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Reimagining Consumer Journey with ‘Presence, Engagement, Transaction’

How amazing do you find it when you realize that most of our purchases these days start off with a simple digital search ? Well, that’s the power of technology and devices that has only strengthened over the years. Almost no other approach strikes us, apart from throwing the requirement into a digital search bar. From a time when the research on making a purchase-decision would be an uphill task to all the information being available at one’s fingertips, consumers have come a really long way.

According to the 2022 Retail Marketing Guide, released by Google, people are shopping across google more than a billion times a day, and 48% of consumers get inspired to make purchases when they are online. Hence, managing the digital footprint of your brand is not only a great idea but also a critical parameter to help you improve revenue opportunities. Precisely keeping such channels in mind, capabilities such as online Business Listings have become popular.

Fundamentally, not only has the modern-day consumer evolved but also have their purchase journeys changed. They discover a product/service, engage with it, and that leads to a purchase. From an enterprise standpoint, let’s refine it a bit more and look at it as ‘Presence’, ‘Engagement’, and ‘Transaction’ (P.E.T).

So what’s this jazz all about? Let’s break it down

Presence - A Robust Business Listing

In the simplest of terms, any business needs to be present, for more good things to happen to it. In recent years, it is primarily the digital presence that has helped businesses find greater prominence. And this doesn’t end there. Businesses need to offer the kind of information that is essential for consumers to easily access them, for potential interactions to follow. This is where accurate business listings can be useful.

Google’s 2022 Retail Marketing Guide reports that 31% of consumers research online before making a purchase, and 41% of shoppers go to Google while discovering a new brand. According to some of our recent surveys, almost 90% of respondents search for a brand’s location near them. Moreover, 72% of respondents said that sometimes digital Maps take them to the wrong business locations. As internet-influenced behaviour continues to rise, it is important to ensure error-free digital business listings. This can prevent instances of disappointment in the consumer journey.

For brands to stay relevant and discoverable, they need to publish updated and accurate information on digital Business Listings and across various search engines. The more efficient the published information, the better the search rankings of the physical locations, and the easier it is for the consumer to connect. It, however, is critical for brands to maintain hygiene and ensure the effective management of their Business Listings and other furnished information, as they continue to strengthen their online existence. With this sort of hygiene in place, businesses are more discoverable on digital maps and rank better on Map packs.

In fact, being discoverable on reliable search engines such as Google and having top rankings, automatically starts to build a trust-bridge between consumers and brands.

Engagement - Knowing consumers, to assist and assure them

Now that consumers have found your Business Listings on Google or other search platforms, let’s look at the next step.

Whether digitally or physically, your consumers would want to know more about the outlet, its products/services, the schemes and benefits it offers, and any other piece of information that may be useful in their decision-making. This is a critical component of this last-mile relationship between consumers and brands, and brands are increasingly focusing on the consumer’s experience at this point. So whether automated chats that can interact with consumers and share relevant information or sales folks engaging with consumers during physical store-visits, this part of the consumer journey is a high-voltage point that holds the potential to influence the final stage of this journey.

We must have heard about how crucial communication is. The same is the case here. It has been observed that a growing number of communication avenues such as the following play an important role:

-Responding to online reviews – helps consumers know that you acknowledge their feedback, builds credibility, and gives the consumer an assuring reason to associate with you.

-Providing the facility to chat – it helps consumers to interact directly with your business and get answers to their queries offering convenience and a positive experience.

According to the polls conducted by us, quick response to reviews/queries helps improve consumer experiences. Almost 87% of respondents expected the brand to respond to queries/ concerns within 24 hours.

So whether through reviews or chat or feedback forms or even in-store visits, the more you offer avenues to exchange thoughts, the stronger your consumer-connect and brand recall. This makes features like Business Listings all the more relevant.

Transaction - Winning your trust

So, we have arrived where we were trying to eventually arrive all this while. This is where your brand will find the money-matters. Once the previous two stages have made the consumer feel that he/she is in a comfortable space and is happy about her association with the brand, the chances of a sale go up significantly. Industries such as Automobiles and BFSI have already seen a 20% contribution to their top-line revenue through conversations taking place in this last stage of the P.E.T-based approach. In fact, with times changing and a growing focus on data and technology-driven tactics, brands are putting a strong emphasis on the revenue potential in this channel. While there traditional high-level marketing activities continue to be a part of the consideration set for brands, a lot of returns is driven by this last-mile connectivity. Consumers who are a part of this journey and are eventually making purchases are called “Bottom of the funnel” consumers in marketing terms. However, one needs to remember that productive outcomes in this final stage are possible only when the previous 2 stages have convincingly moved the consumer forward in his/her purchase journey.

This is the kind of consumer journey that brands are looking at more and more. At every point, it is tangible and aligned with result-oriented outcomes. If there are gaps in this journey diluting the consumer’s experience, those can be easily identified and efficiently plugged, transforming the negative experience into a positive one. From the consumer’s perspective as well, the moment they discover a product/service and credible information about accessing it, they find greater confidence in moving forward. Once that discovery happens and the initial trust-bridge is built, the engagement channels, whether physical or digital, strengthen the consumer’s knowledge and confidence in the product, eventually enabling sales. For brands that have physical outlets, the digital journey powers the physical journey at a large scale, fueling business growth at the location level.

So what next? A thought-through action plan

A well-defined digital strategy will keep your consumers connected to you. With the buzz around ‘Hyperlocal’ and Google Business Listings continuing to grow, enabling and managing consumers at storefronts will be increasingly governed by end-to-end digital touchpoints. It is no surprise, that the more you emphasize consumer experience and a value-based relationship, the greater the chances of consumers building a journey with you. A journey to not only reach you and make ad-hoc purchases but also to end up showing brand and store-level loyalty which every business desires.

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