The shopping experience doesn’t start with the purchase of an item. Rather, it begins when a consumer has a need or desires a certain item. Wrongfully, many marketers assume that their job ends once a purchase is made.
This way, marketers are missing the opportunity to build customer loyalty. And as the trend is to place a higher value on experiences over goods, this realization could become critical to a brand’s survival.
The mindset of a purchase being the final goal has to shift. Instead, focus on continuous interactions with consumers, even when they exit your store.
Tag along for the whole journey!
Most of today’s consumers expect shopping to be an experience. Even in our increasingly digital world, the concept of the consumer journey is alive, well and critically important.
This is because the shopping experience is driven by its primary component: a consumer’s intent to purchase.
Alongside the intent to buy is the moment of brand discovery. Given the omnipresence of smartphones, this defining moment has become a more immediate and common part of the process. This is because, regardless of location, a consumer can instantly access information about a product. This is the setup for future interactions.
Once brand discovery occurs, consumers will determine the purchasing scenario that makes the most sense.
For example, Millennial and Gen Z consumers seek personalized experiences. Consumers want to try out the product, interact with it, or otherwise, have an experience that makes their shopping trip even more enjoyable.
The purchase, no longer the objective!
Despite what a brand represents, there’s an instinct to treat the whole process like a transaction. Once the purchase has been made, you have what you need from a customer, and the conversation is complete.
But transaction-based thinking doesn’t fully value the relationship built during the brand discovery phase and undermines what brands are at their core. Strong and successful brands are built on relationships with consumers that inform, educate and inspire customers. If a brand’s interaction with the consumer ends at the point of purchase, it’s an opportunity lost.
Going the extra mile!
Turning consumer engagement into an around-the-clock operation is like accompanying a customer on each step of the shopping journey, as both embrace the idea of extending the dialogue well beyond the moment of purchase.
Marketers and brands will need to focus on capturing lifetime value. Once they know how to keep customers, they’ll also be able to better understand how to gain them.
Since consumers already treat shopping like it’s a journey, brands should be treating it the same way. A purchase is just the start, and it can be the beginning of business growth, additional sales and ultra-loyal and satisfied customers.