Online Shopping Journey Optimisation with Tailored Communications: Top Tips for CMOs

7 min read

Channel Challenges

Creating meaningful purchasing journeys across multiple channels can be challenging, particularly given that consumers often take an unpredictable pathway, swapping devices and channels at will. More than 50% of consumers use 3 to 5 channels in one product purchase journey. This makes it difficult to detect friction points and harness data to make improvements. Traditional channel journeys need to be adapted to provide consumers with stronger signposting and decision support to optimise sales conversions. These journeys also need to be product-aligned. For basic FMCG, brands usually want to offer the fastest route to checkout. For bigger ticket and aspirational products, businesses can take them on a more creative journey that incites emotional buy-in, and enables multiple channel usage, but always keeps them on-track to purchase. In short, Marketers need to take back control whilst still giving the consumer options.

The Matrix

The Harvard Business Review has proposed a new “customer journey matrix” featuring 4 types of customer journey:

  • Routine
  • Joyride
  • Trek
  • Odyssey

They’re designed to close the gap between traditional strategies and customers’ expectations of an innovative, personalised, automated customer experience (CX). Depending on your sector, products, and customer personas, you can use one or more of the matrix customer journeys to guide your brand communications, optimising the most important touchpoints in each scenario.

Online Shopping Journey Optimisation with Tailored Communications: Top Tips for CMOs

Tailored Communications

This type of cutting-edge online shopping journey requires real-time, promotional, conversational, and transactional tailored communications, via consumers’ preferred channels. It’s important that Marketers examine their own data to help them select the right channels. It’s worth noting though that one billion consumers are messaging brands weekly on WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram to ask for support or interact with stories. Also, businesses delivered 7.5 billion messages over Viber in 2021, making these some of the most popular communication channels. With regard to the data silo challenge, you can integrate and automate your multichannel messaging with a Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS). This centralised approach facilitates sending the right message on the right platform at the right time, breaking down data silos to provide big picture and granular views for personalised and seamless customer journeys.

Habitual Ritual: How to Create Successful Routine Journeys

The Routine journey should be effortless and predictable with high levels of personalisation and automation. It must enable a frictionless path through the traditional 5 purchasing journey stages of awareness, interest, consideration, decision and sale, and beyond that loyalty, repurchasing, and brand evangelism. This is the most likely online shopping journey type for everyday items like basic electronics, toiletries and pet accessories. Think Amazon Basics items with a one-click purchasing option and free next day delivery. It’s also great for purchasing banking products and making hotel and flight reservations. Streamlining by removing unnecessary touchpoints and embedding consistency in the online purchasing experience are key to Routine success.

Viber and WhatsApp are great channels for creating a Routine. Both have a wealth of features enabling end-to-end shopping journeys, including payment capabilities, without the consumer needing to leave the application. They failover to SMS in the event of non-delivery (although SMS is itself an excellent marketing channel for time sensitive transactional messaging and two-way communications like feedback and surveys). While some customers enjoy a single channel experience, you should provide omnichannel options as well. Customers who prefer this type of shopping are likely to purchase 70% more often and spend 34% more.  Also, they may want to use a different channel next time or swap between them, while some may not have WhatsApp or Viber.

Online Shopping Journey Optimisation with Tailored Communications: Top Tips for CMOs

To bring your products into consumers’ awareness you can use WhatsApp “click-to-chat” personalised ads, housed on Facebook or Instagram. These ads lead the prospect to a conversation with your WhatsApp chatbot or a call centre agent. Highly targeted Viber Ads and personalised 1-2-1 and group campaigns via Viber’s customisable promotional messages, are similarly effective.

To assuage pain points like needing detailed product information, Viber conversational messages allow you to answer queries, resolve problems and offer support in real-time. For WhatsApp, placing a “conversation starter” call to action (CTA) button on your website boosts conversions at this consideration stage.  Customers can also join your brand’s Viber or WhatsApp Groups where existing customers can give live product recommendations from within the app itself!

Tackle cart abandonment with checkout reminder messages, discount codes and carousels or videos of cross-sell bundles. Use Viber transactional messages and WhatsApp notifications for frictionless shipping. To increase customer retention, use promotional messages to advertise your loyalty scheme and Groups, creating a VIP club.

