Do customers buy impulsively?

Some of you would say probably, if I were a kid in the candy store. But on a serious note, the average consumer has so many choices today & access to information at his fingertips that could influence his purchase decision in so many ways. With digital store-fronts and advanced showcasing capabilities, retailers are working towards matching in-store experience on their eCommerce portals through innovative personalization capabilities. For the consumers, this helps in making well-informed choices while selecting products, for retailers it reduces chances of product returns.

Analysts believe that 81% of consumers conduct research online before buying, 61% will read product reviews before making any purchase and 60% begin by using a search engine to find the products they want. For the e-retailer, creating valuable interactive content creates trust, builds the brand, keeps people informed, gives them something to share on social media and helps you rank better in search engines.

There is an equally strong argument favoring impulsive purchase. Marketers leverage certain habits, cues and emotional responses which play a decisive role in influencing impulse purchases. A survey done by a credit card company recently revealed that 83% of US millennials had made an impulse purchase online this year. It has been seen that these purchases are most likely to happen with exposure to multiple products with deep discounts attached to them.

Imagine there are 2 buyer personas at any point of time - a Researcher who is looking out for a specific product & requires guidance to make the purchase and the Impulse Buyer who just requires a stimulus to generate the purchase. The latter has relatively been easier to crack - marketers have been doing this for ages now.

While not inferring that all impulse purchases are completely bad, consumers stand to benefit more if they make informed decisions through research on products before purchase.

How do you influence the customer?

I would like to explain this by sharing my personal experience of buying a product recently. Like every other millennial consumer making a specific purchase online, I visited many online stores, did price comparisons, read reviews and even added some of the products to my cart. However, I was not very sure if I was selecting the right product. I was oblivious to the fact that there are many types of mattresses varying by material, engineering technology & fabric and I surely needed some guidance.

To my luck I stumbled on an eCommerce website though a re-targeting ad and was influenced by the way they had simplified the selection process with categorized details on "all" these attributes, selection scales for comfort level required to match the mattress and detailed product descriptions. Videos showing the manufacturing process, a "no questions asked" 90 day return policy, shipping estimates and a detailed Warranty statement helped develop confidence with brand. Icing on the cake was the discounted pricing they offered in addition. It truly matched a physical purchase at a store and probably even outdid that experience in many ways.

In conclusion, the answer to this is simple - beat the in-store experience hands down with a content rich & interactive digital eCommerce portal.

How do marketers deliver these experiences?

To drive cohesive digital customer experiences, both the technology and marketing groups have to work towards common objectives. Today's marketers want to provide personalized & contextual content and interactive digital experiences. This needs the best of breed Content management platforms to manage the brand's online digital experience while seamlessly integrating the eCommerce capabilities to surpass the in-store buying experience on your digital portal.

The decision on choosing and implementing these platforms can no longer be independently done by separate teams and they cannot operate in silos. In fact, since marketing is rapidly becoming one of the most technology-dependent functions in business, the CMO is being replaced by the Chief Marketing Technology Officer (CMTO) in many organizations to decide on technology spend for marketing.

The need of the hour is to seamlessly integrate the merchandising capabilities that eCommerce platforms provide with interactive content capability from content management platforms to better manage presentation, personalization & interactive digital experiences

There are various approaches that one can take for integrating these platforms depending on their capabilities, technology, cost and time to market. This would range from eCommerce platform providing web services to the Content management platform, a plugin approach were the eCommerce capabilities are embedded into the content platform or using the content platform merely as a container for content & rich media presented through your eCommerce platform.

So have you decided on your integration approach yet? Talk to us to see how ready you are!