Retail Trends

Making the Most of the New Customer Journey

In recent years, technology (more pointedly, social media) has obliterated the traditional customer path-to-purchase. Now, customers can create their own journey, on their timeline. The path from awareness to purchase can be as simple as one click from an Instagram ad to checkout. On the other side of the spectrum, customers may get caught in information overload with the swaths of public-facing information and reviews. Because of how wildly the path-to-purchase can vary, brands must understand and capitalize on the core touchpoints available. 

Integrated customer touchpoints connect the dots, making the path to “yes” as easy as possible. This means creating an emotional connection for new audiences at every touchpoint. In the beginning, it may feel daunting to strategize for the vast number of purchase paths. However, just as technology created this new challenge, it also democratizes audience access, data capture/analysis, and the ability to develop premium experiences across channels. 

With the seemingly endless list of potential consumer touchpoints, comes vast opportunity to create a connection. And luckily, the three key concepts necessary to stand out from the crowd remain the same, no matter the channel.

  • Always offer a next step
    • Every customer interaction or marketing activity should include an invitation from your brand. This can (and should) include calls to action beyond simply “buy now” messaging. Customers are busy and often inundated with other messaging, so holding their hand down a sales-path in a helpful and on-brand way, can make all the difference.
  • Eliminate friction
    • Friction is any roadblock during the path-to-purchase that creates an opportunity for consumers to walk away (or close their browser). It’s impossible to remove all friction from the sales process, which makes addressing what you can that much more important. When assessing possible points of friction, there are three basic categories to consider: 
      • Awareness: Do people even know about your brand or product?
      • Knowledge: What do people need to know about your brand or product? 
      • Technology: How easy and enjoyable is it for people to acquire goods or services?
  • Provide more value
    • Providing a customer with more value does not solely mean giving more discounts. In today’s retail environment, adding value can include things like improving the shopping experience, utilizing diverse types of communication, offering loyalty programs, creating unique engagement opportunities or moments that go above and beyond expectations, and yes, even offering a discount or incentive for purchase. 

These three strategies can and should be implemented across every major sales channel, whether it’s your website, social media pages, email blasts, advertising campaigns, and even packaging or product delivery. Perhaps the most critical touchpoint, though, is at payment. When a customer is ready to buy, the goal should be to maximize the purchase opportunity in the most fluid way possible. 

Now, wouldn’t it be awesome if there were a tool that, by its very nature, leveraged all of the above strategies to reach more audiences and capture more sales?

The good news? There is, and it’s as simple as offering a gift card: one of the most powerful and underutilized tools available to retailers. 

In the second part of this two-part series, we will dig into how you can maximize the potential of the gift card to engage your customers through checkout in your own point of sale flow. We will also share some insights into trends and successes we’re seeing on our own platform Prizeout, which is B2B2C.

Can’t wait to learn more about how Prizeout can help create new opportunities for increased consumer connection and value? Reach out to jonah@prizeout.com to learn how to target the right audience, with the right offer, at the right time.

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