Hundreds of stories are being created around brands – off of the Website, and away from the point of transaction. Brand stories created through user- generated content are created and shared daily, with consumers relying on social media channels to shape their buying decisions more now than ever before.
Brands are spending billions of dollars in creating and curating social and digital content, only to drive traffic to rented social media channels. This leaves consumers engaged with brands yes – but not at the point of purchase.
The consumer path-to-purchase is broken. Social media presents the opportunity for brands to engage with customers and build brand love, but there is a broken link to the path-to-consumer transaction that needs to be closed. In order to close this gap, marketers need to drive traffic and transactions to the Website, Mobile sites, as well as bricks and mortar business in order to improve the consumer user-experience, and fix the broken marketing/sales loop.
Consumers are spending more dollars in buying online than ever before with over 40% of worldwide internet users transacting online, amounting to over 1 billion online buyers. (Juniper Research Brand and Retail spending marketing report 2015). It is critical for brands to be in that conversation, and to use it to build credibility and brand love. But what about the consumer who wants to follow the brand to transaction? That is the broken link that social media marketing has created.
Marketers know that Connection = Conversion as nearly half of marketers plan to boost their investments in digital channels this year (Forrester Research and the Wall Street Journal).
The next big thing for marketers needs to be a focus on closing that gap, and providing customers a seamless path-to-purchase. Building on Google’s Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) and now the concept of defining “micro-moments” of the consumer’s path-to-purchase, new Google Insights talks about:
“The fractured consumer journey into hundreds of real-time intent-driven micro-moments – each offering an opportunity for brands to shape consumer decisions and preferences.” Google Insights.
This is what the marketing landscape is now, and as such marketers need to focus not only on content creation, engagement and infrastructure to support brand awareness and traction in social media channels, but also on identifying how to improve the customer path-to-purchase, and how to close the loop between the brand that lives on social media channels, and the brand that transacts and converts the customer.
The customer path to purchase might be broken, but by identifying how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the consumer buying experience, and in identifying the “micro-moments” that make our customers engage and buy with us, we be get closer to closing that loop.
ABOUT: Alicia Whalen is the Co-Founder of www.hashtagio.com – a platform that harnesses the power of social media and user-generated content, and empowers brands to close the broken path-to-purchase. Alicia has spent over a decade helping professionals understand how to embrace digital and social media in all facets of business. An avid tweeter and lover of travel, technology and Ah-Ha moments.