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Purchase Intent: The Journey from Fauxsumer to Consumer

“When I first moved to New York and I was totally broke, sometimes I would buy Vogue instead of dinner. I felt it fed me more.”
~ Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

For fans of Sex and the City, there’s no denying the emotional connection between Carrie Bradshaw and her Manolos. And fashion. And, well, shopping in general. A typical episode of the show involved brunch, shopping, and cocktails (Cosmos of course) with the girls. It was rare to see an episode where Carrie wasn’t agonizing over a pair of shoes that she really couldn’t afford (she nearly always bought them anyway).

So why does Carrie spend $700 on a pair of strappy sandals from Manolo when she could be getting a very similar product for a fraction of the price at DSW? Sales guru Zig Ziglar once famously said, “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” With the rise of the Fauxsumer, this emotional connection has never been more alive or more present in our everyday lives. Unfortunately for retailers, a genuine emotional connection can be difficult to achieve, and even more difficult to convert.

The real question retailers should be asking themselves is ‘How do I connect to my consumer on an emotional level?’ not ‘How do I get them to purchase?’. Asking for a purchase before the emotional connection has been made is much like asking a girl you just met to come home with you after she’s had more than a few cosmos. Sure, sometimes it may work, but will it turn into a long lasting, meaningful relationship? Probably not.

Building a genuine relationship and developing that emotional connection is hard, and even harder to tie to a ROI, but brands that are able to do it are ensuring their survival well into the future. Brands that are not… well… we all saw what happened to RadioShack.

There are 3 key ingredients in true relationship building between a brand and a consumer. None of these are easy, but all are critical.

Drive Engagement

Not just on your commerce site, not just within your social media, not just through your marketing – develop rich content to engage with her everywhere and make her movements from channel to channel seamless. It would never occur to her that different teams within your brand are managing different aspects of your communications with her. Speak in one voice across all channels, and develop strategies that support the goals and objectives of each channel. As you do so she’ll engage back and organically contribute to this wealth of content you’ve created, and then the ROI will come. But don’t just take my word for it:

  • 70 percent of consumers prefer getting to know a company through content rather than advertisements
  • Emotionally connected customers are 4x as likely to shop with your brand first and 50 percent are more likely to become your advocate
  • Emotionally connected customers make 12.4 in-store visits per year as opposed to 6.8 visits by customers who are merely satisfied

Personalize Experiences

When Carrie Bradshaw walks into a shoe store on 5th Ave in NYC, the sales associate knows her immediately. He remembers what she bought last time, her shoe size, and even her favorite local cocktail lounge. Today this type of interaction is rare online, although the data is available. Today, Carrie would bounce between the brand’s website, store, social media, and many other types of digital content before she’s ready to commit to a purchase.

For a brand to truly build that relationship, they need to connect the dots among channels (both digital and physical) and tie together the data points to deliver relevant, contextualized experiences wherever she may be. Brands need to understand:

  • Who is she? What are her likes and dislikes, and how does she perceive my brand today?
  • Where is she going? What is she doing with the digital experiences that I control (e.g. site, social media) and experiences I don’t (e.g. magazine sites or competitor sites)?
  • Has she purchased my brand before? In-store or online or both? Is she a member of my loyalty program? What has she considered purchasing but hasn’t?

Once brands are able to understand all of this and tie it together, they need a strong strategy designed to engage her further and support her purchase path. Brands that are able to crack the code on personalization are seeing anywhere from a 7.8 percent increase in conversions to up to 21 percent increase.

Deliver on your Brand Promise. Everywhere.

Once you have all of this beautiful and engaging content, be sure to integrate it into your commerce site to support her purchase path. Once she’s decided she’s ready to commit to you, reassure her she’s making the right decision by reinforcing this engagement throughout her current purchase journey and into her next one. Nearly 70 percent of consumers consider shopping a form of entertainment. Support this need throughout all of your touchpoints and when the fauxsumer is ready to convert, she’ll think of you first.

“The fact is, sometimes it's really hard to walk in a single woman's shoes. That's why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun.”
~ Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

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