How the Pandemic is Changing the Buyer’s Journey
The introduction of the internet changed everything we knew about shopping and the customer journey. From initial research, to when we buy, ways we sell, and the process of a purchase, being able to do it all from a tablet or phone skyrocketed marketing to levels never seen before. The ability to reach consumers 24/7 meant brands had unmatched access over who saw their product, when, and where. Setting up multiple touch points through advertising created a way to market a brand and influence countless potential buyers. Life was pretty good.
Then the pandemic arrived, took that thoughtfully-designed online experience, shook it really hard, threw it on the ground, and stomped on it.
As we continue to dig out from under the Covid rubble, many businesses are pausing to more thoroughly understand what this new version of the buyer’s journey looks like, and how they will need to pivot in order to stay both relevant and competitive. Consumers now are more selective and cautious about their purchases than ever before. They have higher expectations, new priorities, and are constantly searching for the very best return on investment.
Every customer’s journey, whether they are buying trendy leggings, life insurance, or a vehicle, is made up of phases. And each phase offers a chance to put your best foot forward in terms of marketing tactics and strategies.
Phase 1: Brand Awareness
How recognizable is your brand? When someone refers to the “Golden Arches” or “Just Do It,” we know exactly what brand they are referring to. And while not everyone will serve billions and billions, branding matters, and getting yours out in front of your target audience is the very important first step in a buyer’s journey.
Phase 2: Buying Considerations
After your brand is established and buyers are aware of it, they’re still going to be thoughtful before making a purchase. This phase consists of several steps, including consideration, research, and evaluation. It’s a cycle often repeated by a customer several times, making it an ideal point to introduce new marketing strategies.
Phase 3: Purchase Cycle
Once brand authority has been established, the research is done, and a decision is made, the buyer will pull the trigger and complete their purchase. And even though this is the shortest phase, it’s essential to get it exactly right. Confirmation, shipping notices, and excellent customer service all need to be at the top of their game before, during, and after the buying cycle.
Phase 4: Customer Retention
Hold up, the purchase may be over but you aren’t done yet. The final phase in the buyer’s journey is retention. Increasing your customer lifetime value often appears in the shape of gratitude, whether it’s a thank you note, referral link, or a special offer.
The pandemic hasn’t changed these four phases, but the approach to each of them now needs to look a bit different. Buyers want to thoroughly understand a product and feel educated about their decision before following through with a purchase.
Implementing a few strategies will help your customers feel empowered, which will then in turn encourage brand loyalty and retention.
Make Your Content Accessible
Gone are the days of meandering around a store to compare different styles of lawn mowers. If comprehensive information about your product or service isn’t available online, your offering will quickly be brushed to the wayside. Buyers are hyper aware of how they are spending both their time and money, and are no longer interested in wasting either one.
Focusing on the ease and accessibility of a customer’s experience with your content will lead to higher sales. Make sure their journey is streamlined, informative, and focused on their overall buying experience.
Don’t Ignore Pain Points
It may be tempting to gloss over an underwhelming contact form or the extended unavailability of a certain product. But buyer’s won’t ignore these pain points, and have no problem saying thank you, next before moving on to another option. And that’s a big challenge, because the pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for what used to be unwavering brand loyalty.
Listening to your customers, asking what the pain points are, and thoroughly addressing concerns, no matter how small, will help improve the buyer’s journey, leading to boosted sales and revenue.
Structure a Multichannel Approach
The majority of your sales used to come from print magazines? Cool, but that’s not going to cut it anymore. While being consistent on just one or two channels may have worked in before times, customers today expect brands to reach far and wide. The pandemic has fueled rapid expansion into the digital world, so get prepared with a new approach that addresses a variety of channels.
In addition to addressing multi-channel advertising and the consumer funnel, you’ll also need to think about related sub-channels or counterparts, such as the different social media platforms. And engagement is key – buyers want to know there are real people behind that fancy company logo.
Refresh Your Marketing Strategies
Fact: what worked in 2019 is not going to work as effectively today. Everything about the landscape has changed, which means your marketing strategies need to evolve as well. If you focus on nothing else (which would be a mistake, so don’t do that) spend the most effort on making every aspect of your marketing as customer-centric as possible.
The most important part of a buyer’s journey is feeling like they are being seen and understood, and your marketing needs to cater to that desire. This may mean anything from personalized emails to curated collections on your website. Utilizing strategies designed to make each customer feel recognized by your brand helps create a more meaningful experience.
Wondering how to get started? We specialize in marketing that is designed to be interactive, innovative, and results-driven.
Get in touch to find out how Jacob Tyler can help your customer’s navigate their post-pandemic buying journey.