The continued growth of digital commerce has transformed the way customers research and purchase products today. As technology continues to evolve with this growth, consumers are influenced everywhere they turn, from opening their inbox to scrolling through social media. Savvy brands and retailers are capitalizing on this trend by identifying new and creative opportunities to capture customers’ attention at every touchpoint throughout their decision journey.

One major challenge for brands and retailers to implement this approach is the limitations associated with conventional supply chain strategies. The traditional supply chain mega-processes of PLAN-BUY-MAKE-MOVE-SELL-DISTRIBUTE do not incorporate all of the individual customer actions that take place over the course of the entire shopping journey, which is better illustrated as an 11-step process:

  1. Need/Want
  2. Discover
  3. Research
  4. Assess
  5. Select
  6. Purchase
  7. Receive
  8. Use/Consume
  9. Maintain
  10. Influence
  11. Repeat

While not every customer may go through all 11 steps for each order, these steps can be categorized and condensed into three main mega-processes: SHOP, BUY and USE. In addition to incorporating a wide variety of channels into their sales strategy, brands also need to target customers at each stage of the purchase funnel, including the “awareness” (SHOP) stage, where they go to research various products, as well as the “purchase” (BUY) stage, where customers already know what they want or need and are ready to buy.

In addition to dominating the BUY stage, Amazon is now rivaling Google in the SHOP stage, with recent reports showing that two-thirds (66 percent) of customers typically start their search for new products on the platform. In response to steadily losing ad sales to the e-commerce giant, Google recently launched a new Shopping experience, offering consumers personalized recommendations, price tracking and the ability to buy online, at a local store or directly from retailers on Google.

Additionally, social media is continuing to emerge as a shopping destination for many consumers—of the 63 percent of shoppers that have clicked on a social media ad, one third (33 percent) of them made a direct purchase, according to a recent study by Episerver. Last month, Instagram announced its new product launch day reminders, positioning itself as a shopping destination. As a pioneering platform for product inspiration—with 72 percent of users reporting the platform inspires them to start shopping even when they weren’t planning to—Pinterest continues to advance its advertising capabilities to further drive traffic and sales.

As customer demands for personalization continue to grow and e-commerce platforms continue to upgrade and evolve capabilities to meet these expectations, increasing visibility along the entire shopping journey will become vital for brands to succeed in today’s customer-centric world.

This post is part of our “Sell Anywhere” blog series. Learn more about this concept in the related articles below or visit our newsroom to stay up to date on our latest news.

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Tompkins Solutions Staff
Tompkins Solutions Staff

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