You must have the experience that when you ordered soccer shoes online and then you got distracted and completely forgot about it until you received an inbound email reminding you of the item waiting in your shopping cart. Usually, you may also receive a promotion code that gave you a discount or free shipping if you add a few items to go long with it. When you closely think about the experience, you will realize most of your shopping experience is across many channels, from mobile to desktop and to tablet, through which you get personalized information and interaction based on your past shopping behaviors. This experience is molded by omni-channel marketing, representing a transformation from a shoppers’ journey to a total customer-centric process.
The omni-channel consumers are exclusively digital-savvy and avail themselves of sufficient information about the product features, prices and alternatives before entering the store. In order to satisfy these consumers’ needs and create perfect shopping experience for them requires marketers to keep all shopping channels work from the same database of products, prices, promotions, etc. With omni-channel retailing, marketers know more about customers needs by linking offers to a specific consumer according to statistics about website visits, social network affinities, purchasing behaviors and other data mining techniques.
Consumer decision journey (CDJ) describes four stages consumers go through when making a purchase—consider, evaluate, buy and advocate. (David 2009) The influence of digital manifests itself in every stage of CDJ. When making purchase decision, consumers depend heavily on the Internet to gather information on what they are going to buy. They spend time browsing company’s website, read comments through forums, review sites or social media and occasionally post user experience as well.
In a research, the author states that the brick-and-mortar retailers faced with a tricky problem due to the extensive use of mobile devices. A majority of consumers visit a real store to feel and experience the product, yet consummate their final purchase online. Statistically speaking, about one-third of consumers do showroom, with 50 percent of them admit that they are more willing to buy online after seeing the product in person. And 73 percent said purchasing online provides decent price discounts when they were asked the reason (ComScore Webinar, 2014). Needless to say, the emergence of e-commerce or m-commerce puts real store in a trouble situation. Thanks to the fact that visiting a store is still a fundamental part of collecting product information, physical retailers can give additional incentives to turn visitors into buyers during their buying process.
Since many critics claims that marketers allocate a lot of spending focused on consumers considering and buying process, yet less concentrated on the other phases in consumer decision journey, it is imperative that marketers understand how digital transformed the way people make purchasing decisions, make massive improvements in creating good customer experience and avoid being overwhelmed for the digital development.
ComScore. “Mobile Path to Purchase.” May 6, 2014. (Presentation at The Local Search Association Conference), February 11, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from <http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2014/Mobile-Path-to-Purchase>
Court, D 2009, “The Customer Decision Journey”, McKinsey& Company, access on February 11, 2015, from<http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/the_consumer_decision_journey>