Shopping Never Sleeps

by    |    May 12, 2016    |       5 min read

The customer’s journey toward purchase has gone overwhelmingly mobile. Given the nature of today’s increasingly digital lifestyle, mobile phones have become our primary “go-to” resource, and the result is that the way consumers browse and buy has significantly changed.

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What are Micro-Moments?

In order to succeed in the age of mobile, recent research shows that retailers must reach customers during the unpredictable, real-time shopping moments when customers are filled with high intent to purchase.

These points in the purchasing cycle, called micro-moments, are a series of critical points in the consumer’s purchasing path. Typically, micro-moments happen when customers become aware of one of four distinct needs:

  • Information: A description of a product, or a comparison of different product options
  • Location: Where to make a purchase, either in a brick-and-mortar store or online
  • Purchase: Buying the product
  • Instructions: Directions about how to use an item or complete a particular task
What’s the Best Way to Reach Customers?

While the purchasing process varies from person to person, being aware of certain kinds of information, including consistent patterns and behaviors, makes it easier to predict when micro-moments are likely to occur.

Here are some basic strategies for anticipating micro-moments so that you reach customers when they are ready and focused on making a purchase:

  • Obtain data: Know thy customer. If you do the research ahead of time and really know your target audience, half the battle has been won. Learn about the demographic you’re dealing with, including age, location, gender, education, and socio-economic bracket.
  • Stay up-to-date: People’s desires and needs change. You’re aiming at a moving target, so make sure to continue to receive information in real time.
  • Optimize for real people: It’s easy to be focused on metrics like clicks. In assessing your sales strategy and process, don’t forget the people behind the metrics.
  • Generate content: Create a pool of content options, including creative materials and product specifications, which can be dynamically displayed at the right moment. For example, have the content ready so that when a customer views similar products, you can dynamically serve the right creative.
  • Study purchasing cycles: Sometimes you can anticipate when the next shopping moment is likely to occur based on past purchase data. For example, a flower store knows that purchases will be made before Valentine’s Day, and a sportswear store can anticipate that local runners are likely to make more purchases in advance of the city’s annual marathon.
  • Make it easy: Consumers moving across channels expect a fast and seamless experience. To get them to buy, keep the purchase process simple and painless. And sometimes an additional push makes all the difference. For example, some furniture stores provide online tools that help consumers envision how a particular couch or table will look and fit inside their homes.
Do You Really Understand How Customers Buy?

Consumers are constantly connected, and they utilize their devices as on-the-spot shopping resources. As a result, the sales cycle is, increasingly, broken down into multiple micro-moments that take place at random times and places throughout the day, as consumers consider their options and think about different aspects of each purchasing decision. These micro-moments are the most significant point of contact for effective sales – and they are key in determining the successful profitability of retailers today.