THE PATH-TO-PURCHASE – there is loads of touchpoints between advertising and the point of sale
Have you ever seen WhatsApp or Uber on TV? Do they sell at Amazon or Walmart? The answer of course is a double no in both cases, and yet WhatsApp has revolutionised modern day communication (for free!) and Uber has spurred the hatred of millions of taxi drivers and their respective associations and lobbying groups across the world. Whichever way you look at it, the essence of their success is that they have clearly understood the Path-to-Purchase of the SHOPSUMER much better than their formerly well-established competitors and spread the world in just a few months after their creation far away from the expensive itineraries of top-notch advertising agencies or famous Marketing advisors.
The PATH-TO-PURCHASE is about understanding SHOPSUMER needs and the different ways on how, where and when to communicate and offer potential solutions to him. While many companies still focus on classical mass advertising and the point-of-sale as key steps in their engagement with the Shopsumer, modern technology in the form of smartphones and other digital devices often allows effective and targeted interaction that may even have a bigger impact on his decision-making process. It is therefore extremely important to track down the exact steps towards the purchase decision a Shopsumer runs through in 4 fundamental stages: Living – Planning – Shopping – Consuming. Some of these 4 phases may contain several steps in the decision-making process and many times we observe Shopsumers who return from the Planning into the Living phase before actually making up their minds.
The essence is that upon defining the one or several Paths-to-Purchase for our category or business sector, we need to dig further and execute the following steps:
- Lay out the different steps and define the touchpoints the Shopsumer frequents according to the 4 phases
- Establish the weight or influence of each step / touchpoint on the purchase decision
- Define what mindset and decision need the Shopsumer has in each of the steps
- Determine how companies in the category or business sector in general activate the Shopsumer in each step by describing the activation method / variable and the touchpoint selected
- Differentiate your activation approach by using alternative activation methods / variables or changing the weight of investment along the different steps
Companies cannot be innovative without also changing the approach towards the Shopsumer along his PATH-TO-PURCHASE, but we often find companies that are still so concentrated on advertising and the point of sale that they completely forget about the important planning phase and how they could almost for free interact with the Shopsumer there. So think about how you can activate the touchpoints in a differentiated manner!