The Buying Game

Orange Marie-NeigeMarie-Neige Rancurel, head of international research at Orange Advertising, explains how mobile is shaking up the path to purchase.

The path to purchase has been evolving as a result of technological advancements in mobile devices, making it a necessity for marketers to adapt their strategies.

Recent independent research from Orange backs this up, finding that mobile is playing a pivotal role in overhauling people’s purchasing habits. But the key question is: how can marketers best take advantage of this? Here are our six top tips…

Don’t underestimate mobile
It’s vital that marketers pay particular attention to users exploring brands or products on mobiles and tablet devices, as these devices have become the natural on-ramp for consumers to access key purchase information, as well as the last touchpoint before purchase.

Orange’s Exposure research, which focuses on the changing media habits of users in the UK, France and Spain, found that 25 per cent of mobile multimedia users in the UK are already reaching for their mobile first during the research phase of making a purchase and returning to it again before making the final decision. Therefore, it is imperative that marketers understand the pivotal role that mobile is now playing in the purchasing cycle.

Unleash mobile’s potential
With the proliferation of smartphones, and with many consumers now using superfast 4G services with its greater bandwidth and faster loading times, the opportunity to engage consumers and grab attention with richer and more extensive advertising content is greater than ever before.

The importance of providing mobile-optimised sites that are tailored to the leading operating systems of iOS and Android as a minimum will not disappear. Delivering the right format will make websites easier to navigate and maximise the ability to deliver exciting and rich media content. Most importantly, the overall customer experience of your brand will be greatly improved.

Guide users across devices
Today, the path to purchase involves multiple touchpoints, both online and offline. As consumers are frequently using more than one type of device to access information when researching products or brands, it is important that marketers view the various touchpoints as complementary and not competing against one another.

It is also important to deliver a consistent and seamless experience to consumers when delivering campaigns across multiple touchpoints. This can be achieved by specifically optimising websites for smartphones, tablets and laptops/desktops, offering different levels of information depending on the device being used, but also, guiding the consumer across devices by creating core design elements they will find familiar across platforms, creating a seamless experience.

Take a tailored approach
With the typical research process during the path-to-purchase taking at least two weeks according to the Orange Exposure report, marketers must understand how consumers’ behaviour is influenced by product type in order to achieve the ideal split between paid, owned and earned media.

Typically, consumers will conduct research on a variety of touchpoints, providing opportunities for them to be exposed to different types of marketing along the way. An effective approach is to target the right media for the product type – for example both paid and earned media is particularly effective for high tech purchases; owned media is particularly important for automotive purchase, with the manufacturer’s own website or app a key touchpoint for potential purchasers. Similarly, understanding which devices are used during this process is key, with, for example mobile particularly important for the research of entertainment products.

Retain attention through mobile
Boosting engagement across platforms is vital, and one of the best ways this can be achieved is by capturing attention, using mobile at the critical start and end of the path to purchase. Push campaigns that boost interactivity in the early stages, so as to fuel initial interest in a product or service and drive loyalty, are particularly effective. Vouchers and promotional offers delivered through mobile will further drive loyalty and influence the end purchasing decision.

Once this initial interest has been achieved, and the consumer is conducting deeper research, perhaps on a tablet, richer, more detailed content can be provided.

Equally important is being proactive about the trend towards showrooming as a precursor to the final purchase. Advertisers could consider leveraging mobile to gain control over showrooming, working with retailers to offer free wi-fi in store and providing a landing page that demonstrates their products or offers a discount.

Be aware of changing attitudes brought about by 4G
The Orange Exposure research revealed that attitudes are changing in several areas. 4G users are showing a greater interest in advertising on mobile and tend to have a better perception of it than 3G users. No doubt fuelled in part by faster load times, this growing acceptance represents an opportunity for advertisers to engage with a receptive audience. Additionally, mCommerce activity is higher among 4G users, and this growing propensity to purchase more on mobile, particularly high value products, is an opportunity that advertisers must seize.

As marketers adapt their strategies to reflect advances in mobile technology, there are a new set of tools available which must be used in order to stay competitive. It is imperative to be aware not only of what these tools are and how they can be used, but also, how consumer behaviour is changing, and how marketing tactics should be adapted as a result. The guidelines above should provide some insight into how marketers can best take advantage of mobile technologies, in order to succeed at engaging with consumers during the path-to-purchase.

Marie-Neige Rancurel is head of international research at Orange Advertising