BrainTrust Query: Debunking The Myths Of ‘Path To Purchase’
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from GfK insights4u, an interactive online community developed by GfK Interscope and designed to connect marketing professionals, product managers, brand managers and market researchers.
The prototypical path to purchase is evolving away from a simple linear model of "pre-store, in-store, in-aisle" to a multi-stage web of sourcing information, products, and channels; evaluating needs; selecting brands; and maximizing value post-purchase. The point where a purchase is made marks the beginning of the journey and not the end.
The purchase provides the chance to build relationships. It tees up the next purchase, and the chance to extend brand connections post purchase through everything from rewards clubs to loyalty cards to online communities. The upshot is that with this new, more nuanced path to purchase, the potential shopper touchpoints are exploding. They extend well beyond traditional media forms to a plethora of potential influences including:
- Word of mouth (opinions of friends and family, sales attendants)
- In store (demos, info desks, kiosks)
- Online (Google, websites, social media, online communities, shopping sites)
- Mail (newspaper flyers and direct mail from retailers and brands)
- Mobile (location based shopping assistants, price comparison apps)
In many ways, the linchpin of this revolution is the smartphone which is fundamentally changing the way information is accessed, organized and shared. But interviews with industry leaders clearly show that they’re aware but not ready for the wave that’s coming. According to the 2010 Futurescope study:
- Three of four respondents (73 percent) agree or strongly agree that digital/mobile will transform shopping over the next four years
- Half of respondents (50 percent) disagree or strongly disagree with the notion that their organization is prepared to manage the impact of digital/mobile.
- Six of ten online retailers either don’t have (26 percent) or are in the early stages of developing (36 percent) a mobile strategy.
Mobile technology is bringing in a lot of insights through a conduit that wasn’t available before — new research approaches such as Shopping Ethnographies (real time, pre-, during and post-shop), Mobile Diaries (ongoing feedback in the moment via photos and video), and Location Tracking (GPS-enabled shopper pathway identification).
Big picture, there is simply too much potential for organizations not to commit the resources and make staying on top of mobile technologies and other emerging touchpoints a top priority. Throw out the old models of path to purchase and embrace the expanded view of the shopping process. There is simply too much to lose.
Discussion Questions: Is the traditional path to purchase model — pre-store, in-store, in-aisle — becoming less relevant? How would you qualify the disruption to the path to purchase caused by smartphones as well as other newer touchpoints such as store cards and online communities?