Your Customer’s Path to Purchase

path to purchase

Google’s Think Insights includes a fun little tool that looks at the ways different online marketing channels affect the customer’s journey to purchase in different industries.

In the CPG space, for example, the stimulus — the thing that makes people think about buying something — is likely to be a display ad or perhaps a pin at Pinterest. This is the “Oooh — cute shoes!” moment.

The part where the shopper considers the purchase is likely to involve an email communication from the company or some social media. For example, the shopper might ask friends at Facebook whether they’ve ever tried a product, or might look further in Pinterest or YouTube.

The final step online for CPG purchases is search and a visit to the website.

For healthcare, the path is different. Social media is more likely to be the stimulus. Search and website visits are the last step.

Google’s take on the path to purchase is based on some 130 million transactions, so the chances are good that it’s accurate in its broad outlines. How does it apply to your particular customers?

A shopper who’s looking for clothing or home decor products is very likely to look at Pinterest. You’re probably not scoping out veterinarians on Pinterest, though. However, you are very likely to search for health-related information there. If your local vet shows up for you at Pinterest, it will raise him or her in your estimation and cause you to visit the website of the practice. In other words, it’s likely to act as a stimulus for you to think about visiting that vet.

Oh, right, that’s what Google said.

Check out the Customer Journey tools. Are you meeting your customers where they are, when they’re interested in what you have to offer? That’s the key.

2 thoughts on “Your Customer’s Path to Purchase

  1. Great post on meeting customers during their buying journey! Google’s information on ZMOT is also a great resource on this topic and they have some great videos that we’ve found useful at allwebcafe when discussing the buying journey concept with clients.

    For a lot of industries (especially those with longer buying journeys) the Intent process that involves search and website visits can offer a lot of insight about your audience when monitored and tracked correctly. And it seems the new Analytics features that have been rolling out lately are pushing to make that type of data easier to access.

    Thanks again for the post and the Customer Journey tools!

    • Thanks, Alex! Google has found that people are likely to consult an average of 10 sources of information along that journey — fitting with the previous information that people need 5-12 contacts with a message to take action. What if your website turns up all along that path, with reviews, blog posts, social media, and white papers?

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