Customer journeys have shifted dramatically in many categories as COVID-19 has created an entirely different set of needs and behaviors for shoppers. The simple fact is that most shoppers are spending more time at home which allows for more browsing online, but less urgency to purchase. They are likely to be shopping during completely different time periods, including taking a break from remote working schedule, as well as shopping more for the entire family, especially if college age children or young adults are now at home for an extended period of time.
In the near-term, social distancing and protective requirements are upending the entire customer journey process from the pre-shopping phase through shopping itself, and then the post-purchase and usage phase. For your brand to meet its growth targets, understanding the purchase triggers, touchpoints, channel usage, and product considerations are critical to thriving in this new reality.
Motivating the need trigger.
Customers are reassessing what really constitutes a true need, and may limit non-essential or premium/luxury purchases. During today’s uncertainty, customers may forego new products or specific categories. Successful brands will take the time to analyze what will motivate their customers to act on a need and actively embark on the path to purchase.
Connecting to the trip mission in-store.
Exploration or discovery trips to stores have dramatically reduced in frequency as customers are limiting their missions to primarily restocking household items. Shopper may shift preferences to a different retailer if there are perceived or real risks around safety protocols or issues. Proactive brands will continue to assess their customers’ perceptions to mitigate the potential for shifts to another channel or retailer. In addition, it’s smart to evaluate your in-store messaging tactics to capture shoppers’ attention in the aisle.
Online purchases are also driving more auto-restocking as customers rely on their previous purchase history. This also reduces the potential to discover new product launches. It is critical for brands to reevaluate new product launch strategies as discovery is limited in digital settings as well.
We’ve seen from past customer journey work that word-of mouth recommendations are a crucial touchpoint. … Customers now rely more on website and social media reviews for information prior to purchase.”
Touchpoints moving from word-of-mouth to digital.
We’ve seen from past customer journey work that word-of mouth recommendations are a crucial touchpoint. Customers rely on their personal network of family and friends to guide their decision-making process. Social distancing and size limits for gatherings is reducing the opportunity to share recommendations on brand experiences and new products. Customers now rely more on website and social media reviews for information prior to purchase.
The implication around all this digital education? Now’s the time to evaluate digital communication strategies to ensure you are reaching your target audience. In addition, assess and optimize advocacy and loyalty initiatives to promote brand champions in the digital realm.
The purchase channel increasingly digital, too.
Ease, convenience, and safety are the primary reasons customers are choosing online shopping over in-store. There is a marked increase in customers leveraging “click and collect” or direct-to-home delivery options. Even the automotive market is seeing a significant uptick in online orders and direct-to-home delivery. The digital transformation just sped up exponentially due to COVID, and brands should put a high priority of future-proofing their sales by ensuring their digital strategies create a strong connection with customers.
For your brand to meet its growth targets, understanding the purchase triggers, touchpoints, channel usage, and product considerations are critical to thriving in this new reality.”
Is your brand evolving its strategies to meet the changing customer journey? Contact us to learn more how to assess and refine your customer connections.