Thanks to the ever developing digital world and the changes it has brought to consumer behaviour, the buyer's journey isn't the simple linear path it once was. It's now a tangled spaghetti mess more than anything. Econsultancy recently published a blog post on the buyer's journey describing 5 new realities which retailers and eCommerce sites must face. Here's our tips on how you can be prepared for buyers on different parts of this journey, and be there to provide them with the information which they need in order to be making sales online with the new buyer's journey.
The New Buyer's Journey
Like I said, the buyer's journey has changed a little from the traditional linear one we all were used to. But how has it changed and why?
The main reason for the spaghetti squiggle is the sheer mass of information now available to consumers. There's a wealth of information through a wealth of channels due to the growth in social media, review websites and the internet in general in the past decade.
With consumers being bombarded with more information 24/7 from more sources, it's easy for them to jump randomly between steps in the buying journey. Going back and forth sporadically because they've heard of a new product or seen a bad review about yours. The journey doesn't even end at purchase any more. The new buyer's journey goes on past purchase because of social media and the new affect it can have on word of mouth. Bad reviews can spread like wildfire, and so can good ones. Support needs to be offered after purchase as this can help decide whether you'll be making sales online in the future.
More Information In More Places
The number 1 step to making sales online with the new buyer's journey? Give consumers the information they want in the place they want. I say consumers are bombarded by information but more often than not it will be them that are coming and looking for it if they are considering a purchase.
You need to provide details of your products in more places than just your website. Yes, your website should contain the most detail but you also need to provide information across the social channels and websites which your (potential) customers are using.
For example, if a consumer looking to buy a new tablet prefers using Facebook to find product information, they might 'like' a few tablet producers/suppliers on Facebook to discover which product to buy. Those suppliers not offering any information on their products through Facebook have very little chance of making a sale to this consumer.
Making sales online doesn't come from your content distribution and social media efforts alone. Within the new buyer's journey is a new source of information. Review sites. You need to be part of legitimate review sites where consumers can see real reviews of your products. In order to buy, many consumers feel the need to first get feedback from fellow consumers or friends. It's all very well and good saying nice things about your product but you need your customers to be doing it too.
Your product needs to be up to scratch and your customers need to know how they can leave their feedback and reviews. Offering incentives such as 10% off their next order for leaving a review on yell for example is a great way of gaining more reviews. How well your product and customer service performs decides what kind of review they leave though.
There may be a wealth of information out there but many consumers will want even more. Consumers need support whilst buying online and they need support in a fast and convenient way. 83% admit they need some form of support during their online journey.
Many consumers take to Twitter for customer support and further product information. But not all brands are prepared for them. Meaning a slow response, in public. Consumers shouldn't be getting slow responses at all. Using a system like live chat encourages your consumers to come to your site for quick answers to their questions. Consumers can get the information that they need and you can make your sale.