In this era of information, a customer never takes a liner-purchasing journey. According to the customer’s search intents, they take unpredictable turns and reshape the customer journey between the awareness-search and purchasing decision.
If you do not learn how this “new” customer behaviour works, you will fall behind and lose.
Today, each and every customer journey takes different turns and develop their own and unique paths from product awareness to the purchasing decision. It can widen or narrow down with online searches. And, sometimes the customer journeys extend beyond the purchasing point.
Understand this reshaping of the customer journeys can help you to identify the key entry points for your marketing funnel. And, it can also help you to keep your customers from falling off your funnel too.
Augmented Marketing Funnel for Reshaped Customer Journeys
The traditional marketing funnel is built on three primary components.
- Consideration, and
Sometimes, it can even extend with the loyalty and advocacy.
This shape defines a linear journey for a marketing campaign. But, now the customers are equipped with the information right at their fingertips. When they search for a product, they will land on different brands or categories at the same time.
Multi-mouthed Marketing Funnel?
So, when it comes to the “awareness stage”, you have to understand that your potential customers are already open to multiple funnels – from different businesses – at the same time.
When a customer starts their journey, if you do not have the right content to attract them, they will choose another path with another business. So, your funnel should have multiple mouths to attract customers from different search intents.
Remember, the “voice search” is now a thing. 20% of the total searches on google app is now by voice. And, 70% of the requests on google assistant are expressed in a natural voice.
When you search for something with the voice search, you will not use common keywords, which you would type in a web search. This means you have to refine your SEO strategies and content marketing targets accordingly.
I will give you an example.
Let us assume that you sell hypoallergenic skin care products. Now a potential customer Jane needs to buy a hypoallergenic lotion.
She can start her purchasing journey in many different ways.
She can start by type-in “hypoallergenic lotion” on google. You must have already optimised your content for this particular keyword. Cool, she found your brand among three other potential brands.
For Jane, research can be paramount. Sometimes she can start her purchasing journey by reading about the allergenic in lotions. She might search for “what causes skin allergies”. Or, she will search for “can alumina cause skin allergies”.
Jane doesn’t need to be an academic or highly intelligent person to do all these research. With all the information at their fingertips, anyone can use the smartphone and become a researcher before they buy.
So, your awareness campaign should be capable of addressing different search intents for a single product.
Last Brand Standing
If we go back the three main components of a traditional marketing funnel, the second component, “Consideration”, is the decision-making stage. This is the most unpredictable segment of the new marketing funnel. When people need information to make decisions; they turn to their smartphones, they check the reviews, they watch videos, they check for the competitive alternatives etc.
Let us go back to Jane. She found your brand and three other brands as potential purchases. Great!
Now she is at the decision-making stage.
She will most probably start with brand A, B, C and D reviews. When it comes to an ecommerce store, unlike a brick and motor store, almost all your previous customers are staying right there, all the time, expressing how much they like or dislike your products. And, this is the beauty of ecommerce product reviews. It can make you or kill you.
Now, these reviews can again expose Jane to some another research interests. So, digging into the product reviews on your site and competitor’s sites can open up you into another dimension of data. Product reviews are usually the first-hand customer feedbacks.
Product reviews are gold mines for ecommerce marketers
By checking the product reviews, you can pre-identify where Jane would probably head off. So, you can refine your marketing strategy to address this new direction too. In this way, Jane will not fall off your marketing funnel.
During this stage, people look into the sales promotions too. Usually, 1/4 of the people visiting an ecommerce site are looking for coupon codes, deals and discounts. Even after making up their mind to purchase a certain product from a particular store, if they can find a better offer from another vendor, they would probably abandon your site.
Now this is bad. You did everything right. But, at the last moment, your customer fell-off your funnel, just because you do not have an offer for them.
But, giving away offers and discounts to everyone can eat up your profits as well. So, it will not be a good idea to create public discounts or offers. But, if you can use contextual exit popups or re-targeting strategies, there is a chance for you to win back at least some of these customers.
The ecommerce horror story “Abandoned Carts.”
If we go back to our traditional marketing funnel, the third stage is where you make the sale. This is the stage where you get dollars from Jane.
Now, Jane came a long way down here to buy something from you. Now, what would happen if you make her life complex at this point? She will get frustrated and abandon your cart.
People can abandon ecommerce shopping carts due to several reasons. One most common cause is a highly complex buying process. People do not want to add layers of complexity to their lives.
Now when we talk about simplifying the process of the cart, we have to consider about two types of people
- One time buyers
- Returning buyers
If your products are more suitable for a one time purchase, your customers would love to see “buy now” or “buy as a guest” button. If I buy gold glittered men’s shoes, most probably I would not have any sort of intention to buy that again. It can be just a onetime wired reason. So, I don’t want the store to remember the size of my feet, or to create a buyer account.
In such situation, if the store forces me to create an account with them, by entering everything about me, my girl, my pet and my last dinner, I will abandon this cart for sure.
But, if I buy a t-shirt with the intention of buying something similar in another time, I would like the ecommerce store to remember my collar size and preferences, to provide customised experience in the next time. There I will not mind spending a little more time creating an account with this site.
This all depends on the speed and convenience of my purchase experience.
The Journey, Which Never Ends
Now let us go back to Jane. Great news! She decided to buy from you. Your cart was perfect; she just bought the lotion from you. Is that the end of the story? You got the dollars, she got the product, and the deal is over.
No, it is not!
Let the “sale” ends your deal, only if you do not want to multiply your profits.
In this era of information, a typical customer journey extends well beyond the point of sale. This gives you an excellent opportunity to cross-sell.
Now Jane bought a hypoallergenic lotion from you. Would she be interested in some other hypoallergenic products? This opens up you to a cross-selling opportunity. It is same as your fast food cashier asking to add fries with a burger.
Do you know?
35% of the Amazon sales attributes to the cross-selling through their “frequently bought together” option with the product listings.
Cross-selling is suggesting and selling complementary or secondary products “related” to the original purchase.
Since Jane bought something from you, we can assume that she likes her overall customer experience with your store. If she is satisfied with her customer journey so far, she can easily get motivated to try complementary products from you.
If you do not try this cross-selling opportunity, you are not getting the full use of the customer journey and leaving money on the table.
Final Thoughts about Getting the Best Out of the Modern Customer Journeys
Personalised content can help you to acquire the attention of more people. People love to start their journeys with the businesses that understand their requirements.
Use engagement strategies to understand what customer is actually looking for. You can use chat-bots to automate contextual communication and guide your customers to the product they are looking for. Once the customer is on a guided journey, the chances of they felling off your marketing funnel are very low.
Defining buyer personas can help you to market your content to a target audience. Understand the difference between people who spend more and people who spend less. Refine your marketing strategy to acquire either the profitable customers or the customers with less competition.
Invest in technology, to gain the speed of your processes. For every second delay can lose 20% of your potential conversions. Automate all possible processes and invest in speed improvements.
Use videos to create product awareness. 90% of the shoppers discover new products on YouTube. Videos can create more engagement and a clear demonstration of the products you sell.
Use simple and attractive product descriptions to create engagement. Avoid these five big mistakes in product description writing.
Today with the convenience of the online search, customers would never follow a linear path from product awareness to the purchasing point. Before someone decides to buy a new product, they usually do extensive online research.
To capture the attention of these researchers, you need to develop your content marketing strategy to match the latest search intents. This widened customer journeys can provide you with an opportunity to tap into them and attract potential buyers. By using proper visitor engagement strategies, you can guide your customers for a conversion.
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