Forget what you thought you knew about the path to purchase. Digital technology and the challenging economy have redefined the way we shop. The path to purchase has transformed from a simple, linear model to a highly complex web of shopping behaviors through which shoppers may bounce around in seemingly random fashion. Take for example:
- Shopping for a new TV – Who simply goes to the store, picks out a TV and takes it home with them? Not many. These days shoppers do their research. They scan the internet. They talk to friends. They go to stores (not one but several), and they browse. A lot. Then they go to the internet again, or maybe they start looking for (or waiting for) deals.
- Finding a new outfit – When it comes to shopping apparel, the options can appear almost endless. Beyond the myriad of retailer options, there are catalogs, pop-up stores, shopping apps, shopping communities, “flash” websites, retailer sites, manufacturer sites… shoppers have an incredible number of choices.
- Bringing home dinner – The grocery shopper is more time starved than ever. What should they fix? What should they buy prepared? More and more go online for recipe ideas. Most have multiple store options to choose from. Virtually all are looking for, and expecting, great deals as part of their shop. And, if that’s not enough, some now have smartphone apps to download deals right at the store.