Has the starting point of customer journeys moved?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the blog of Nikki Baird, VP of retail innovation at Aptos. The article first appeared on Forbes.com.
In customer journeys, triggers make consumers aware they have a need. Part of the challenge with customer journeys is that triggers are not well understood.
I hear discussion of customer journey triggers that start with “she sees an e-mail that has a sweater she likes,” but that’s way too late. Waiting until a customer actually opens an e-mail to see what you’ve got is not that far in concept from starting a customer journey with “she walks into a store.” Really? How did she get there? Why did she decide to walk into your store in the first place? How did she end up with your e-mail? Why did she opt in to begin with?
Consumer behavior has shifted towards brands that stand for something. Consumers increasingly want to discover a brand doing something cool and meaningful, and become interested in the brand because of what it stands for as an introduction to the products that it sells. Triggers need to shift from a focus on a buying need to more “values resonance.” If a shopper likes you for what you stand for, they’ll see if they like the products you sell. That gets you on a mental list of companies to start with when researching a product, when that old traditional trigger or need comes around.
Rather than use the term “trigger” it might be more helpful to think of consumer objectives. Working from home, I’m always looking for comfy clothes that can, if matched with the jacket instead of the hoodie, pass for business casual when the need arises. That’s a general background objective. I have no trigger — I don’t “need” clothes in the traditional definition of a trigger as the awareness of a need. But I could be enticed to “want” something very badly, if it helps me achieve my objective.
Ultimately, we seem to have ended up in a place where retailers’ vision for customer journeys has stagnated, while customers have not stood still. Perhaps a new focus on “objectives” over “triggers” will get them back on track.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are triggers that start the customer journey frequently misunderstood and/or oversimplified? Have consumers’ relationships to brands changed in a way that are affecting what sets them off on journeys to purchase?