CX Chronicles: Information-Driven Buyer Evolution
In the previous article, we covered portions of customer evolution and the modern business’ response to the phenomena. Digital transformation occurred as a result of the empowered customer; experts worldwide now study them in an attempt to understand their behavior, to understand their role in the revolution within the business world.
There are certain contributing factors to this, namely social media, CRO, big data, eCommerce, UI/UX, and more. But on a finer level, businesses are now able to witness the peaceful transfer of power to consumers. It was a subtle, yet rapid process. At first, the companies controlled the flow of information – consumers had to rely on sales representatives, their promises, to trust and purchase from a brand. With the internet, consumers evolved to become better informed; the flow of information had become freer. But with the advent of newer platforms and technologies within the internet, the customer now stands as truly empowered.
Simply put, businesses who fail to realize this reversal of roles in the marketplace face the threat of extinction, sooner than later. In fact, it’s important to take a closer look at how this transfer of power occurred, as a baseline for newer and fresher marketing strategies.
The Customer Journey: Important Touch Points
It’s easy to identify a consumer journey as an individual experience, different from the other. But what many forget is that the means of discovery and research for customers are often universal. Let’s take a quick look at what these might be.
Today, almost everyone relevant understands the impact of social media as a bridge between the company and its consumers – future or current. But what we need to focus on is something called passive branding impressions. It’s a situation in which prospective customers perform online research, even before considerations around a purchase. In the effort, the consumer actively absorbs awareness and forms impressions about the brand. It’s the fundamental concept around PPC Ad Campaigns; clicks are more likely to occur with consumers familiar with a brand.
Mobile & Internet Research
It’s said that roughly 82% of smartphone owners research a product at the cusp of a purchase, in the store. This speaks to customer evolution, and more to the availability of information – enough to urge research on the fly as well. It occurs more extensively than ever before, with four out of five researching products before big purchases.
In a nutshell, modern buyers are more information friendly, seeking out incredible amounts via research compared to their predecessors from the previous decade.
Through preference or popularity, people almost always flock to one of three channels with regards to the matter:
- Official Brand Websites
- Search Engines
- Emails and Newsletters
In fact, a recent sales survey revealed that most people in sales find themselves aware of this situation, with more than half of those surveyed admitting to the shift in power to the buyers.
It’s common for today’s consumer to rely on reviews and ratings before purchase; roughly 50% of the consumers continue to assess peer feedback, even on the verge of purchase. It’s forced marketers into a two-way conversation, and between access to social media and several review sites, the voice of a consumer is now louder than ever before.
In conclusion, without the concept of customer experiences or the customer journey to purchase, it’s likely that your company may soon plunge into a situation without buyers to engage with your brand.
Do stay tuned for the next edition, which promises to cover a little more about the buying experience.