The journey shoppers take has always incorporated three different contexts: home, on the go and in-store. Each step offers opportunities for social interaction and therefore influence through word of mouth.
The rise of ubiquitous digital touchpoints means that today’s shopper is changing. 90% of online shoppers trust peer recommendations, 67% of UK shoppers have used their mobile device while making an in-store purchase and four out of 10 social media users have purchased an item in-store after sharing or liking it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Today’s connected shopper uses social media to gather opinions and recommendations from their friends like never before.
Connected shoppers thrive in our omni-channel world where the merging of physical, digital and social means they browse, share, compare and buy, anytime and anywhere. Shoppers have always shared advice, but what’s different now is that digital has transformed the scale, strength and length of its effect.
Integration of social media into marketing campaigns to drive more reach and engagement is now an expected approach when developing communication strategies. But few are truly taking this to the next level by using social to support the consumer in their decision to purchase and therefore drive sales. Digital tactics such as social promotions, social sampling, experiential social amplification and social commerce will only be effective if consumer behaviour is understood.
With consumer journeys that are neither linear nor simple, the onus is on brand owners and agencies to understand their complexity.
At Geometry Global we use unique insights tools to map, segment and prioritise what we call people’s purchase decision journeys (PDJs), identifying the steps taken before, during and after the selection of a brand for purchase and the key points of influence. The role of social within this is crucial to reveal purchase triggers and insights around ways of influencing shoppers.
What’s clear is that using social only to drive emotional engagement is a missed opportunity: properly understanding today’s connected shopper allows us to use word of mouth in a way that inspires consumers to buy.