How best to think about the consumer journey

When talk turns to the consumer journey, the chances are a traditional ‘sales’ funnel will be what comes to mind. You know the one:

Stage1: Awareness (Broad reaching media activity)

Stage 2: Consideration (Remarket from awareness pool)

Stage 3: Purchase (Remarket from consideration pool).

More than anything it is a way of helping you to chart the consumer journey – so that you can work out what the stages look like for your category and product, and where you need to focus within the funnel to achieve a specific objective. You can then identify the tactics to use at each stage based on this understanding.

Clearly then, there is a lot of value in a well-thought-through and put-together sales funnel. However, it’s good to look at the path to purchase as more of a continual journey rather than a traditional sales funnel. For example, people could spontaneously enter the consideration or purchase stage without having moved through the funnel. It’s then about nudging people around that journey and reducing any friction they may feel.

It’s why Instead of a sales funnel, it helps if you think of it as a ‘purchase wheel’, which you can see a simple diagram of below.

As you can see, it does follow similar principles to the traditional sales funnel:

The priming stage is essentially the awareness stage:

This is when consumers are not actively in the market to buy, so here’s where your brand needs to build ‘mental availability’ so that when they do come into the market, your brand is thought of. This is called ‘priming stage bias’.

Trigger: this is how people enter the active stage (the active stage is the consideration stage in the funnel).

So, what this shows is that there will be certain things that trigger people into the market. For example, the sun is shining so they want ice cream. Or they think of their summer plans and so start actively looking for a holiday.

These are customers’ needs and desires that move them to the active stage.

Active experiences: the things people do to help them choose.

People are now ‘in market’, looking at options, and you want your brand to be on their minds. You would have achieved this by priming them early on and linking your brand to relevant trigger moments. You will of course also be using the channels and tactics best suited to this active stage, to make consumers choose your brand.

Action: Here it is about why people buy your brand (motivators), why they don’t (friction/barriers) and what they do next (loyalty, word of mouth etc).

As we wrote in a previous post (here), it is best to start at the purchase stage (action) and work backwards when it comes to optimising the purchase journey, making sure everything is working as hard as it can be, with as less friction as possible for customers.

Hopefully, that’s helped to show you what the consumer journey is, and how best to think about it and approach it. We’ll revisit this again soon, where we can look at each part of the journey in more detail.

And don’t forget, if you want to make sure your eCommerce store is as optimised as it can be, then please get in touch to see how we can make this happen for you.

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