Digital disruption is revolutionising how consumers discover and purchase goods and services, and is therefore changing the way marketers interact with audiences. More than anything brands are being progressively challenged by the need to seamlessly connect online and offline customer journeys – and as consumers spend longer online across more devices, this task only increases in complexity.

As a result the industry is working ever harder to engage with consumers and harness complete control over the complex path to purchase. While Amazon is launching a grab-and-go shopping app ‘Go’ that enables consumers to purchase goods without the need to form a check in line, Barclays has even made the bold remark that credit cards will not exist in ten years’ time. Such innovations in shopping experiences and payment methods are examples of offline and online worlds merging, and will contribute to an even more intricate web of hundreds of touch points in the customer’s path to purchase. Marketers are presented with the challenge of unravelling this.

So, are they up to the challenge?

Our research found that the top three 2017 priorities for marketers across the globe are the online and offline journey, customer experience and data analytics. Interestingly, the online and offline journey is the biggest priority for those working within retail, with over a third (33%) looking to focus marketing efforts on this. The customer experience, however, is most valued by the travel industry with 29% look to make this a 2017 priority. Data, on the other hand, is most important to those within the financial services sector (16%).

Yet irrespective of the sector in which brands operate, all three factors underpin the harnessing of the customer journey, and when successfully tied together, have the potential to create a seamless customer journey – and therefore represent a huge opportunity for brands.

Interestingly, GlobalWebIndex research found that nearly half (46%) of consumers discover and research brands via search engines, and when selecting the brand to interact with, 39% of consumers will read reviews and 37% will take a look on websites to see if their offerings entice them to follow through with a purchase.

Those marketers that invest in measuring and tracking the customer journey – from brand discovery through to the transaction – can harness huge amounts of important insights about customers: their likes, dislikes, shopping preferences, social media usage, digital footprint and incentives to interact with the brand.

 

By Shenda Loughnane, global strategy director at iProspect


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