The average consumer interacts on web-connected devices hundreds of times before making a purchasing decision. Is your brand engaging customers at the right moment?
It’s no secret that the evolving digital landscape has had a profound impact on the way we shop; with instant access to product reviews, manufacturer websites, and one-click purchasing, the majority of our buying decisions are now affected by our connection to the web. In fact, according to Deloitte’s 2016 New Digital Divide report, $0.56 of every dollar spent in a store is influenced by a digital interaction — that adds up to $2.1 trillion in total. Just three years ago, digital’s influence touched just $0.14 of every dollar spent.
Yet even as digital’s impact on the customer journey has expanded, a company’s ability to influence the purchasing path has diminished, particularly as that journey has become more complex. It has therefore never been more difficult — or more important — to understand every digital step consumers take on their way to a purchase.
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Unsurprisingly, the rise of mobile has significantly contributed to digital’s impact, with roughly 37% of in-store purchases influenced by a shopper’s use of a tablet or smartphone. Consumers’ increasing reliance on mobile devices has fractured their buying journey into what Google has dubbed micro-moments: “real-time, intent-driven” instances of customers turning to their smartphones and tablets to meet a specific need.
This includes everything from opening an app, to conducting an online search, to watching a video — there may be hundreds of micro-moments leading up to the final purchase. Google breaks down these interactions into four key groups: “I-Want-to-Know,” “I-Want-to-Go,” “I-Want-to-Buy,” and “I-Want-to-Do.” Every moment, no matter which group it belongs to, is critical, providing brands an opportunity to meet consumers precisely where and when they are shaping their preferences and informing their decisions.
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Discovering the Path to Purchase
But tracking every micro-moment is no easy task, especially given the volume of information that each customer produces. Luth Research recently released clickstream data that followed the path of an individual on the market for a new car, revealing 900 digital interactions over a three-month period. The consumer, a 32-year-old mother named Stacy, took part in 71% of those interactions on her mobile devices, utilizing web searches, site visits, and videos to find information pertinent to leasing and buying an automobile.
Of those 900 interactions, 139 were Google searches, ranging from brands and manufacturers to specific features and pricing. Each search led Stacy through a unique series of touchpoints, and the ability to identify these critical moments enables brands to more effectively engage with their prospective customers.
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Keeping Up with Consumer Retail Trends
While Stacy’s case represents the path of only one consumer, it is not difficult to extrapolate its significance to customers across industries (even B2B purchasing patterns are becoming more fragmented and less linear). In fact, 93% of retail consumers report using a digital device during Deloitte’s “Browse and Research” moment of the shopping journey. With 200 million digital shoppers spending an average of $1,700 per year, there are an incredible number of possible purchase paths to track.
Every consumer is unique, which means their path is also unique; what’s more, it’s likely that the paths they take to different purchases are also inconsistent. It’s therefore impossible for humans alone to track and understand all of these interactions at the level of the individual consumer. The data has become too big and too complex for marketers to understand and realistically work with.
To cope with so much relevant information, companies are increasingly turning to advanced tools, including sophisticated AI-driven solutions — ones that can autonomously discover unique, individual paths to purchase and take action on them in the right moment. Many of the current systems that exist today fail to do this effectively, however, because they are not built on artificial intelligence from the ground up. They therefore don’t possess the kind of big-data crunching power that is necessary for this type of capability to be possible.
Enter Albert™, an artificial intelligence based marketing platform. Albert functions almost entirely on his own, understanding and autonomously discovering the consumer journeys of thousands upon thousands of consumers simultaneously. The AI platform learns from that information and automatically adjusts and executes interactions, ensuring your brand is engaging customers at the most important moments.
To learn more about how to engage customers at the right moment view the recent webinar, How AI Marketing can improve retail & eCommerce results.