Best Practices

Keys to Putting a Holistic Customer Journey in Action

 2021/10/shopper-opening-box-245.jpg Woman unboxing cardboard box online e-commerce site delivery  - view from above in living room
Woman unboxing cardboard box online e-commerce site delivery - view from above in living room

The requirements of customer journey and path-to-purchase initiatives have evolved considerably over the past few years, due in a large part to the ‘‘always-on’’ reality we live in. Digital disruption is entrenched in most industries, and as customers use and experience different purchase models, we have to be right there with them, with the right tools and approaches.

Customers can switch almost instantaneously between different behaviors, acting as an ‘‘evaluator’’ one minute and a ‘‘shopper’’ the next. As a marketer, it’s critical to understand what is important to them in this collapsed period. We cannot, however, understand customers simply from these key ‘‘moments-that-matter.’’ We must know what influences, experiences, informational sources, and technologies shaped these more intensive interaction points.

The Holistic Journey approach addresses these nuances and can be applied to almost any industry or category. It is built to be a nimble and flexible solution that accommodates evolutions in the market. The four stages of the Holistic Journey, while not necessarily sequential, are distinct in the characteristics that people display:

  • Researcher is the stage when a customer is gathering information on products and services
  • Evaluator is the stage when a customer is making an active assessment
  • Shopper is when the customer is starting down the narrower path-to-purchase
  • Consumer/Experiencer is when someone is in the mode of using the product/service and sharing behaviors

Customers can shift fluidly between these stages throughout the journey, with varying degrees of emphasis on a particular stage at any given point. For instance, customers typically spend more time Researching and Evaluating when shopping for a high-ticket item like a piece of technology (mobile device, computer, etc.) versus when buying snacks or beverages (where they are mostly in the Shopping phase). The Holistic Journey approach is adapted accordingly to dig deeper into those stages that matter most.

Purchase channels influence types of shoppers

The expansive, and ever-growing variety, of purchase channels results in numerous types of shoppers with different needs and behaviors. Some prefer the convenience of online and others the experience of in-store (with a healthy degree of overlap). Regardless of shopper type, the Holistic Journey solution will help you optimize the customer experience across a widening range of online and physical touchpoints.

How can a brand put the holistic Customer Journey in action across an increasing numbers of touchpoints?

  • Connect the ‘‘why.’’
    Taking a holistic approach to the purchase journey allows you to link the why to the what, who, and how. In order to create deeper connections with customers and inform strategies in a complex space, it’s essential to know why people behave as they do.
  • Identify the themes.
    Journeys can be categorized into core themes that offer you the chance to present your brand as the most compelling it can be at every touchpoint. Furthermore, themes can be sized, helping to determine where to prioritize content and communications-mapping efforts.
  • Understand motivations and triggers.
    It’s critical to determine the reasons behind the purchase decision. Recent work in the children’s merchandise category shows that a trip to buy a toy one day can be very different than a trip to buy a toy another day, due to the underlying needs (perhaps of the occasion). These needs impact the what, where and spend on the toy.

The Holistic Journey is becoming the primary way for brand marketers to develop the information to make sense of the most complex piece of the marketing puzzle — people. Want to discuss how the Holistic Journey approach can help address your brand’s issues? Contact us.

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