29/03/2017 Definitively Digital What is a defining sign of today's digital age? Customers are always browsing for shopping offers. This makes it easier to sell them discounts, instead of products - but equally tough to ensure repeat business. The Customer Decision Journey The path customers take to move from awareness to purchase and hopefully(!) repeat business / loyalty is no longer predictable. Regular routes have been replaced by the ad hoc with the first stage almost invariably being digital. Making substantial investments on promoting loyalty-rewards programs is not enough to guarantee growth - not even from existing customers. Today’s customer is prone to drift - attracted not only by a change of product – but even a change in marketing approach. Let’s face it – digital just makes it so difficult NOT to shop around. It’s a sign of our times. Five States The consumer decision journey has 5 states: No State Output 1. Trigger 2. Initial search 3. Deep search 4. Zero in on single brand 5. Repeat purchase Start looking Prepare list of brands usually online Modifiy brand list usually online Purchase offline or online, depending on category Based on but not only(!) after-sales Comparisons May Be Odious To repeat, today’s digital world practically ensures that customers can’t help but shop around. What with the explosion of mobile apps and the hugely enhanced user-experiences which make comparison of competing brands & options almost effortless - 24 x 7. Not to forget, also enabling customers to share brand experiences with each other via social media. Today, the user experience is as important for driving purchase as is brand loyalty. The Limits of Loyalty Increased benefits succeed in luring more customers to sign up for loyalty programs. But even after signing up, many customers end up choosing not to continue their loyalty programs, sacrificing the benefits. (You can get the horse to the water but making him drink is another matter.) While mobile services & personal care still retain some brand loyalty, products like shoes, daily clothing, financial services & PCs have minimum brand loyalty - as any customer will confirm. And almost all customers (include the most loyal ones) are bound to look around before they commit. So it makes sense to examine new customer segments & re-visit those segments which were ignored till date.