3 ways to shift your marketing strategy to adapt to the consumer journey
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3 ways to shift your marketing strategy to adapt to the consumer journeyJuly 2023
Join our Google analysts as they discuss three key behaviors making the consumer journey what it is right now. For example, about a third of consumers globally in surveyed markets are spending more time making decisions, considering more brands, and considering more stores and retailers. Take a closer look at the latest insights and trends from Google Search, and learn how to apply these findings to your business.
Ashley Wells: These days, the consumer journey is more complex than ever. Trying to predict shoppers’ next steps can feel a little daunting. But understanding the evolution of their unique behaviors can help you reach the right person at the right time with the right messaging platform. So today we’re discussing three key behaviors that make the consumer journey what it is right now.
You’ve reached the Insights Jam, where the Global Market Insights team gets together to discuss consumer insights and trends. My name’s Ashley.
Samantha Gelinas: I’m Sam.
Jessica Ciesielski: And I’m Jessica.
Ciesielski: So let’s dig into the first way that the consumer journey has evolved. We’ve seen consumers are being more thoughtful in their decision-making. Shoppers are more conscious of what, where, and how they buy. Throughout the whole journey, from the moment of inspiration to when they actually make the purchase, consumers are leaning on Google Search to answer their questions that come up along the way.
So with that in mind, I have a question for you. True or false? Globally, 32% of consumers in surveyed markets are doing more research on purchases while shopping.
If you thought true, you are correct. So this tells us that it’s really more important to meet shoppers where they actually are at in the process. So we recommend making sure you have a strong and informative digital presence to help bring awareness to your business and show shoppers how you can help meet their needs.
Really spend time thinking about the value that you’re offering your consumers. How is your strategy intentionally helping equip customers with more information to support the decision to purchase?
Gelinas: Exactly. I have a great example from Google Search that shows how people are doing their research. On average, global search interest in “best time to buy” was higher in January compared to the same time in the prior year.
But I think it’s important to call out that when people are doing the research, they’re looking for more than just pricing information. In fact, when we ask people what are the most helpful things brands can communicate as they make decisions about items they’re considering purchasing, the quality of an item was selected as often as deals and promotions, by 46% and 45% of people, respectively.
The takeaway here is that while price is obviously a very important factor in decision-making, discounts aren’t the only tool in your toolkit. Make sure you’re communicating product benefits, like quality, very clearly.
Wells: Well, let’s keep the ball rolling and chat about the second reason the consumer journey is so complex right now. Consumers have more options than ever while making purchasing decisions.
About a third of consumers globally in surveyed markets are spending more time making decisions, considering more brands, and considering more stores and retailers. And 47% of consumers in surveyed markets have purchased at least one new brand that they’ve never bought before. So clearly, people are willing to roll up their sleeves and do some research.
With so much information out there, consumers are using Google Search as a tool to get reliable and diverse results. People are open to trying new brands and products to best meet their needs, which means they have to work even harder to narrow down the right choices for them.
And that begs the question: how many consumers research online, even if they fully intend to buy in-store? Over half or less than half? If you said “over half,” you are correct.
Sixty-five percent of consumers in surveyed markets are more likely to research products online, even if they intend to buy in-store. And 59% are more likely to visit stores to see or touch products, even if they plan to buy online. So since the research stage is so important for the customer journey right now, brands could spend some time thinking about how to drive more in-store purchases through their online promotions.
Gelinas: Brands and retailers need to think less about online and offline as separate entities, and think more about how the two work together in a way that’s helpful for consumers.
Fun fact: in our holiday research, we found that online search was used before 96% of in-store holiday shopping occasions across surveyed markets. This really illustrates how online and offline are colliding.
And over the past five years, global comparison of search terms “near me” and “online” indicate a growing consumer interest in getting things done locally, in addition to the sustained interest in doing so online.
Let’s shift to the final behavior up for discussion today. Consumers have access to and are using more resources to help them decide what’s the right purchase for them.
