Understanding the Customer Journey – LYONSCG

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Christian Sharrow-Blaum • February 1, 2019

Below is an excerpt from the LYONSCG White Paper.

Perhaps the most important aspect of understanding your customers is their journey – the path they take to purchase products and services. During this journey, research, consideration, comparison, and ultimately purchase occur.

Today’s consumers rely on different channels to reach different points in the buyer’s journey. For example, shoppers and buyers both rely heavily on digital sources when they are in the research phase of their journey, and especially rely on their mobile devices during this phase.

According to Retail Touchpoints, more than 50% of Google search queries now come from mobile devices, and the fact that 85% of smartphone users’ time is spent in apps means app product discovery is also on the rise. Furthermore, 81% of shoppers compare prices and selection online before making a purchase decision.

Customer journey in store

Much has been made of the demise of brick-and-mortar retail, and while online shopping is steadily growing, the vast majority of purchases are made in stores. Post-purchase contact in the form of loyalty offers, direct mail, coupons, surveys and more links in the customer journey.

Today’s customers are truly cross-shoppers. A single consumer can see an offer on a mobile phone, research and find the best price on their desktop, book an item online, walk into a local store to physically pick it up, and communicate with the brand via email after purchase, and this; is just one concrete example of the modern buyer’s journey.

Without centralized customer data and a consistent experience across all these channels, customers will end up shopping and shopping elsewhere. Today, customers care about the experience as much as the actual product or service. Brands must put themselves in their customers’ shoes and identify opportunities to improve and integrate every aspect of the journey.

Now, different customers will have different customer journeys based on a variety of demographic, regional and behavioral data. For example, let’s look at a few different groups to highlight how the customer journey differs across different customer groups.

  • Internet access – 96% of shoppers with access to the Internet have made at least one commercial transaction in their lifetime, and about 81% have done so in the last month alone.
  • Age – Millennials value 24/7 availability above all else, but Baby Boomers demand that their problem be solved the first time. 70% of Baby Boomers would forgo an automated service to speak with a person, even if the time, effort and result were identical. Have a complaint? Millennials prefer to email you, but Baby Boomers expect a call.
  • Parents – There is one major difference between parents and non-parents: the convenience of shopping. In fact, nearly half of parents can’t live without online shopping, and they spend nearly 60% more on online shopping per year compared to non-parents ($1,071 vs. $664).
  • Gender: – Men reported spending 28% more online than women in the past year. Shopping patterns across categories yielded similar results in terms of spending.
  • Location: – Shoppers shop differently depending on where they live. For example, metropolitan shoppers spend more online ($853 per year) than suburban shoppers ($768) or rural shoppers ($684).

This tells us that there is no unique customer journey. Shoppers have different levels of engagement and expectations based on many lifestyle variables. This challenges merchants to understand who their customers are, what they expect, and how to develop an experience tailored to their needs.

To learn more about the customer journey and how to optimize your experience to account for today’s shopping channels, be sure to download LYONSCG’s latest White Paper – The Building Blocks of Unified Commerce.

Christian Charo-Blaum

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Christian Charo-Blaum

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