Article

Graeme Howe
Graeme Howe 5 September 2018

Adapting to the modern shopper

Marketing campaigns are more complex than ever – a great deal of time and thought goes into coming up with concepts, crafting story lines and messages, designing the creative, scheduling, recording videos, or even enlisting celebrities.

And when it all comes together; these types of campaigns can be very effective. But no matter how brilliant the idea is, if your audience’s needs aren’t met when, you won’t keep them as a customer.

When trying to understand the audience, you need to ask yourself these many questions: What device are they using? For what purpose? When are they using them? Where? Only when you take such context into consideration can you be truly relevant and useful to your audience in that particular moment.

Shoppers have more touch points with brands than ever, and this is only set to increase. BT predict the average number of connected devices in UK households will reach 50 by 2023. With people increasingly adopting mobile devices as an extension of themselves, there have been huge changes in shopping behaviour.

Shoppers are accustomed to using multiple devices along their path-to-purchase. Tradedoubler research found that almost half of purchases that finish on either a smart phone, desktop/laptop or tablet start on a different device.

As technology has developed, the customer journey has inevitably fragmented to become multi-device and cross-channel. Smart phones have taken an increasing share of online purchases over the past few years, accounting for more than 50% of mobile device sales for the first time in November 2016, and has been on the incline ever since.

This could be down to several things; most likely influenced by larger smart phone screens, increasing shopper confidence in using the devices and improved user experience on them as retailers invest in mobile optimisation.

Regardless of any trends relating to the prominence of devices, it’s a fact that cross-channel behaviour is now the permanent state of retail affairs. Ownership of, or access to, multiple devices is the norm for shoppers, and they are well accustomed to browsing and shopping with all of them.

And as a result, audience-focused marketing can now only be successful where site visit intention is taken into consideration. It is no longer about separate devices, but rather the individual using them.

Site visitors might be at multiple stages of a purchase journey and have different intentions – whether this is research, comparison, finding a store location. Audiences ultimately benefit from having an experience that takes that into account. Focusing on the device alone without considering the context of an engagement can limit the quality of experience from the customer perspective.

Graeme Howe is a director at CloserStill Media and is the event director for this year’s eCommerce Expo on 26-27 September, which is co-located with Technology for Marketing (TFM) and ad:tech London as the country’s largest event marketplace for advertising and marketing technology. Graeme is also joint managing director at IMRG, the UK’s leading online retail association helping members understand and improve their online retail performance.

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