I was recently explaining the idea of an in-home interview to my husband. “You would never let someone into the house!” he replied, knowing that I would be skeptical, at best, if invited to participate in one. However, I would agree to participate in this type of immersive research. Even though I am unabashedly, undeniably and thoroughly biased, I believe that helps me understand why some of the busiest professionals working in some of the most sensitive and regulated industries agree to do the same.
Yes, financial advisors are busy. Yes, doctors have to be careful about what they say and share. Yet both are willing to meet with us at their offices and talk for rather lengthy periods of time. There are certain industries—financial services and healthcare being two prominent examples—where compliance concerns, traditional thinking and precedent can falsely limit the qualitative method possibilities.
Earlier this year, we provided a sneak preview into our Omnichannel Brand Index (OBI) at a couple of conferences. I’m glad to report that our approach was well received and has helped some of our clients solve part of the conundrum that is the omnishopper journey. More and more of our clients are looking to innovative research to understand this complex consumer, inextricably linked to the consumer and shopper journey that is already one of the most intricate of research problems. To be clear, the omnishopper journey adds a layer of complexity that pushes the boundaries of traditional research methodologies. Furthermore, traditional purchase funnels and loyalty loops do not always take into consideration the holistic understanding of the person making the decision, and this phenomenon is exacerbated when one of the guardrails we can use in our purchase evaluations is technology.
Our own research into the omnishopper journey has defined a clear decision-making ecosystem that takes into account the person—and not just the consumer—making the decision. Cultural beliefs, demographics and lifestyle choices form the gateway to our purchase decisions and these inform who the person becomes at the point of sale.
If you’re struggling to untangle the omnishopper journey web, this article will:
Reveal the three core needs of the omnishopper, as we believe it is impossible to understand one without the other
Share a few of the brands and sectors that omnishoppers believe are setting the standard, according to our self-funded research
Outline some of the research techniques you can use to untangle the web that is the omnishopper journey
Editor’s note: Amanda Ciccatelli is a content marketing & social media strategist at Informa, New York. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “Insights as a Vehicle for Influence: Digital Reinventing Retail.”
Amanda recently sat down with Paul Donagher, managing director of the Consumer & Retail division at Market Strategies International, to discuss how omnichannel has impacted retail, how shoppers are shaping the future of retail and why it’s important to link digital and physical shopper marketing.
How many times have you been on an airplane waiting to take off when the announcement comes on that there’s a ‘minor repair’ to be fixed that will delay departure by 20 minutes? Chances are we’ve all been there, but we typically view this as a minor inconvenience, especially if we make our connections and arrive at our final destination safe and sound. Or, what if your baggage doesn’t arrive? That may be a bigger pain point but perhaps still tolerable, if it gets delivered. When inconveniences are resolved quickly, most customers remain loyal to the airline—especially if they have status—but, it does influence your overall perception.
For brands, these pain points represent opportunity. We often put most of our attention and goal setting based purely on ratings of performance metrics for areas we do or don’t do well. Yet how often do we look through a different lens to identify specific moments of truth that represent problem areas for improvement?
To design a more robust customer experience (CX) research program that measures interactions across all aspects of the consumer journey, brands need to combine the power of a modeling key driver analysis with a “Things Gone Wrong” analysis to get a strategic view of what to do more of and less of.
Announcing Market Strategies’ Omnichannel Brand Index
Omnichannel marketing—the use of multiple channels in a customer’s shopping experience—has developed at a furious rate as brands develop their strategies around ever-increasing marketing opportunities. Whether using traditional methods for brand differentiation or venturing into mobile, social and online channels, brands have to strategize, measure and evaluate their activities to maximize ROI. We have found that at these three stages in particular, properly designed and executed market research is the killer app for omnichannel marketing.
By the time this is published, it is very likely that I will have pre-ordered my Apple Watch. It will be tough to decide between the relatively modest Sport version, or its big sister, simply named Watch. (I am not the target audience for the multi-thousand dollar Edition.)
The recent record-setting Kickstarter campaign for the second-generation Pebble smartwatch was also very tempting. But, in the end, I canceled my $189 pledge for a Pebble Time as I am still enjoying my first-version Pebble and, like many gadget hounds, I am craving ‘new and different.’
Market Strategies has spent a lot of time researching ways to illuminate the Consumer Journey. It has been a fun ‘journey’ for us as researchers, as it challenges us to think about different ways to bring the consumer to life. To us, this phrase means understanding the consumer in as many ways and in as much detail as possible–particularly important when something as complex as a Consumer Journey can lead to loyalty or switching behavior.