4 Questions to Ask for a Consumer Centered eCommerce Strategy


#10_ How to Win in a World Retailers are the New Advertisers

Over the last decade, mobile devices have drastically changed how consumers discover and purchase products online. As such, platforms that were once primarily used as a driver for brand awareness are now where consumers are finding, interacting, and ultimately purchasing products — often right from their mobile feeds. This shift is forcing multichannel brands to pivot — and quickly. To win in this world, it’s essential that your strategy begins and ends with the consumer.

In order to meet your consumers where they are and, in turn, drive purchase intent on the channels they already trust and interact with, you’ll want to ask yourself these four questions.

1. What Do Consumers Want to See and Where?

In the smartphone-and-Twitter age, attention spans are at an all-time low. Truth be told, you have about 1.5 seconds to get someone’s attention. Video is one of the best tools you can leverage to increase the chances that you win more of your audience’s attention. This is especially true on social platforms.  

Winning doesn’t necessarily mean going full-force on every available platform, though. That would result in significant wasted spend. Instead, it starts with maintaining a defined channel focus.

To do that, you need to know where your consumers are and what platforms they are using. Narrowing in on the most strategic channels for your target audience is the way to go. Having the data to understand your consumer journey is critical when it comes to defining the channels you need to use to drive revenue.

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2. When Do Consumers Want to See It and How?

To win here, it’s all about making the path to purchase as short and as seamless as possible.

Since the marketing funnel has shifted, it makes the most sense to focus on the product itself so you can quickly convey the benefit or overarching value. For example, let’s say your brand just launched a new mascara. Serve your niche audience a piece of video content of someone putting on the mascara, what the packaging is like, and how they can expect to look after applying it.

When it comes to meeting expectations around the how, bundling can be a helpful tactic too. A brand might want to consider recipe ads so that consumers can add all of the relevant ingredients for a particular meal to their cart, for example. The same idea holds true for a complementary conditioner once a certain shampoo is added to a cart.

Bottom line? It’s all about knowing at which stage consumers are interacting with your brand and empowering them with the right ads, products, and information to support their decision making in that journey. 

3. Where Do Consumers Want to Shop and What Do They Expect?

Your entire strategy needs to be informed by consumer data. It’s that simple.

Make sure you are getting first-party data to understand where consumers want to shop. Having a tracking pixel in place on your website is critical to collecting key data like shopping behaviors, customer feedback, and past purchase information. You can also use an eCommerce platform that allows you to gather these insights in real time as a consumer is making a purchase. 

The best platforms provide unbiased aggregate data about the top retailers across different brands and verticals, which can help your business meet consumers where they prefer to shop

For example, if a high-end makeup brand knows that a particular group of consumers prefers to purchase at a particular retailer (perhaps due to a loyalty rewards program), the company can automatically provide them the option to purchase via that retailer.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer behaviors when it comes to just-in-time buying versus stockpiling. Not too long ago, we’d wait until we needed something, head to the store or the website, and make the purchase. Now, consumers are planning their purchases in advance more and stockpiling products whenever they can.

In order to be able to capitalize on this change in behavior while preserving the customer experience, brands need to eliminate dead-end shopping experiences. The last thing you want is for your consumers to head far down the path of purchase only to find out the item they really want to buy right now is out of stock. In such a scenario, brands would be much better off being able to automatically recommend similar substitute products should they find themselves out of stock of a certain in-demand item. Otherwise, you may lose that sale to your competitors.

In a world that’s increasingly driven by loyalty programs and retailer preferences, it is critical to ensure you are able to route all purchase intent to each customer’s preferred retailer.

4. What Do Consumers Want from Your Brand Post-Purchase?

When planning future campaigns, analyze the data you’ve collected and use it to inform the path forward. 

Taking valuable insights from the data and applying your findings to future marketing campaigns will help you continue to optimize your revenue funnel. What are past campaigns that worked really well and why? What was a strategy you tested in the past that didn’t yield optimal results? 

Ask yourself these questions, and do more of what works. A great example here is Starbucks and its rewards mobile app. To build campaigns and promotions, it utilizes the data collected from the app to determine busiest hours, most-ordered drinks, seasonal trends, customer habits, and more. By continuously optimizing over time, Starbucks can keep improving its incredibly successful program.

Just as today’s leading retailers demonstrate, your work isn’t done once a transaction is complete. In fact, in many cases, it’s just getting started. By serving up helpful content post-purchase, you can start to cultivate strong relationships and increase the lifetime value of your audience.

Your brand needs to adapt to get ahead. Consumers are already engaging and consuming content on social media, so give them a seamless digital shopping experience on that same platform they know, trust, and visit frequently. It’s an easy way to meet customer expectations, drive purchase intent, and bolster your bottom line.

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