Understanding the Customer Journey to Online Purchase

Written by Tim Whitley on Thursday, August 17, 2017

The modern customer journey is complex. Before your customers decide to step into your business, they engage with your brand or business through a variety of online channels over several days and, for high-value items, maybe longer. A purchase is a commitment to most customers and they are going to pick a business and brand they trust. There are so many moments a customer has when researching a product or service such as: which is best, is it right for me, can I afford it, where should I buy it and am I getting a deal. Many marketing channels influence the customer at different points on the path to purchase through the website, email, social media, banner ads, search ads, and video, to name a few. Thanks to our mobile devices, we are programmed to get the answer we want within seconds because all we have to do is go to a search engine and we can almost immediately find the answer we are looking for.

Although time on mobile has decreased, Think with Google found that mobile conversion rates increased by 29 percent alone last year. You may be wondering why. It is because people are finding what they want, when they want online. If you didn’t think showing up on search was important, think again. If your competitor provides correct information before you do, you can kiss that potential customer goodbye. Being on mobile can drive more sales than ever to your business. One in three smartphone users have purchased from a company or brand other than the one they intended to because of information provided to them when they needed it.

According to Think with Google, 3 in 4 customers who find local information in search results helpful are more likely to visit that business. Around 65 percent of smartphone users agree that when conducting a search on their smartphones, they look for the most relevant information regardless of the company providing the information. It’s important to focus on the key moments that can help inspire people prior to buying your product or service (content marketing, social media, developing personas, data and reputation management).

Google analyzes millions of customer interactions through Google Analytics to show how different marketing channels affect online purchase decisions. Google says it best, "Be there, be useful and be quick." What are the most important moments along the journey for your customers? Data is the currency of the Internet and it has all the answers when used correctly. Are you there for your potential customers when they need you most?

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