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Closing the Deal: What Matters Most in a Purchase Decision?

“So I buy it. The most perfect little cardigan in the world. People will call me the Girl in the Gray Cardigan. I’ll be able to live in it. Really, it’s an investment.”
~ Rebecca Bloomwood, Confessions of a Shopaholic

For Rebecca Bloomwood, the path from fauxsumer to consumer was short, nonexistent even. Every item was a necessity and credit card bills were something meant for the trashcan. For those of us who live in the real world, however, the decision to purchase anything typically requires much more consideration than Rebecca used.

As retailers, our mission is to eliminate as many barriers to buying as possible to create a smooth transition from consideration to purchase. Brands that have built a true relationship with their consumers will find this much easier than those who haven’t, but all brands can employ strategies and tactics to remove these barriers and close the deal.

Supporting the Purchase Decision

As a consumer begins to contemplate making a purchase, brands need to do everything in their power to keep that consumer engaged and keep that product top of mind.

In theory, this should be easy on a commerce site, however brands have struggled with even the most simplest of personalization strategies. Basic personalization tactics can keep relevant products and content front and center throughout their browsing experience. While personalizing the site experience with relevant products and categories is nothing new to the world of retail, personalizing the site with relevant content is. As brands get more and more adept at content marketing, they should be using much more sophisticated personalization engines to inject that content throughout the browsing and purchase flow in a way that creates a deeper engagement with the consumer and results in that coveted conversion.

Beyond the .com, brands should be taking those personalized experiences and presenting them to the consumer throughout their digital travels via retargeting. Retargeting is hardly new to retailers, and those who do it well see a 26 percent increase in users who return to their site and complete the checkout process.

Eliminating Barriers

Once the consumer clicks ‘add to cart,’ it’s time to get out of the way. Traditionally this has meant keeping the cart and checkout flow smooth, clean, and free of distractions. In this new world of retail, this must also include facilitating cross-channel buying patterns and desires.

According to Forrester’s North American Technographis Online Benchmark Survey, 95 percent of consumers started shopping online via a smartphone and then continued on a PC. As they move across devices, they expect these experiences to be integrated and seamless, with 68 percent of all Millennials demanding it. If they add to cart on a mobile, they may want to complete the purchase on a desktop. If they add to cart on a desktop, they may want to complete the purchase in-store. And so on and so on.

It’s inevitable that your shopper will add a product to the cart and then walk away. According to the State of Retailing Online report, 63 percent of consumers do this. Don’t think of this as ‘Cart Abandonment.’ Think of it as another step in the journey and continue to try and engage your consumer.

Tesla not only expects this cross-channel purchasing behavior, but they have mechanisms in place to facilitate it. They understand that dropping tens of thousands of dollars on a new car is a big deal, and they expect that the majority of their consumers need help making the final purchase decision. They allow the shopper to begin customizing their new car online, but then encourage a visit to a showroom where they can complete the process with a Tesla expert.

Pursuing the Next Purchase

Your efforts have paid off and the purchase has been made! Now, you need to be sure you recognize this purchase and can tie it back to all of your engagement strategies. Did it happen online or in a store? What were the influential factors and what ultimately closed the deal? Having a full understanding of all of these traditional discrete pieces of data can allow you to continue to engage your consumer by providing valuable content that is relevant to her.

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