“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Over the last several years, the customer journey has changed drastically — largely due to the rise of the digital shelf.
Gone are the days when the path to purchase involved a single trip to a brick-and-mortar location. Now, customers interact with your brand across a variety of touch points — creating a nonlinear, omnichannel customer journey that may include everything from conducting a Google search to viewing your brand’s social media posts to researching reviews.
Today’s path to purchase is more digitally influenced than ever before. In fact, according to Salsify’s “Consumer Research 2022” report, about a third of consumers across the U.S., Great Britain, France, and Germany use their mobile phones to look up products while shopping in a physical store.
Given these conditions, it’s never been more important for you to provide relevant, accurate, consistent, and personalised content across every touch point where a customer may interact with your brand. Doing so will empower you to capture your audience in an increasingly competitive (and crowded) marketplace.
Clear Out the Path to Purchase
Today’s consumers are faced with more shopping options and channels than ever before, which may lead to an overwhelmingly complex or confusing path to purchase. Help your audience conquer their potential analysis paralysis by providing all the information they need — when and where they’re looking for it.
1. Assess Customer Behaviours and Preferences
When used appropriately, customer data can be your best friend. By assessing how, where, and when shoppers interact with your product content, you can adapt your digital shelf strategy accordingly — ultimately empowering you to maximise these potential sales opportunities.
For instance, ask yourself: Are customers more likely to purchase when a product detail page (PDP) features enhanced content, such as 360-degree image spins, editorial image galleries, videos, or comparison charts? Then create an action plan to develop this type of content for each of your new and existing PDPs — prioritising those for your top products.
Are customers more likely to buy when a product is available for same-day pickup at a retail outlet? Then develop partnerships with retailers that empower you to provide this and other preferred pickup, delivery, and payment options.
2. Boost Customer Engagement Across Touch Points
“Zombie customers,” or those who have been inactive for a long period of time, can pose a major threat to your bottom line. Evaluate where customers tend to abandon a potential purchase — and consider how you can re-engage them at these touch points.
This approach could include taking the following steps:
- Send a follow-up text or email regarding an abandoned cart;
- Share a link to reliable third-party information about your brand or product to help ease any potential concerns; and
- Distribute regular engagement surveys to identify areas in which you could improve the shopping experience.
3. Leverage Personalisation
As more and more consumers seek personalised shopping experiences, personalisation has gone from a nice-to-have offering to a critical tactic for ecommerce success.
Salsify’s consumer research report found that a large portion of shoppers in Great Britain (73%), the U.S. (70%), France (51%), and Germany (48%) are more likely to buy if there are personally relevant images, videos, text, and reviews on a product page.
Once you collect the necessary data on your target audience, consider creating personalised ads, emails, product recommendations, customer service offerings, or mobile experiences.
4. Optimise Product Content Across Channels and Devices
Today’s customers expect a consistent brand experience across every touch point they interact with on their path to purchase. As a brand, this means it’s critical to optimise your product content everywhere — from your own direct-to-consumer (DTC) website to different retailer channels.
But each individual retailer has its own unique requirements, making it difficult to submit product content in a streamlined and consistent way. To win on the digital shelf, your brand must maintain multiple versions of product content and syndicate this information effectively.
By leveraging a central hub that serves as a single source of truth for your product content, you can ensure that you deliver accurate data to each touch point — in an optimised format for that specific channel.
5. Monitor External Touch Points
From review websites to social media channels to online communities, your customers learn about your brand and products across a variety of external touch points.
While it may be disheartening to think about your customers talking about your brand on these outside channels that aren’t under your control, there are a variety of ways you can monitor these touch points and engage in the conversation effectively.
For instance, if customers ask questions on platforms like Quora, Reddit, or Twitter, consider responding directly with links back to your own channels and resources for more information.
6. Be Open and Responsive to Feedback
As a brand, feedback — both positive and negative — can be the greatest gift. After all, how can you improve if you don’t understand the potential gaps in your offerings and overall customer experience?
Consider collecting feedback through the following channels:
- Send out customer surveys, either via email or directly through an app;
- Set up feedback widgets on your DTC website; and
- Conduct customer interviews.
Armed with these customer insights, you can make data-driven decisions on streamlining the shopping experience, optimising your product offerings, driving sales, and attracting new prospects.
Capture Your Audience — Wherever They Are
In today’s evolving omnichannel marketplace, adaptation is key to success. Customer preferences are constantly changing, new technology is being introduced regularly, and new players are entering the game on a daily basis.
By understanding what customers are looking for and then adapting your strategy accordingly, you can capture your audience with engaging content across every touch point — ultimately enabling you to simplify the path to purchase.
Interested in learning more about the latest consumer trends and preferences? Explore our interactive “Consumer Research 2022” report.