March 21, 2016

Be there when it counts: Reaching shoppers in the moment of purchase

As consumers take the shopping process across channels, the retail industry is forced to evolve in order to meet their needs. How and when consumers browse and buy has changed because of the proliferation of mobile devices, with new research showing that the buyer’s journey might now occur in a series of “micro moments”. These moments are filled with high consideration and purchase intent and typically strike when one of four kinds of desires comes to mind:

  • I want to know information about specific products or services
  • I want to go somewhere — a store, website or app — to buy the specific product
  • I want to do all that I can with this product and I need instructions
  • I want to buy a specific product and I need information to help me decide
  • As consumers move across channels, be it mobile or desktop, they continue to expect a fast, informative and seamless experience. While most journeys comprise of similar kinds of micro moments, the order and cadence in which those moments occur varies by individual making it challenging for retailers to follow consumers through their omni-channel journeys.

    To reach shoppers in that crucial moment of high purchase intent, retailers need to:

    Understand the Difference Between Audience Interest and Purchase Intent

    Data is the key to getting inside consumer hearts and minds, but it can be tricky to disentangle true shopper “intent” from other signals and in many cases, demographic segments can go against the grain of traditional expectations. For example, our research from Hitwise found that 50 per cent of people searching for ‘beard oil’ were actually women.

    “In the Moment” Needs to Be Just That

    We all know the importance of data recency. But when it comes to capturing shoppers in the micro-moment before purchase, the need for continuous real-time data is even more intensified. People’s desires, needs and contexts change and as the consumer decision process becomes tighter and more moments-based, so must your data.

    Not All Clicks are Created Equal

    Clicks are a common metric to optimise against in any campaign, but many marketers forget clicks can sometimes be a mistake, or even a moment of curiosity. If you’re optimising against clicks above all else, you’re not truly connecting with your customers – make your goal to get ahead of what customers want—and when they want it.

    Be Prepared With The Right Creative for the Right Moment

    You must be prepared to connect meaningfully with the shopper in the moment before purchase -rich intent data is useless if your creative fails to connect with the consumer. By the time the shopper begins browsing similar products, you should already be well-prepared with a pool of content, such as specs, creative and copy, which can be dynamically served in the right moment to fit that customer’s needs.

    Predict the Next “Moment” Before it Actually Happens

    Retailers can be more predictive by looking at purchasing cycles and taking the time to look ahead to anticipate when the next shopping moment will occur. For example, based on past purchase data, a shoe brand could estimate when a runner’s shoes will wear down enough that she’ll begin to consider buying another pair.

    Make it Easy for Shoppers To Evaluate and Decide Efficiently

    Winning a click is an important step; but getting them to buy is another. As consumers move back and forth among mobile, web, and in-store, they expect their relationships with the brand to move with them. For example a recent study from Connexity, found that a simple styling tool, which helps online buyers envision a product in their homes with visualisation and pairings, could help 40% of buyers purchase online without needing to visit a retail store. Sizing tools can be even more effective in helping shoppers confidently buy online.

    Support All Touch Points (and Their Teams)

    For moments-based targeting to work, all pieces must be in place. Brands must align marketing, technical and fulfilment teams to eliminate silos and focus on achieving the same goals.

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