Over the past 3 years there has been some significant change in the average shopper’s behaviour towards online store purchases. The average shopper now has an additional seven interactions with a brand before converting, according to a new study from Rakuten Marketing.

9 visits - 4 channels

The average shopper is now visiting 9.5 times before making a purchase. this is an increase of seven visits since January 2011, when shoppers visited just 2.5 times before converting.

Capturing the visitors

Added to this, over the last four years, the average number of channels used before conversion has also risen from 1.25 in January 2010 to 3.25 in 2014.

It’s important to have a well rounded strategy across a range of channels to ensure that you are capturing all customers and fostering their decision process

Online/Offline

Online/Offline stores have seen a change as well, with a recent survey from Deloitte showing that 95% of online sales are incremental to store sales.

There are a number of ways that business’s are tracking online/offline conversions and attributing this back to a single customer record. The key trend here is around customer profiles and membership / loyalty programmes. This leads into a number of new opportunities to provide richer customer experiences.

But not all customers act the same

A quick look at Google’s “The Customer Journey to Online Purchase” we can see significant differences across the markets shown:

Chanel path to purchase

US and the UK have at first glance a somewhat similar pattern – Display > Social > Email. Yet the timing around these are quite different and pacing your messaging to these different types would certainly gain different results to your bottom line.
Canada and Brazil show some marked differences and understanding your consumers across different markets is very important.

At Lighthouse8 we have found that similar variations occur within countries and customising the marketing message to segments or to audiences gains the best results. There does become a point where the number of audiences to manage and the return that you get- finding the right number of audiences to reach your business goals differs from client to client.

The key message here is that consumers are doing more and more research up front, Google’s 2011 Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is certainly holding true. This is the observation that consumers are turning up in stores or heading directly to a product page to purchase. They have done the research on the products, read the reviews, know that it fits in their requirements and space and know the price they are willing to pay.

So what?

Know your customers:

  • Take some time and look into your data and understand the marketing patterns and ascertain what is working and what is not working.
  • Segment your customers into audiences and use that knowledge in your marketing communication, budget allocation and pacing.

Know your channels:

  • Take advantage of all of the channels
  • Test what works and allocate marketing budget according to your customer trends and segmentations.

Every brand is different so invest the time and reap the rewards.