By empowering consumers, the mobile and digital revolution has transformed the customer funnel for brands and retailers. Shoppers are using their mobile devices in a variety of ways throughout their shopping journey – for instance, 90% of retail shoppers use their smartphones in stores. They turn to their mobile device to compare prices (54%), search for information (48%), and read reviews (42%) before purchasing a product. As a result, retailers must focus on delivering memorable customer experiences across all stages of the customer funnel. This is key to remaining relevant amid rapid digital and mobile innovation.
The Customer Funnel: Old vs. New
Traditionally, the customer funnel followed a relatively linear progression from Awareness through Interest, Consideration, and Evaluation, culminating in Purchase. Marketers focused on Awareness and Interest to generate leads, and sales teams guided consumers through the rest of the funnel.
Today’s mobile technology has shattered that model. Now customers have done a vast amount of research on your products before they even enter your store (that’s IF they even enter your store). A full 70% of consumers, and 82% of Millennials, seek online opinions before buying.
Our recent study shows how the customer funnel has evolved with the ubiquity of mobile (Mobify Customer Data, April 2015 – March 2016):
- Customers skip stages: 16% of shoppers skipped from Awareness straight to Purchase during their first visit to a retail website.
- Customers enter mid-funnel: 29% bounced from social or other websites to retailers’ websites, where they made a purchase.
- Customers use stages out of order: Their unpredictable journey is due in part to shorter attention spans, which Microsoft attributes to our increasingly digitized lifestyle.
Intense Competition for Customer Experience
Ultimately the changes to the customer funnel are the symptom of a bigger problem. Retailers are no longer competing against only other retailers in customer experience, they’re facing Uber, Snapchat, and Apple. These technology giants are the ones who are setting consumers’ high customer experience expectations – and continuously raising them. These tech leaders are customer experience masters who collect more insightful consumer data and provide more detailed product information across the funnel than a retailer ever could.
Beyond retailers’ competitive pressures, customers now have the power to meld the retail funnel to suit their needs, as their smartphones let them interact with brands whenever and however they want.
By ignoring, or waiting to embrace the new customer funnel, retailers are incapable of meeting customer expectations and they are losing approximately $41 billion US each year due to poor customer experience.
How Retailers Can Adapt
As connected consumers continue to gain more power, retailers need to focus on the experience they deliver in-store and online. Mobile will be among the most powerful communication and engagement channels. Strategically focusing on customer experience and mobile customer engagement can have a positive impact on revenue, as well as conversion rates, customer lifetime value, brand value, and in-store revenue, while reducing acquisition costs and churn.
To dive deeper into the opportunities presented by today’s broken customer funnel, download our Business Case for Mobile Customer Engagement.