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If brands are not leveraging tools to gain visibility into consumer behaviors and trigger points online, they are missing out on key opportunities.
It's no secret that consumer shopping behavior has changed dramatically over the past few years. In the matter of just 90 days at the start of COVID, we jumped forward 10 years in U.S. e-commerce penetration.
And the interest in online shopping hasn't waned. McKinsey & Company research from October 2021 found e-commerce sales continued to experience strong growth, rising by about 35% year over year, and online penetration remained about 30% higher than pre-COVID levels. The research also found omnichannel shopping is ascendant, with social media influencing all age groups surveyed. In addition, there has been a shakeup in consumer loyalty, making it harder for brands to keep customers.
Given all of this and the various shopping channels available, gaining visibility into all stages of the consumer journey — particularly those at the start of the process — is critical for every consumer brand to drive conversions and retention. But how can they do this?
Following are three recommendations around how brands can identify growth opportunities and effectively compete at the outset of the consumer journey:
Using analytics that address what consumers do early in their shopping journeys for appliances and consumer electronics, for example, a brand is able to determine that new homeowners who are in the process of purchasing refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and TVs for their homes have an overall purchase journey of 5.1 weeks on average for these appliances, with an average of 97 interactions across multiple touchpoints. These purchases typically take place two to four weeks after taking a mortgage and purchasing insurance for the new house.
Specifically, brands that are active on Toptenreviews.com (617,000 monthly visitors), Reviewed.com (1.4 million monthly visitors) and Kitchenauthority.net (50,000 monthly visitors), among others, are able to sell three times more products to this segment on Amazon, in comparison to brands that are not active on these trigger points as part of the digital path-to-purchase.
When focusing on the path-to-purchase of TVs specifically, brands that are active on Rtings.com (2.7 million monthly visitors) and Pissedconsumer.com (2.1 million monthly visitors), among others, are able to sell 5.6 times more TVs to this segment on Amazon in comparison to brands that are not active on these trigger points.
As the path-to-purchase becomes more convoluted and consumer shopping behaviors become harder to track, brands need a way to understand the complexities of consumer journeys so they can influence buying decisions in their favor. This is made even more challenging with the elimination of cookies coupled with the "walled gardens" of marketplaces like Amazon, Facebook and others that don't necessarily share those consumer journey details.
Using the approaches above, brands can determine how to segment consumers based on their purchase behavior (e.g., buying a home), fully understand the consumer journey, and tie the specific behaviors to purchases of other products to allow brands to nurture the leads in the relevant time frame versus spreading marketing dollars around the non-measurable "awareness world." Also, brands can learn more about consumer segments down to the product level as well as outside of their path-to-purchase, and then sub-segment them based on their unique online activity to drive stronger ROI for their marketing dollars by meeting them at the right place with the topics that matter to them.
It all sounds very complicated, but it doesn't need to be with the right kinds of tools. While there are consumer data platforms (CDP) available to gain insight into consumer behaviors, they only address a piece of the puzzle. Brands really need "external" CDPs that can determine what consumers do before — and even after — they interact with their business online and where they turn to competitors specifically.
With the insights gleaned from solutions like these, brands can then act accordingly to maximize marketing dollars. And they can do this while at the same time addressing the ever-increasing privacy regulations, including GDPR and the California Privacy Act.
If brands are not currently leveraging available tools to gain visibility into consumer behaviors and trigger points online, they are missing out on key opportunities to not only increase sales and conversions, but also to reduce the cost of acquisitions, identify untapped segments, and reduce dropouts and abandonments. Can your business afford to do that?
Danielle Michaely is CRO and co-founder at Konnecto
She brings over eight years of experience in data-driven consumer insights, strategy, customer success, product and data teams. Her deep experience in growing accounts, project management, and managing teams of consultants, data analysts, data modelers, engagement managers, and product specialists, led to building accounts out to be the largest engagements in her previous companies.
Previously, Danielle was responsible for leading growth within multiple accounts in the Skincare & Cosmetics verticals at Signals Analytics and was a Management Consultant at KPMG.