Brands have always mapped the customer journey, but in the past, it was far more simplistic, linear, and comprised of three distinct phases:
- Awareness: The customer would learn, or become aware, of a desired product, experience, or service.
- Consideration: The customer would conduct product research, discuss options with peers, and determine the correct brand from which to make their purchase.
- Purchase: The customer would buy from the selected brand, completing the journey.
Brands could create campaigns to engage their audiences and drive them down the funnel until they converted into customers. Of course, there was less insight into who audiences really were and which specific activities that achieved results. Still, there was an accepted blueprint for marketers. Today, driven by the adoption of mobile devices, the customer journey has become increasingly fragmented, making the task of driving purchase behavior far more complex.
Instead of following a linear progression, consumers are shifting in and out of various phases, across channels, and expecting brands to keep up with them. They may find inspiration anywhere, and demand purchase opportunities regardless of where or when that inspiration occurs. This shift is known as distributed or frictionless commerce, and requires that brands find ways to enable purchases exactly at the moment of inspiration.
We’ve written about how social platforms have taken steps to address distributed commerce alongside brands, including networks such as Instagram shopping, Pinterest Shop the Look, and even Amazon Spark. In addition, brands must do more on their owned channels to power frictionless buying opportunities, as consumers are engaging with content across the entire web experience.
A brand’s website has long been one of the most valuable consumer touchpoints – but for e-commerce companies, this is especially true. For this reason, marketers may be hesitant to change existing site strategy unless there is a clear opportunity. Still, with the emergence of third-party sites and resellers, it is increasingly difficult for brands to keep customers engaged on-site, let alone drive them to a point of purchase.
A web experience built for the modern consumer is one that connects content with commerce. By activating shoppable content, brands can create experiences for customers that are visually-stimulating and useful. In fact, with the rise of social commerce and other frictionless commerce technology, consumers are driven more frequently to product detail pages (PDPs). This behavior is fundamentally different than consumers’ traditional path on site, requiring brands to have more engaging content on PDPs than was previously needed. When deployed properly, a connected experience can help brands achieve higher revenue, and more time on site, page views, and engagement.
At Olapic, we’ve developed a technology called “Inspire,” which enables brands to activate shoppable hotspots within any image on the dot com, tagging products that can be directly added to the shopping cart for more efficient buying and research. The solution is designed to help brands connect to commerce at a critical touchpoint in the modern shopping journey, to increase revenue per visit and decrease clicks to purchase. It is also mobile-first and mobile-friendly, in order to address the growing percentage of shoppers that are converting on mobile devices.
Brands face a tall task in developing seamless buying experiences for their customers. Still, for those that are successful, there is a valuable opportunity to command higher market share and promote loyalty from digital audiences. In fact, according to the Checkout Conversion Index, published by PYMNTS.com, nearly $160 billion in estimated revenue was lost in 2016 as a result of purchase friction, in the United States alone. How are you adapting to address your customers wants, needs, and buying behaviors?