min read

How to take control of the shopper's purchase journey

by Frank Landeck , 13.07.2016

Understanding the shopper's purchase journey is one of the toughest challenges manufacturers and retailers are facing today. However, armed with the intelligence on what route shoppers take when making a purchase, how different online and offline touchpoints influence their purchase decision, and which media they are exposed to, you can optimize your omnichannel strategy. So what do you need to do to take more control of the shopper's purchase journey?

Make sure your brand can be found

Shoppers of all ages invest a significant amount of time in researching their purchases. Often they turn to their phone first to search online for products. However, they also use their mobile device at other points along the purchase journey. For example, 40% of shoppers use their mobile device to compare prices while in-store, according to our FutureBuy 2015 survey1. You therefore need to ensure that your brand’s website is optimized for mobile, that your products and brand come at the top of any relevant search, and that your pricing is consistent across every channel.

Research before purchase

Don’t forget the crucial role of the store

More than half (51%) of shoppers buy in-store because they want to see and feel products before they buy them2. You can’t underestimate the role of the store in helping shoppers to make up their minds about a purchase. Guiding shoppers to shelves and signage featuring your product, ensuring tester products are immediately available, and providing advice to help them with decisions are all important parts of controlling the shopper’s journey.

Enhance and amplify your brand with social media

Don’t forget that the purchase journey can be a social experience. While in-store, 36% of today’s Connected Consumers take pictures of products with their mobile device, while 40% use it to contact family or friends for advice3. But consumers don’t just publicize their “likes” and share pictures online. They also make their “dislikes” and complaints known too. By listening to conversations on social media, you can use this intelligence to accentuate the positive aspects of your brand and to respond to potentially negative comments quickly. It will also help you to understand what information your future customers need, enabling you to provide it for them.

Respond to social media conversations

Understand media consumption behavior

According to our Global Young Shopper survey4, 18% of young shoppers discover personal care products through adverts in magazines and newspapers, while 36% discover them through digital advertising. With this type of information, you can gain a cross-media perspective and optimize your ad spend.

Develop strategies that overcome barriers to purchase

With 42% of shoppers citing delivery charges as a barrier to buying online, pureplay brands will need to develop strategies to address this5. Omnichannel brands, on the other hand, will need to ensure that their product is always in stock, both online and offline, and that consumers can purchase it at their convenience.

Take more control

You can win back some control over the purchase journey through your own brand's website and communications, for example, by offering web visitors rewards such as vouchers, introductory offers and free gifts in exchange for their email address. The benefits of encouraging consumers to visit your brand’s website are evident in the fact that FMCG companies experience a 44% uplift in sales share where customers have visited the brand’s site prior to purchase6>.

In summary, by understanding shoppers’ purchase journeys, you can plan your ominchannel strategy to include all key touchpoints, optimize your marketing and communication strategies, tailor messaging and prioritize touchpoints that drive sales, and manage media planning to capture all opportunities.

Email frank.landeck@gfk.com to share your thoughts.

1 Future Buy 2015 survey of 25,000 respondents across 25 markets

2 Future Buy 2015 survey of 25,000 respondents across 25 markets

3 GfK survey among 25,000+ mobile users (ages 15+) in 23 countries – global average – rounded

4 GfK Global Young Shopper survey of 7,040 respondents across 10 markets

5 Future Buy 2015 survey of 25,000 respondents across 25 markets

6 GfK GXL Media Efficiency Benchmark by GfK Crossmedia Link Germany