I don’t have to tell you that today’s shopping journeys are dramatically different than they were just a few years ago, right? After all, you shop, and don’t you shop differently in 2015 than you did in 2010? Different stores, different methods, different expectations and different experiences all rule the day.
Today, that is.
Shopping journeys are dynamic, and they continue to change, and with that change, there’s an almost continual upsetting of retail’s apple cart.
In order to make sense of today’s complicated shopper and her journey, I work with retailers to examine the customer cycle in four stages – outside the store, at the door, and inside the store, from both store experience and customer perspectives.
There are countless ways, of course, to measure what shoppers are doing online and on mobile devices, and there is keen interest in determining how that online activity connects shoppers to physical stores. The four stages of today’s new shopper journey focuses importance on understanding how a shopper shops in store – what catches her eye and makes her come into the store in the first place, how does she navigate the store once in through the door, what features make her shopping experience more enjoyable for her (and more profitable for the retailer), and where does she experience friction and think, “I should have bought this online!”
Outside the Store
When a shopper walks into a store, more and more often she arrives with a pretty clear picture in her mind of what she is looking for. At a minimum, she has been inspired by content on sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, and she possibly knows within a dollar or two the price she’s willing to pay.
At a maximum, she may already have done extensive research on models, prices, features and functions, and is looking to make a relatively quick transaction.
Knowing the profile and shopping intent of this shopper as quickly as possible is becoming a critical component of physical stores’ strategy and success. Studies show that multichannel customers spend up to five times more. The challenge to retailers is starting the conversation before she enters the store and continuing it after she’s walked out through the door.
Through the Door
As my colleague Shelley E. Kohan likes to say, “Online is the new front door of the store.” Once that pre-visit shopping experience has been optimized, it’s now time to guide your shopper through the door and into the store.
At RetailNext, we refer to the analytic insights around shoppers’ visits as Traffic 2.0. Retailers have been counting front door traffic for as long as stores have been in existence, but it’s only been in the past few years that retailers have been empowered to capture vast knowledge about shoppers from the minute they enter through the door, including information like who the shopper is, if she’s a new or returning shopper, and even why she’s visiting.
Fully understanding shoppers and their shopping journeys is mission-critical to staying competitive in today’s complex and ever-changing retail environment, and it leads to being able to execute on delivering a Wow! shopper experience.
In the Store: The Experience
Here’s a question for you: Would you trade your online e-commerce experience of today for the one you ‘enjoyed’ just 10 or 15 years ago?
Online merchants have done a wonderful job of refining, tailoring and continually improving the online shopping experience over the past decade, and shopping online is now easy and friction-free.
Unfortunately, in brick-and-mortar stores, there are still many areas that impede a shopper’s path to purchase – fitting rooms are not optimized, long lines exist at point-of-sale terminals, and customers struggle mightily with service.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it can’t be that way for stores to survive in this era of the newly empowered shopper. Retailers have access to both the data and the tools to first identify, then solve, any and all points of friction throughout the store.
In the Store: The Shopper
The twisting, circuitous omnichannel shopping journey is almost done. Or, is the next journey just beginning?
Through the journey, the retailer knows a shopper’s pre-shopping activity, her demographics, her shopper profile, why she came into the store and it’s all led to executing upon creating the optimal store environment and shopping experience.
But, all that is “so what?” It’s time for “now what?”
Once a shopper has gotten this far into her journey, the retailer’s ability to drive loyalty and additional share of wallet are tremendous. Advanced analytics aid retailers in understanding how customers shop, and even understanding how the most loyal and profitable shoppers shop in comparison to those who are less loyal.
It’s about making the most of every visit.
A retailer can take gains into better understanding who its shoppers are, but to create optimal experiences and capture not only mindshare but wallet share in an increasingly crowded and competitive space, it’s critical to understand how its shoppers shop and behave, and why they take the journeys they do.