One thing I’ve found quite eye opening over the last few months is that a lot of retailers (across numerous verticals) believe customers who are on their website are “ready to buy now.” The bold reality is that 50% of customers AREN’T.
In fact, customers who are still shopping around actually visit your store’s website more frequently before they determine that they’re ready to make a purchase. Consumers are coming and going from your website. New data suggests that sessions and frequency increase as those consumers continue to conduct research.
Long story short, your consumers (when researching) are all over the place. As they continue to visit your website, leave and visit again, they’re cycling through various parts of the standard purchasing funnel.
It’s very rarely a seamless “top of the funnel” to “bottom of the funnel” journey. Consumers might go back up the research phase after just encountering the consideration phase and then back down again. This is especially true for shoppers who are about to make a large purchase or investment.
Consumer shopping behavior can be unpredictable
Because consumer shopping behavior can be quite unpredictable at times, it’s incredibly important to listen to what they’re saying through the actions they take on your website. How long has it been since they visited your website? Did they stay a long time? Have these consumers been visiting far more frequently than usual? These are important questions to address, because they provide more insight than you would think.
Consumers can’t, and often won’t, speak to us directly, so we need to guess their wants and needs based on the data you can collect online. I’m not talking about a name, phone number and email address.
Instead, you can use your website to leverage the power of interactive software, coupled with artificial intelligence (or A.I.) to make the best marketing and consumer outreach decisions. Interactive software, like PERQ’s Online Guided Shopping Solution, can help align the best experience to each individual consumer’s actions.
Obviously, this can be a tad frustrating when you take into consideration the number of consumers who DO linger on your website without making a purchase. If they’re in the research phase, and they’ve gone through multiple experiences, how do you target them in a way that isn’t aggressive and allows the consumer to have the freedom to browse? Email nurture can help.
Email nurture is when your store “nurtures” its relationship with specific consumers who have indicated that they’re potentially going to purchase, but who are still on the fence with other stores as well.
For those consumers who have gone through different stages of the shopping funnel (and your website), email nurture might be a great way to hook them back in and really solidify that relationship. Just like A.I., email nurture is about giving consumers the right message, at the right place and at the right time. In this case, however, the outreach is even more catered based on the data collected through the interactive experiences.
“Email nurture is about giving consumers the right message, at the right place and at the right time.”
For example, if a customer who’s already went through the “new customer welcome” experience and through a “What’s Your Design Style?” assessment, it’s clear that they’re already engaged with your store. However, they might still look at their other options. In order to push them toward a purchase, your store wants to keep those consumers as engaged as humanly possible. You want them to come BACK to your website and ultimately, step foot into your physical store.
With the last step being a “design consultation,” it’s clear that they’re already somewhat invested in your store. A relationship has been forged, but you don’t want to come off too strong. A good way to continue engaging those consumers is by sending an email that advertises a possible next step based on the information they provided.
One good email to send out (in this case) would be “we see you just completed a design consultation, so you have a good idea of what style of furniture is suitable for your home. Why not come to the store to see the furniture selections in person?”
Use Consumer Behavior Data to Pay More Attention to Needs
By catering to a consumer’s specific needs, you stand a better chance of getting that online visitor to revisit your website, schedule an appointment and come into your store.
Taking the time to listen to your consumers can and will have a HUGE impact on your relationship with them. Even if you don’t know precisely what their next steps are going to be, you can make educated guesses based on their previous actions and their current behavior on your website. The information these consumers provide you (from the website) will help your store to guide them toward their next purchasing decision.