Today, consumer journeys are longer and more complex than ever. Consumers are spending more time online and regularly use multiple digital channels, and brands need to keep up with the changes in consumer behavior. This includes keeping consumers engaged with personalized experiences throughout their consumer journey.
Understanding why the consumer journey has evolved and what it means for brands, can help brands create a more meaningful impact in the market. When your brand learns how to leverage online channels and speak directly to consumers so that they feel heard and valued, that’s when you have understood consumer needs and are able to meet them.
Why Consumer Journeys Are More Complex
One of the primary reasons that consumer journeys have changed has been due to the pandemic’s impact on marketing. As a result, we’ve seen a large and rapid change in the number of consumers who have transitioned to digital channels. Consumers who primarily chose to shop in-store had to make the transition towards options like curbside pickup or online shopping. Whereas those who already preferred online channels actually spent more time online.
The increase in digital consumer journeys is more complex than in-store because there are so many touchpoints. This means that there are more intent-rich moments for consumers that brands need to focus on connecting at. Consumers use different marketing touchpoints like social media, websites, influencers, YouTube videos. Each digital touchpoint is used at a different decision making moment in the customer journey, like Instagram for discovery, YouTube for reviews and websites for purchases.
What the New Consumer Journey Means for Brands
The digital space has increased consumers’ options and altered the process of consumer decision making. It's so important for consumers to find what they're looking for and feel connected to your brand. It's not enough to find the right product at the right price, but experiences like delivery and shared values can make a difference as well. This is why consumers are spending more time doing research before buying, and why it's important for you to focus on the entire digital experience.
Additionally, to be able to deliver meaningful and relevant experiences, brands must focus on personalization. According to Google’s research on consumer trends, the average online consumer journey can range from 20 to 500 touchpoints, depending on the purchase. This creates more opportunities to build connections and nudges consumers to choose your brand over the competition. Personalization deepens the connection with a brand’s ideal consumer which is the most important factor needed to convert and maintain customer loyalty.
How Can Brands Accommodate Shifts in Consumer Behavior
Are you ready to make the necessary shifts to optimize your marketing? Let’s discuss 3 ways your brand can align with new consumer habits.
- Focus on creating omnichannel experiences for consumers.
Since consumers have so many opportunities to interact with brands, it’s crucial to create optimized experiences across different marketing channels. To do this effectively, it’s important to understand how each channel is used–do your consumers use a specific channel for discovery, research, purchasing, or something else? Using multiple channels will also provide your brand with data to learn more about how your ideal consumer interacts with you, which will help to create better experiences in the future.
- Build personalization capabilities using technology and data science.
Consumer data is everywhere, but what’s most important is learning how to understand it and use it effectively . When data is used correctly, brands are able to accurately see how consumers flow through their digital channels and create improvements to optimize consumer journeys. A foundation of data science can help you use data effectively while the right technology can save time and improve marketing ROI.
- Deliver personalized experiences across channels.
Personalization isn’t just nice to have anymore; it’s what consumers expect. Personalization provides value to your consumers and keeps them connected and engaged with your brand. Understanding where you are on your personalization journey and making it a priority, can help your consumers feel understood, which can improve both brand loyalty and revenue.
The digital consumer journey can be quite complex to understand and optimize, but with a focus on personalization, brands can increase their impact on this new market for years to come.
Want to learn more about predictive personalization? Take a look at our other blog articles, or check out our podcast for insights from real marketing leaders. If you're ready to enable predictive personalization at scale for your business, then contact us today!