The consumer path to purchase is an important consideration for any retailer looking to reduce marketing costs, improve conversions, lower churn rates, and increase the bottom line. Today’s consumer is distracted, with their attention pulled in a dozen different directions by friends, family members, coworkers, technology, budget limitations, competing brands, and other priorities.
Shortening the path to purchase reduces the chance that you’ll lose the sale to these distractions. In an increasingly omnichannel shopping environment, brands and retailers are implementing mobile strategies to answer crucial questions, provide added convenience, and guide consumers through the purchase journey.
How Are Consumers Using Mobile When Shopping?
According to consumer research, mobile is the preferred channel for:
- inspiration (48% use mobile, 42% desktop, 23% brick-and-mortar)
- researching (51% use mobile, 51% desktop, 17% brick-and-mortar)
- asking questions (36% use mobile, 36% desktop, 25% brick-and-mortar)
- purchasing (40% use mobile, 39% desktop, 40% brick-and-mortar).
One study found that the path to purchase for apparel and fashion accessories was 14-25% shorter when mobile strategies were incorporated. By 2022, mobile is expected to influence two in three of these purchases, 50% of which are expected to be driven by Facebook. Overall, incorporating mobile into the media mix expands a brand’s reach while also driving sales.
Google research found even more powerful links between mobile devices and purchasing:
- Consumers spend about 15 hours per week researching on their smartphones.
- 69% of consumers expect researched businesses to be within five miles of their location.
- More than half of mobile shoppers want to make a purchase within the hour.
- Mobile influences 93% of people researching to complete a purchase.
How Can Mobile Shorten the Consumer Path to Purchase?
Here are some of the ways brands are using mobile to shorten the consumer path to purchase:
- Utilizing chatbots. Mobile chatbots can proactively assist shoppers or intervene at the crucial moment where you might ordinarily lose a sale. For instance, you can program your chatbot to ask shoppers about their size and only show them products you have in-stock. Chatbots can also remember shopper preferences when making future recommendations. This process is more intuitive and swifter than putting the onus on users to select custom filters in a search. If a shopper attempts to exit a mobile site with items in their shopping cart, your virtual assistants can offer free shipping, reduced pricing, or another option designed to prevent abandonment.
- Promoting products and deals with short-form video. Consumers favor video over other types of advertising. In 2017, 58% of online videos were viewed on mobile devices. Video can be used to encourage the planning of a shopping trip or wish-list making. When videos are viewed on smartphones, they can be connected to in-store activities like product scanning and purchases for a more complete picture of the buyer’s journey.
- Encouraging shoppers to opt-in to notifications. For some people, a mobile device never leaves their hands, their purse, or their pockets. The ability to communicate with prospects so directly is undeniably beneficial, especially when you have a sale announcement or new product launching.
- Creating an omnichannel shopping experience. You can boost your presence with an eCommerce-enabled mobile website or app, allowing in-store shoppers to order via mobile if in-store inventory fails to meet demand. Forward-thinking retailers are adopting customer self-service checkout via their mobile devices to avoid long checkout lines. Accepting mobile wallet payments is yet another way to expedite the purchase process.
- Offering exclusive mobile coupons, discounts, and deals. Consumers expect to receive mobile offers and coupons on their phones; in fact, 67% say promotions are an important factor in deciding where to shop. Mobile-enabled loyalty programs are a popular method of encouraging repeat purchases. Obviously, the consumer path to purchase is shorter for loyal fans of your brand than it is for newcomers. Gen Z and Millennial shoppers are typically more comfortable with sharing personal data and being identified by their mobile devices upon entering a store as long as it correlates with better, more personalized customer service. Invitations to special events, reward points, loyalty perks, and early access to new products are some of the incentives used to get customers to sign up and share personal data.
- Partnering with Shopkick. By partnering with Shopkick, brands can expand their reach, gaining the attention of consumers who they may not have been able to engage with on their own. The app helps shorten the path to purchase by building product awareness at home, encouraging shoppers to visit the store, and incentivizing purchase in-aisle. It uses a points system fueled by “kicks,” or rewards points, to motivate consumer behavior, raise brand awareness, introduce new products, and increase sales. The more a consumer shops, the more rewards they have the potential to earn.
By partnering with Shopkick, brands can expand their reach, gaining the attention of consumers who they may not have been able to engage with on their own.
For any retailer looking to shorten the consumer path to purchase, they should consider leveraging any combination of these methods.
Image courtesy of LDprod