The more prevalent mobile use has become, the less that people’s paths to purchases are defined clearly. Whether on a cell phone, computer and tablet, shoppers always seem to have access to the web, which has boosted their access to both information regarding products they want to purchase and the ability of remotely buying it.
What does the new route-to-purchase mean for marketers and the opportunities that it presents? There’s a clear demand to ensure that consumers will have access to information, interact and shop anywhere, anytime, create customer satisfaction drive sales and nurture loyalty across all channels. Today, more than anything customers want consistency. In a survey, 59 percent said that digital and in-store consistency was the most critical part of their retail experience. Consistency across devices came second with 54 percent and 36 percent of respondents claimed that consistency between mobile and desktop was a priority.
These days, consumers at least investigate, and in most instances choose and pay for merchandise outside the store, even if they intend to pick up the purchases in the store. Some consumers opt to skip the store altogether. The new digital/mobile paths to purchase have shaken retail to its foundations. With this in mind, retailers have to understand the way consumers use their mobile devices in the path-to-purchase cycle to address and implement vital changes to the mobile strategy.
With most retailers expressing the need to ‘be there’, in the mobile environment, majority of retailers also agree that ‘search for and choose merchandise’ is the most critical mobile capability that they should implement. Some shoppers would continue to complete their purchases in the stores, but many start their paths-to-purchase in the digital domain, far beyond the four walls of a traditional shop. With this fact, retailers now are focused on utilizing mobile as a way of boosting the shopping experience inside and outside the store, is providing a rich content regarding products, reviews, comments and even price and product comparisons.
The mobile environment appears to be more about consumers who arm themselves with valuable content that helps them to make the best choices that suit their needs than it is about transacting. These days, consumers serve themselves with information that they have available in their purses and pockets. Technology-driven, the retail industry is undergoing a paradigm shift. The traditional, linear path-to-purchase is replaced by the checkered path of the modern customer whose purchase journey is across several channels from desktops, laptops to tablets, smart phones, wearable devices and connected televisions.
The biggest challenge that advertisers face is to comprehend the journey of a customer across the devices and deliver personalized content that is optimized relevant and seamless across all mediums. In the same way, the rise of mobile device use has created numerous opportunities for customer interactions with a brand. Thus, marketers have to keep pace with their audiences, build a unified multi-channel strategies and to have an understanding of how to leverage the smart phone to engage customers across highly contextual times all through the day.
Mobiles play a vital role in the journey to purchase. While smart phone users prefer to use mobiles over personal computers for information and inspiration regarding retail products, over a third of them plan of using their devices for retail purchases. The use of mobile applications stays high. In terms of products research smart phone users most often download price comparison applications. Also popular are barcode scanner, grocery coupon apps and shopping list applications. The modern customer journey is complicated. Thus, it is relevant to concentrate on the key moments that could help inspire people to purchase a product or service. Clearly, the path-to-purchase is more and more guided by marketers and retailers who subscribe to the notion that consumers must be interacted with in mobile-friendly digital advertisements. Consumers no longer expect to go to a brick-and-mortar shop to look for the best deals, now they expect the deals to come to them and they make us of their mobile devices increasingly as tools to get them the deals. Equally important in understanding how consumers use mobiles to shop is to understand how they use it for daily purchases. Meaning the consumer packaged goods that are necessity and not luxuries such as many of the other mobile shopping categories. Each and every retailer these days is trying various techniques and tools to be able to optimize the journey of a customer down the path-of-purchase in a way that adds value to the customer as well as provides advantages to retailers as well in the process.
The traditional path-to-purchase is greatly affected with the emergence of mobile devices. With people all over the world using their smart phones and devices, it has become integral for marketers to keep pace with the trend.