and a 1s response still keeps the user’s flow of thought intact while giving them a feeling of being in control of the experience. However, over one second, users feel like the device is controlling them and they become distracted.
The proof is in the pudding: when Firefox’s site loaded one second slower, their conversions dropped by 2.7%; on the other hand, Amazon found that a 100 millisecond increase in speed equaled a 1% revenue increase. Develop your content so that it loads quickly across devices in order to keep your would-be purchasers on track.
3. Calibrate for user personalization
Sometimes a customer makes a purchase because they just got a bonus, the kids are in bed and they have a free hour to browse their favorite ecommerce sites, and they’ve had their eye on one of your products for a month. This is called aperture, and it illustrates how various factors interact to create an ideal purchasing situation for customers.
To better understand how to create this purchasing environment, use real-time marketing so that you methodically respond to your customers in that moment. 61% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that delivers customized, real-time content rather than generic stock content. Similarly, real-time marketing increases conversion rates by an average of 26%. By using real-time data and marketing strategies, you can make shopping a personal experience for your customer
The customer funnel has changed, but you can adapt your digital marketing strategies to improve your path to purchase. Through cross-device consistency, fast-loading content, and real-time marketing, you can make it easier than ever for your customers to complete a purchase on your e-commerce site.
Want to learn more about how a single view of the customer can help you better understand the customer journey? Download the Single View of the Customer ebook.
Matthew Zajachowski is Outreach Manager at Digital Third Coast that provides full funnel marketing solutions.