E-commerce and, consequently, m-commerce, are growing at such rapid paces even compared to offline sales, that it’s important that retailers and marketers understand the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s behaviour and customer’s attitude give insight into the buyer’s journey from browsing to buying. There are so many influences that come to shoppers in so many different forms – multiple online sources, traditional methods, social media, word of mouth etc. so it is important to understand how all these work together to channel a shopper.
- Beginning the Shopping Process
⅔ consumers begin browsing for general information on a product/service on a retail site or mobile app, as opposed to a search engine.
Some habits become apparent through analytics which show how browsing habits vary for product categories. For instance, electronics are high price range products so people will browse more sites trying to get the best product and best deal. Home decor again has more browsing since these products reflect personal taste and also can be high priced. With cosmetics, however, there are brands that work well with certain skin types, brand value and brand loyalty, so this sees the least browsing diversity.
Sometimes shoppers know exactly what they want and some may have an idea about it but want to compare for prices, added features or product reviews and ratings. They may add goods to their e-carts for this which they eventually abandon. For instance with baby care products.
Browsing multiple sites means better selection at the best price. People also compare product descriptions, immediate availability, and shipping costs and delivery time. Presenting complementary products to them while they search for specific intent products actually has a good chance of being seen and bought either because it complements the purchase or on impulse.
The shopping frequency can vary again depending on the product. While generically we can say that about 65% of the shoppers are browsing a category at least once a month, 71% think of the necessity of the product and the ease of having it delivered at home. Groceries are everyday foods and may need to be bought at least once or twice a week. Parents probably buy baby products at least once a month and find the home delivery saves them some time. Electronics, however, are less of a necessity as much as a want, and have a lower purchase frequency rate.
Additionally, there is the decision making time – spontaneous (1-2 hours), considered (1-3 days) and extended (weeks or months beforehand). With the last type of purchase decision consideration cycle, people typically tend to be browsing an average of 19 products.
Impulse shopping happens a whopping 32% of the time! But again the categories dictate the results. Electronics are least likely to be bought on impulse. Coupons and discounts (especially with deadlines) could assist in making customers buy a product they otherwise didn’t intend to.
Spending across categories vary. As we have repeatedly mentioned in this blog, the categories for shopping dictate the frequency of browsing, the number of purchases, the number of impulse buys, and the money that will be spent on those products. You could expect more impulse buys in fashion and accessories as opposed to in electronics. However, you could expect higher cash amounts spent in electronics than in fashion and accessories.
- Shopper Empowerment Through Mobile Devices
The shopper is the king and you serve. So it needs to be easy and convenient, or you risk getting winnowed out in this cut-throat market. Shoppers find mobile devices readily accessible and retailers see the largest footfall through this device. While conversion rates are still less compared to that from desktops, it is very important in the browsing and decision making stages and assists majorly with cross device purchases. Nowadays with payment portals becoming more secure and easy, conversions are beginning to steadily inch their way up. Food deliveries from restaurants, groceries, baby products etc. are usually done through mobile apps that are convenient and accessible immediately. Some even use their devices in-store making use of app features like geo-location, QR scanner etc. that most industries benefit from. Currently cross-device purchases account for 54% of the sales.
With mobile devices people can constantly compare products, reviews and suggestions. Using beacon technology to target push notifications based on shoppers’ browsing histories, retailers have been able to specifically reach out to and relevantly assist shoppers in their purchase journey.
Moreover, those optimised for native have been integrated better into the mobile page based on their consumer relevance data (via remarketing), as opposed to banners that are rejected or overlooked.
Today’s shopping pattern is far from linear progression. With cross-platform shopping, marketing must be holistic and customer-centric. It isn’t a timeline but an immediate reality. So you must be seamlessly connected between desktop, mobile devices, and various media. Retailers and marketers need to find ways to address shoppers online and offline. Shoppers decide in what time frame and through which medium they will engage. A good marketer listens to his customers by using analytics to study and gain insights about shoppers’ behaviours and attitudes to make relevant offers and really reach out to them to convert chance one-timers into loyal patrons.