Join the Joyride: Make Unpredictable Journeys Fun

The Joyride should be as effortless as the Routine, with the added frisson of unpredictability. It’s suited to products requiring a longer lead nurture time. A classic example is Nike’s coincidentally named Joyride trainer campaign. Nike’s goal was to target non-runner, eSport enthusiasts and inspire them to run. They partnered with gaming provider Ten Cent to embed a Joyride sneaker Augmented Reality feature in their Monster Hunt game, which made players run 20% faster. Gamers unlocked it by collecting blue beads within the game interface and red beads from Nike stores.

The campaign attracted 2.8 million gamers to 200 stores where they could try the Joyride trainer, successfully uniting Nike’s online and offline shopping journeys. This resulted in a 40% increase in Nike’s ranking as the best footwear, 30% rank increase as one of the best brands, and 5% increase for innovation.

To create a Joyride journey, partner with a gaming, streaming, sports media or similar company and create joint advertising campaigns with WhatsApp and Viber. Get creative and produce a set of branded Viber Stickers comprising logos and game characters. Or try colourful Viber lenses and filters so customers can share branded photos and videos in your Groups.

Fashion brands can create unique, customised Joyride personal shopper experiences by partnering with a social media influencer. The influencer can produce quality user-generated content, while the brand creates a self-service AI chatbot with the influencer’s name and persona providing personalised recommendations and a direct link to purchase.

Going the Distance with the Trek Journey

Online Shopping Journey Optimisation with Tailored Communications: Top Tips for CMOs

Effortful and predictable, the Trek may not initially sound appealing, but it’s a rewarding journey and keeps customers returning. Treks involve completing a challenge like utilising a wearable to achieve a fitness goal. The finance sector can also make great use of Treks when encouraging customers to take control of their finances or save for retirement.

Keep consumers engaged in a Trek by goal-posting, offering milestone support, and frequent rewards to motivate and keep up momentum. Here’s where your Push Notification strategy comes into play. At the awareness stage, customer browsing can trigger the push notification opt-in on your website. Once the customer has opted-in you can use push notifications throughout the sales journey from awareness to purchase. You can also use WhatsApp, Viber, SMS and AI chatbot engagement at this pre-sale stage.

Post-purchase, locked screen push notifications will boost customer engagement and retention. Motivate them to return to their fitness training. Congratulate them with text and emojis when they complete a major milestone. Inform them when they’ve unlocked new features.

In finance, the goal and milestone strategy is broadly the same, plus transactional push notifications provide daily account activity updates, security alerts, major account updates, important bank news, and cost of living or other tips.

Move Over Homer: The Odyssey Journey

The Odyssey provides unpredictable adventures that see brands truly partnering with the consumer to offer a personalised transformation. It’s ideal for brands selling self-development, professional development, mental health, and fitness training products. However, this disruptive omnichannel journey offers lessons for all businesses seeking a share of the Experience Economy. If you have an eCommerce store selling home gym equipment, working with partners to provide the necessary transformation support will improve your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and make every customer a brand evangelist. Think fitness videos, personal training, books, live events, a wearable, and a fitness app. Odyssey customers enjoy journey tracking, which you can accomplish with SMS, push notifications, and WhatsApp and Viber messages. MindValley and Tony Robbins are examples of brands doing the Odyssey well.  

An AI chatbot on your website is a great way to optimise Top of Funnel (ToFu) engagement, answer FAQs and escalate complex queries or hot leads to a live sales agent for faster conversion. If customers purchase equipment, invite them to opt into your business messaging with a loyalty discount. Then cross-sell and upsell your full experience with multimedia promotional messaging via WhatsApp and Viber, or with a CTA visit your AI chatbot, which can explain the transformation experience.  Once a consumer is on board, you’ll enable journey tracking with push notifications.

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Summing Up

Although creating customer journeys is challenging, the Routine, Joyride, Trek and Odyssey templates provide a great starting point for marketers. Timely tailored business messages on consumers’ channel of choice bring these journeys to life and enable marketers to gain control, optimise conversions, and lead prospects and customers to purchase faster.

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