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Finding opportunities along your consumers’ path to purchase

We are all charged with trying to find growth for our organizations. So what is the best way to find those opportunities?

Leverage the consumer journey using a framework to organize your thinking for a product or service.

We recommend using the consumer journey to identify opportunities or challenges throughout four stages. We like to think of them as the four “A’s” including:

Awareness: In this stage in the consumer journey it is important to understand what brands they are passively aware of and what are the sources of awareness.

Affinity: Here your focus is on understanding what brands are being added or subtracted to their consideration set and what is influencing the evaluation of these brands.

Acquisition: In this stage the consumer makes a brand selection at the point of purchase. Here it is important to understand the drivers of purchase.

Advocacy: After the brand experience and based on the performance of the brand, the consumer shares their perceptions of the brand with others and uses the information to inform their next consumer journey. It is important here to understand what perceptions the consumer has and how they are being shared.

Conduct in-home visits and shop-alongs. Experience their journey in real time.

In order to understand the first two stages of the journey, it is useful to do in home visits. Here you can talk to your consumer about different brands they buy and the reasons why they use them. It is good to conduct the interview in their home so that you can actually see what brands they are buying versus the respondent trying to recall.
In this stage you can also get a read on the fourth stage: their perceptions of their experience with the brand, what they are saying to others, and whether they plan to re-purchase.

Shop-alongs are an effective way to understand the factors that influence the consumers purchase decision at the time of purchase.
We recommend that a portion of the shop-along be “free shopping” so that you can observe the respondent in the environment. The remainder can structured around specific questions the interviewer poses that address the key knowledge requirements of the study.

Smart phones or hand held audio-video equipment are the best options to capture the respondent feedback because they are subtle and non- threatening to the respondent.

Map Findings: draw out implications

Once you have the respondent’s feedback in hand, map out the findings on a large sheet of paper or several large post it sheets.

Draw a line with four points, representing the four stages of the consumer journey and map the findings along the stages. Capture strengths, weaknesses, barriers and opportunities. From there prioritize the opportunities that will have the most impact for your organization.

By leveraging the consumer journey framework and prioritizing the opportunities you can create a clear strategy for success.

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