A quick search around the topic of best commerce practices will tell you one thing...

 

...it is experiencing an information overload.

Engulfed in tactics around ways to eliminate cart abandonment and encourage those all-important clicks to conversion. The number of online outlets boasting expert insights is huge. At the current rate, it’s likely there’s even a few old wives’ tales thrown in to the marketing mix.

However, across all these discussions there is a fundamental understanding which is flawed -

The user journey is not linear. 

 

As our attention has become fragmented, so has our purchasing behaviour. The product roadmap has become riddled with more data points which carry just as much road-blockers as insight. To capitalise on the full potential of commerce platforms, marketers must overcome the challenges they are facing when trying to capture critical moments happening online and instore.

A weakness which has been apparent in commerce for quite some time now.

Always be converting

Given, some marketers might reproduce a more complex roadmap with an outline of key interaction points and mapped out like a game of connect-the-dots. After all, it is only by paying careful consideration to drop off points that we’re able to get around them. Or at least speculate the best ways to do so.

In theory, this is a great - in reality, not so much.         

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Mind the gap

In recent years, the uptake of mobile browsing has forced many companies to invest heavily in tools geared for on-the-go users. Immediate and instant is exactly what these consumers are demanding.

With our response you can bet we’ve not just listened to their requests, we’ve over-delivered on them.

Our efforts to deliver augmented browsing have mapped out opportunities relating to the melting pot that is immersive retail environments. Harnessing the power of native shopping experiences while continuing to advance instore tracking in the background with new technologies. And somehow managing to Tweet about it while doing so.

Despite not being fully aware at the time, these developments have allowed analysts to observe more accurate data collection methods. With greater amounts of granular data at hand, companies are now able to tailor unique shopping experiences by heightening their retail environments designed around their behaviour along the buying funnel.

These settings focus not only on what the customer is shopping for, but how they shop for it.

With more intelligent systems in place, bricks and mortar stores have experienced a face lift, thanks to immersive displays. Sales advisors can avail of real-time information being fed in to POS devices, equipping them with greater access to information. This grants the ability to suggest product recommendations that are more in line with their customer’s personal tastes and preferences. Securing the loyalty of your customer brings with it a lifetime value well beyond what profit margins can compete with.

How's that for expert insight?

Providing captivating encounters along the pre-purchase journey has helped to deepen the bond between a brand and its followers. This has been an area where customer experience is showing its dominance over conversion techniques when looking to optimise buyer journeys.

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The death of the end-to-end journey

As shown in Gartner’s commerce model, with modern buyers there is a lack of a clear cut-off where the purchase ends. For years businesses paid tribute to the importance in communicating the post-purchase benefits, aware of the power and longevity of Word of Mouth marketing and how it meant your initial marketing budget could be reused, recycled and more importantly – returned.

However, this effect goes much deeper than what marketer’s initially thought.

Disarming the end-to-end journey is now a cadence of events, being passed along consumers in a contagious fashion. The converted are now as integral to the buying cycle than ever before. There has been a huge uplift in the number of customers offering personal reviews and feedback to those still in the consideration dilemma. These product-specific opinions and attitudes have massive impact on buying journeys which spans beyond their one-off transaction. Consumers have somehow managed to get enough power to not only control their own buying, but that of their peers also. 

 

Companies must ensure their digital capabilities account for users at all stages of the journey. Targeting these micromoments across devices will be essential for nudging the user closer to hitting the ‘buy now’ button.

Along with driving immediate results, fully understanding your user journeys can help you finetune your marketing activities. Supercharging those key interaction points is what is needed to win over the serial-scrolling of passive audiences and see a return on your efforts.

 

Actively working to make the omnichannel experience more effective is a trend that won’t be disappearing any time soon.

If you haven’t started already, it’s time to follow suit and take the appropriate steps to show consideration at all points of the user journey.