How does the consumer purchase journey really begin? There’s no doubt that online is the go-to channel for consumers when they are looking for a technology or durables product. In 2018, over half of consumers in Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy (EU5) that bought a tech or durables product used online sources to research their purchase.
Omnichannel is of course very important
About 4 in 10 of consumers who ultimately purchase in-store used online sources to research their purchase. No brand should underestimate the significant opportunity to influence customers and potential customers in the purchase journey through the informed use of online touchpoints.
If you can de-code how today’s savvy shoppers use online tools in their purchase journey, you can ensure your brand is front and center in their decision process. So how can we understand exactly what’s going on behind the keyboard?
We combine consumer survey and sales data from the GfK retail panel to cover the online and offline world. By adding measured behavioural and online review data we build a complete picture of the consumer purchase journey. This complete view of the online and offline world is delivered as the GfK Consumer Insights Engine. Latest insights can be accessed anytime in the dashboard that spans the purchase journey from the buying trigger into the research phase, to the point of purchase and through to evaluating early usage of products. The online measured data provides detailed insights into what happens behind the keyboard, and online review data provides early indications of usage attitudes and experiences with your own - and your competitors’ - products.
De-coding the consumer purchase journey for a TV (example case)
More than three quarters (77%) of purchasers of a TV spend up to two hours researching their purchase online. This represents a great opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to influence target audiences with the right search engine, web marketing and communications strategies. Let’s look at how that purchase journey unfolds in the following example case for Great Britain and Germany.
Survey data to understand general usage Calibrated and representative, survey data can show us which web pages TV buyers visit:
Purchasers in the Great Britain visit retailer websites for TV purchase, far more than in Germany (63% in Great Britain compared to 36% in Germany)
Price comparison websites are used more in Germany (48% in Germany compared to 25% in Great Britain)
We see a similar use of product review websites (both at 40%), and a limited but growing use of social media pages in both Great Britain (8%) and Germany (6%)
Search engine analysis to perfect your online targeting We all know that search engines are critical to the TV purchase journey, but which search terms are consumers using? Use these insights to optimize and perfect your search keywords and advertising and increase opportunities to intercept consumers during their research journey. Our behavioral data reveals that:
In Germany, 38% of online TV purchasers used a search engine for a category-relevant search. In other words, they inserted a TV-relevant term such as “55 inches” or “Samsung TV”. This figure rises to 45% for Great Britain
Purchasers are more likely to search for specific features - like '55 inch' or '4K' instead of specific brands and retailers.
Websites to boost brand consideration Next we pinpoint the destination websites where consumers are directed from search engines. These are the websites where you need to be visible to maximize the inward flow of potential buyers. We can analyze the data by different behavior patterns to focus on the sub-groups most relevant to your business. We build a brand consideration set, assess if their search is limited to specific brands, and use lost shopper analysis to identify unmet needs. The below channels are frequently visited by purchases where we have the capability to conduct this analysis.
Most often buyers visit the retailer such as Amazon, and country specific retailer sites such as Currys PC World and MediaMarkt
Product and price comparison sites, e.g. idealo are popular destinations
The websites of premium TV manufacturers, e.g. Samsung, LG are also visited
Consumers also seek out review websites, e.g. techradar.com, chip.de
Conversion rates to evaluate your performance At this stage we analyze how many consumers ultimately went online to purchase the brand they had visited online. For retailers, we identify the conversion for online traffic. Exploring the strengths of the competition is a powerful exercise to evaluate your performance in the market – knowing where others succeed can help you compete more effectively.
In our example, the online viewership to purchase conversion ranges from 25% - 46%. For some brands, close to half of the consumers that view products, went on to purchase the brand they viewed.
Optimizing brand and marketing messages by analyzing online reviews We believe that analyzing product reviews can give brands a competitive edge in the market. We blend online purchaser reviews from retailer websites, human intellect and AI modeling to identify hot topics and pain points so you can manage how your brand is perceived. From this, you can create the best marketing materials using the content that really matters to shoppers.
How to win in the online jungle
The Consumer Insights Engine combines online behavioral and review data with sales data to calibrate the survey data and advanced analytics to bring you closer to your online customer. Use it to win in the online jungle by optimizing your search engine strategy, improving your website, refining your retailer and web strategy and perfecting your marketing and communication messaging.