Oh, the Places They'll Go:

Directing the Customer Journey

Customers are savvy, competition is fierce and the path to purchase is diverse. You need signs and billboards to direct the way.

Look Over Here: You Like This, You Really Do
Before you get out of bed in the morning, you can touch several digital communication channels.

My morning usually goes something like this:
1- Check email on cell
2- Turn on television on to morning news
3- Flip open laptop to check on anything and everything

So before most B&M stores open, I see email promotions, banner ads, commercials and know what's trending on social media.

My point? Your store might be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., but attracting customers is a 24/7 operation. Customers enter your sale cycle on their time and terms. They also can easily get distracted. The journey is not linear.

That's why you tell them they want your product and need to buy it from you. Say it multiple times, in multiple ways, and on numerous platforms (both traditional and digital).

Enter: Be Our Guest and Put Our Products to the Test
As we've learned, customers can be in your parking lot, out of their cars, and still not make it to the door.

Customers want to be sure—sure you have the lowest price. If you have in-store incentives, advertise them online. Use SEO to get your products and promotions at the top of the list. Also, make sure all information is mobile optimized. They need to see what you offer while they're on-the-go—or in your parking lot.

Digital Detours: Buy This Way or That
Not too long ago, I received a thick catalog from a high-end 'hardware' store and found a light fixture I liked. I went to the store and a clerk showed me the product displayed in a great setting.

I reached for my phone to do a price check, but she beat me to it. With her iPad, she informed me the fixture was 20 percent off online and included free home shipping. She ordered it for me and captured my email address for confirmation and receipt.

Digital marketing goes beyond inboxes. It's now critical in-store as well. My customer journey started on a traditional route and then took a digital detour. By allowing me to buy online while in-store, they made the sale, eliminated the need to replenish inventory, and captured my personal data for remarketing.

Please Come Back: We Mix and Match
Traditional marketing techniques are still effective, but they must incorporate digital elements. I like to look at catalogs, but after sparking my interest, I usually follow up online, and depending on price, location and time, I might:

  • Research more in-store
    • Research more online
    • Purchase in-store
    • Buy it online
    • Buy it online and have it shipped to the store
    • Buy it in-store and have it shipped to my house
    • Buy it online have it shipped to my house
  • The list is long, but customers want (and expect) these options.

    Predict the Path, Do the Math
    You can eliminate some wheel spinning by understanding your target audience. Learn how they utilize traditional and digital channels. Know what they use, how often they use it, and what channels they ignore. Be wherever they go and let them get there any way they want.

    Let them choose their journey, but make the destination non-debatable.

    Mobile First
    Be Intentional With Your Social Program