The customer journey deconstructed
It is vital for brands to understand each stage of the customer journey, analysing each interaction, across every platform and channel, to remove disconnects and ensure a seamless brand experience.
Before the purchase, brands need to inspire, educate and encourage consumers to engage and part with their cash. Thanks to new technology and media, developing a community and a sense of shared values paves the way to the transactional stage.
The relationship between a consumer and brand extends way beyond the functional, with brands investing heavily in customer loyalty and retention in the post-purchase stage, adapting their offer to narrow the expectation gap.
Customer journey – before
The ‘before’ stage of the customer journey encapsulates all the interactions that take place between a consumer and brand prior to the purchase of a product/service. In terms of brand awareness, consumers are educated about the product through advertising and social media, followed by consideration by the consumer to gather information, including the use of online reviews, in order to make an informed decision about whether the product/service meets their needs or preferences. Key elements of the ‘before’ stage are awareness, inspiration and convenience to remove pain-points so that consumers can move seamlessly from the pre-purchase to purchase stage.
Source: Euromonitor International
Awareness: quality and reliability of brand interaction is a must
Brand awareness is a critical component at the beginning of the customer journey, whereby consumers are informed and educated about the product/service through advertising, social media, blogs, reviews, word of mouth and other means. Leading industry players increasingly build their brand awareness through shared values with consumers, using empathetic communication and being responsive to create real, emotional connections.
Inspiration: begins close to home
The inspiration stage of the customer journey is a very noisy space, with multitudes clamouring for attention, especially where advertising mixes with social media, and there is a much more interactive dialogue with consumers than ever before. The expectations of consumers are increasing, and they are demanding that their voices and preferences are heard. Advances in technology, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, are opportunities brands are beginning to explore to help inspire consumers to try before they buy.
Convenience: the path to a simpler life
Convenience is a number one consumer priority, and “I find I am looking for ways to simplify my life” was ranked top of Euromonitor’s Global Consumer Survey in 2017. To achieve simplicity for a consumer-centric brand, technology in all its forms is pivotal – from the platform to the device and how the experience is delivered.
Too Faced Cosmetics: giving a pain-point a fun makeover
Too Faced Just Peachy in the UK took a novel approach to queuing during a 2016 product launch by gamifying the process by allocating a queue position to hundreds of thousands of beauty aficionados. The website became a real-time countdown clock. Shoppers got to share their experience and their queue position on social media, making the waiting game all part of the fun.
Check out the next post in the series to see how during the customer journey can be broken down.