Two of our experts, Mert Bürian and Yannis Boukas, were invited by consumer behaviour consultants PRS IN VIVO to speak at its ‘De-coding the Omni-Channel Path-to-Purchase’ business breakfast in Geneva. Here, we give a quick summary of the retail landscape insights Mert and Yannis presented to the attendees, which included senior leaders from some of the world’s biggest brands.
Understanding how consumers make decisions
Does your business have a good enough understanding of how consumers behave? – Image source: https://getvoip.com/uploads/customer-journey-map-example-700×351.png
It’s becoming increasingly important for brands and retailers to understand consumers’ motivations and find ways to cater to them.
What motivates consumers to make certain shopping decisions?
It becomes so important for retailers to be able to segment their consumer audiences, and get a clear impression of their behaviours and who they are.
As the consumer moves through the steps of awareness, consideration, purchase, retention and advocacy along their journey, what more can brands and eRetailers do to smooth and improve their progress? Greater product visibility to peak their interest and improved customer service to help remove burdens are just a couple of ways of doing this.
“When looking at the consumer journey, it’s clear that it’s more complicated than ever, and keeps evolving.”
Consumer journeys are changing
Consumer journeys that were once fairly straightforward and linear are now incredibly complex – and becoming more so.
Consumer journeys are no longer as straightforward as they were before the digital age – Image source: https://www.slideshare.net/benuaggarwal/how-does-the-customer-journey-impact-your-conversion-funnel
“In the new model, the consumer decision-making process is a circular journey.”
The consumer decision-making process is now a circular journey with multiple digital touchpoints – Google searches, social media recommendations, enticing content and so forth – that put the shopper in a privileged position because they have so many sources of information to draw upon when making their shopping decisions.
Those journeys are now more complicated
With more products and eRetailers to choose from and more sources of information comes greater complexity.
Today’s consumer has access to so many varying ways of learning about brands and products – Image source: https://www.coredna.com/blogs/omnichannel-ecommerce-marketing-strategy
That means the one size fits all approach is no longer viable, but it’s also very challenging for brands to know which channels to reach them through – and how.
Retail landscape insights – the impact eCommerce is having on some categories
Some categories are more affected by the impact of eCommerce on consumer behaviours than others.
While many people may still like to shop for their groceries in-store, we can see that a large number of people prefer to buy pet care and home electronics or baby care products online.
And then there are those that, on the surface of things, don’t necessarily have a preference for shopping online or in-store.
Or do they have times or situations when they prefer to shop online, and your business doesn’t yet have as much data and understanding about its customer behaviours as it would like to?
Do you have a good idea of how and where your target customers shop for products? – Image source: Click Z Intelligence/Catalyst
How do consumers search for products – and does this influence consumer journeys?
How do consumers find out about and research products these days?
Google, social media and TV advertising are important channels for guiding consumer journeys. But some might be surprised by quite how influential product reviews and eCommerce sites have become when it comes to influencing consumers.
Amazon and other eCommerce platforms are beginning to have a huge influence on how people search for products – Image source: Click Z Intelligence/Catalyst
Amazon’s influence on product search is growing at pace
“In the space of three years, people have shifted to using Amazon rather than Google when searching for products”
There are some extraordinary statistics that reveal that Amazon is challenging – and in some cases even superseding – Google as the channel shoppers go to first when searching for products. To give a taster here:
- In the space of three years, people have shifted to using Amazon rather than Google when searching for products 
- 51% of shoppers start their journey on Amazon (compared to 16% on Google) and 55% purchase their goods on Amazon, showing where you start is usually where you finish your shop .
Amazon is challenging Google as the first ‘go-to’ place to search for products – Image source: https://www.webinterpret.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ecommerce-seo-amazon-google.png
Retailers are embracing the omnichannel – making consumer journeys more complex
The popularity of online shopping continues to grow apace (global eRetail sales are expected to grow to 4.8 trillion U.S. dollars by 2021 ), often to the detriment of physical stores.
The majority of traditionally ‘bricks and mortar’ physical store retailers have therefore already invested massively in online business and are transforming into ‘bricks and clicks’ businesses that operate both on and offline.
As simple as that may appear on the surface, it is a difficult strategy for brands selling products to get right, not least because it complicates consumer journeys still further.
Which eRetailer is the best fit for your brand?
If you’re a brand looking to sell your products online, where you sell them – which eRetailer you choose to use as a partner – is going to be very important. Just as it would be if you were looking for a physical store for the same purpose.
Choosing the right eRetailer for your brand isn’t as easy as you might think.
Do you know which eRetailer would be the best fit for your brand? – Image source: https://www.planetpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/brown_box_company_corrugated_products_toronto_ontario-1236×706.jpg?x38052
There are a number of things to consider.
Do they have visible enough online presence to match your products and ambitions?
Does it offer you the platform you need to develop a great mobile shopper experience? Is the platform a good brand ‘fit’? What kind of Retail Digital Media do they offer? Is this a platform somewhere that your key sales targets are likely to shop?
Besides this, there are multiple other factors for brand to weigh up when making the decision about which eRetailer to partner with, not least the overall eRetailer landscape, competition, brand strategy and, of course, shopper behaviours.
“Retailers are no longer just a sales channel: their roles are now much more strategic.”
The framework for choosing the right eRetailer for you
In the final part of the presentation, Mert and Yannis revealed the analysis and processes that go into helping us create the perfect eRetailer segmentation for your brand. In other words, which eRetailer is the right fit for your brand if you’re going to win online.
The detailed analysis and processes we use – allied with our expertise and experience – to find the right eRetailer for you – Image source: eBusiness Institute
During this eRetailer intelligence process, we:
- create and define deeper segmentation for a wide range of global eRetailers
- perform an online capability analysis to ascertain each eRetailer’s suitability as a partner in terms of functionalities, tools and features
- assess website analytics, tracking volumes of relevant traffic and subsequent website engagement
- perform a detailed UX (user experience) analysis on the ease of use and overall user flow of each eRetailer web-shop
- conduct in-depth 1-1 interviews with key account managers responsible for eRetail in order to understand the respective customer’s approach to online business.
We’ll be covering all the above steps in more detail in a blog in the near future.
In conclusion – a pleasure to be able to share retail landscape insights
The PRS IN VIVO breakfast was a great opportunity for us to share our expertise about how brands and retailers can win online through analytical insights and a strong understanding of the ever-changing retail landscape.This blog has been a snapshot of what Mert and Yannis covered in their presentation, but we will soon be publishing more detailed pieces on the key facets – make sure you keep an eye out for these on our social media channels.
This article was written and created by the eBusiness Institute team.
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