Multichannel customer journeys
Multichannel and omnichannelThe term ‘multichannel’ was coined in the early 2000s to signify the integration of offline and online shopping channels, for example by large traditional retailers such as Marks and Spencer who added an online shopping and delivery element to their established network of stores.This term has since evolved into ‘omnichannel’ to encompass the wide range of channels and social media now used by consumers to formulate, evaluate and execute buying decisions – often to make just a single purchase.For example, with the location-specific and real time properties of mobile technology, consumers are increasingly incorporating the use of smartphones into their shopping experience. The following data comes from Ofcom’s 2016 market report which is freely available online and is a very useful source of detailed trend statistics:
The number of visitors to the most popular online retailers on mobile platforms has increased year on year. In April 2016, Amazon had the largest audience (32.5 million) compared to eBay (29.2 million).
In March 2016, more internet users visited online retailers on mobile devices than on laptops and desktops.
A range of mobile payment services are available in the UK that use NFC technology to allow users to make contactless payments using their mobile phone in selected retailers, as well as to pay for public transport in London.
Customer journeysThe term ‘customer journey’ refers to the complex ways in which customers navigate this multichannel landscape to get from their first inclination to check out a product, to finally buying and consuming it. In this environment, we would question whether or not traditional linear models of buying behaviour still have relevance to marketers.Our research (Wolny & Charoensuksai, 2014) on customer journey types indicates that, depending on the industry, there are at least three types of customer journeys (the paper is available from a link at the bottom of the page):
Impulsive JourneysImpulsive journeys are often triggered by emotional response to product in a store, or familiarity with the brand. The purchase is then often made on the spot, through the channel the user is engaging with at the time – online or offline.
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Digital Marketing: Challenges and Insights
Considered JourneysMany shoppers gather information all the time – they read forums and watch YouTube videos, without wanting to buy a product at the time. Then they consider the information once a purchase occasion arises at some point in the future.Every customer can also engage in a different type of journey every time they shop, which makes research into this area important and complex. This useful post from Smart Insights provides a number of customer journey examples and a template for mapping them.
So how can marketers respond?They should ‘fish where the fish are’ with an active presence on appropriate social networks, and ensure they align their message consistently across all possible customer touch points.Creative and helpful interactions need not require large budgets to sustain, if brand advocates can be encouraged to share their purchase stories. For example, by making it easy for satisfied customers to post and share their reviews of a purchase via their own social networks, this information can be incorporated into the customer journeys of potential customers of that product.An interesting example about how the web has changed the way we shop is provided by BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ programme featuring Catherine Shuttleworth, the founder of Savvy Marketing.This potentially adds a further layer of complexity to the customer journey, as well as raising concerns about privacy which we will return to in a later Step.
Digital Marketing: Challenges and Insights
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