They turn to a variety of online resources to help navigate the decision-making journey. Across surveyed markets, 61% of holiday shoppers use five or more channels like search, video, and social media to shop over a two-day period. Despite all of these resources, though, consumers are still hungry for more help. In fact, 45% of U.S. shoppers wish brands would help them shop more efficiently.
Wells: That’s right. Many Americans look for brands that offer helpful products and services. Last year, almost 50% of U.S. consumers said a website or app that makes shopping easier is important to them.
This year, what do you think? Did the numbers increase or decrease?
You guessed it. It increased. That number is up to 60% now.
There’s a big opportunity for brands here, because there are many ways that they can actually deliver on this consumer need. For example, shoppers in the U.S. are increasingly drawn to retailers that have a loyalty or rewards program that makes their shopping experience smoother.
Ciesielski: So today, we’ve talked a lot about what consumers are doing to research and find the best options for themselves. But there’s really a vital role for brands to play in making sure the information is out there for shoppers to easily find.
People are spending way more time in the research phase than in the actual buying phase right now. Forty-four percent of consumers say they spend more time planning their in-store shopping trips, and 50% say that they spend less time browsing in-store.
Wells: Well, friends, today we chatted through some really interesting findings from this year and were able to shed some more light as to why the consumer journey is so complex and nuanced right now.
That’s all for this episode of The Insights Jam. We’re glad you could join us. Please be sure to subscribe to the Think with Google channel to stay in the loop when new content drops. See you next time.
Google-commissioned Ipsos Consumer Continuous study, AR, AU, BE, BR, CA, CL, CN, CO, DK, FI, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, MX, NL, NO, PE, ZA, KR, ES, SE, U.K., U.S., ~n=500–1,000 online consumers 18+ per market, Sept. 8, 2022–Sept. 11, 2022.
Google Trends, Worldwide, all categories, Jan. 1, 2023–Jan. 31, 2023 vs. Jan. 1, 2022–Jan. 31, 2022.
Google-commissioned Ipsos Consumer Continuous study, AU, BR, CA, CN, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, KR, MX, ES, ZA, U.K., U.S., ~n=500–1,000 online consumers 18+ per market, July 7, 2022–July 10, 2022.
Ipsos Essentials COVID-19 tracker, AU, BR, CA, CN, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, MX, ZA, KR, ES, U.K., U.S., n=500–1,000 online consumers per market age 18–74 in U.S. and Canada and 16–74 in others, Sept. 8, 2022–Sept. 11, 2022.
Google/Ipsos, AR, AU, BE, BR, CA, CL, CO, DK, FI, FR, DE, IT, MX, NL, NO, PE, SK, ES, SE, U.K., U.S., Holiday Shopping Study, online survey, n=79,338 in-store shopping occasions among online 18+ who shopped for the holidays in the past two days, Oct. 13, 2022–Jan. 4, 2023.
Google Trends, Worldwide, all categories, Jan. 1, 2018–Jan. 1, 2023.
Google/Ipsos, AR, AU, BE, BR, CA, CL, CO, DK, FI, FR, DE, IT, MX, NL, NO, PE, ES, SE, U.K., U.S., Holiday Shopping Study, online survey, n=67,201 online 18+ who shopped for the holidays in the past two days, Oct. 2022–Jan. 2023.
Google/Ipsos, U.S., Shopping Tracker, n=1,230 18+ who conducted shopping activities in the past two days, Dec. 30, 2022–Jan. 6, 2023.
Google-commissioned Ipsos Consumer Continuous study, U.S., n=1,000 online consumers 18+ per market, Feb. 6, 2023–Feb. 10, 2023.
Google-commissioned Ipsos Consumer Continuous study, AU, BR, CA, CN, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, KR, MX, ZA, ES, U.K., U.S., ~n=500–1,000 online consumers 18+ per market, Feb. 6, 2023–Feb. 10, 2023.
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