The purchase-process is evolving: why?
My simple, indisputable idea: consumers’ behavior is changing, the purchase-process is definitely and significantly different compared to the purchase-process of 10 years ago:
- today only around 90% of sales are completed in-store – so brick-and-mortar stores are essential since it’s in-store that the vast majority of purchases occur
- a hell of a 10% of sales takes place online, through ecommerce websites and mobile apps – so ecommerce is very important, it’s growing like hell, and is still accelerating
What is changing in the purchase-process is the growing number of interactions that now occur out of the traditional, conceptual perimeter of the physical store – I’m referring to interactions that now take place in the digital world:
- before the customer’s shopping trip
- after the customer’s shopping trip
- even during the customer’s shopping trip
The cause of change is:
- the economic downturn – since the economy is morose, consumers are quite afraid to spend and are more value-sensitive than ever
- the contextual explosion of digital technologies – thanks to the proliferation of digital technologies (including social media), consumers are more informed than ever about products, prices, promotions, etc. so their shopping decisions haven’t ever been more savvy
Is the sales-process evolving accordingly…?
Today stores and ecommerce (web/mobile) are typically considered two distinct, absolutely independent channels by retailers; in fact, they:
- have different processes
- involve different people
- employ different tools/technologies
- (often) compete!
Sadly, this independent-and-competing-channels approach is plainly wrong because consumers don’t think in terms of:
- brick-and-mortar store OR ecommerce
- brick-and-mortar store AND ecommerce
The retailers’ ecommerce websites, branded Apps and stores downtown are just touch-points in the overall customer-journey.
Updating the sales-process – a process that is at least 50 years old – is not easy: the new sales-process requires several changes, and the main one is omni-channel integration, a very difficult and complex transformation; omni-channel, as a matter of fact, extensively impacts retailers’:
…all at the same time, all of them very strongly.
Recap: the purchase-process is evolving, it’s definitely and significantly different compared to the purchase-process of the past; accordingly, retailers’ sales-processes need to change too…!