The digital big bang

How has the rise of digital solutions affected consumer journeys?

Thanks to the rise of mobile connectivity and digital technology, the way that consumers engage with brands, products and services has changed.

No longer are sales the result of clean-cut funnels; due to the multitude of touch-points and devices available today, they can be anything from an immediate eCommerce conversion to a lengthy journey of nurturing via inbound marketing. It's a two-way street of contact, where customers not only react to the channels available, but expect modern services in a modern age.

In the words of this Forrester study, commissioned by Google:

"Consumers can now interact with brands and products at any moment, from any device. This shift in behaviour has fractured the customer journey path to purchase into a collection of user-initiated, intent-driven actions.”

Companies need to recognise that the buying landscape, and the habits of customers, evolve in pace with emerging solutions. If they don't stay apace, they will alienate potential leads.

The digital boom

We aren’t sedentary web browsers operating from clunky PCs over dial-up connections anymore - the on and offline worlds have merged, and we've got solutions at our fingertips which let us access the web however we want, wherever we want, wherever we want.

The process of ordering a takeaway, for example, is different to what it was five years ago. It doesn’t usually go off friend referrals, finding a contact number in a phone book, and paying by cash anymore. Customers may carry out research about places to eat via a third-party app, place their order using an online booking system, then settle the bill with contactless technology, across a blend of devices.

In other words, platforms and user journeys are more diverse and intuitive than ever before - and as our exposure to smart solutions grow, so too do our expectations.

Companies need to provide the things their archetypal users want, where they want them, or they'll risk losing customers. If a takeaway doesn’t offer online ordering and payment, for example, the user may go somewhere else, because it’s much easier than going to the cashpoint.

The trick is to keep an eye out for - and stay abreast of - the latest innovations, expose yourself to a breadth of entry points and provide all the relevant functions to make the sales process as easy as possible for all your types of users.

User design isn’t enough

Having an accessible website that responds to the latest range of devices is vital, but not necessarily enough, if you want to satisfy - and exceed - user expectations.

With technology developing at such a rapid rate, it’s all about planning for the future by looking at ways to tie your services up with the technology your customers are using. In other words, you need to ensure you're in the right place at the right time, delivering smart user experiences - not playing catch up.

To do this, get to grips with user behaviours, desires and interactions, then define your web and offline experiences using this information. Ask yourself questions, which keep you thinking from a customer perspective, such as:.

  • Are your competitors offering additional functionality that could please your users?
  • Could you improve conversions on your diverse platforms by simplifying your digital processes?
  • Could you syndicate technology within your offline environment to improve engagement rates and drive more web-based sales?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, improving your digital services or touch points might be just the thing you need to springboard your brand into the twenty-first century and help it continue to satisfy user journeys in the long-run.

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