The buyer’s journey is the path a potential customer goes through before making a purchase. For several years, it was defined as a linear funnel where consumers went through different stages, such as discovery, interest, consideration and finally purchase.
Mass media was used to boost sales, and demographic data served as a basis to estimate demand and guide advertising campaigns. Consumers had a more passive role in the process and were heavily influenced by advertisements and professionals placed at the point of sale.
This scenario has changed completely today. Decision making is influenced by multiple points of contact, and the journey, despite still having the same funnel stages, is no longer linear.
It is increasingly common for customers to get to a store (physical and/or virtual) knowing exactly what they want. The old saying, ‘I’m just browsing’, so commonly heard in physical stores, is now part of e-commerce too – literally. In both cases, if there is any kind of friction (a broken link or an over-the-top seller), the journey is interrupted.
Figure 1 shows how modern consumers spend much more time researching a brand or product before making a decision:
This data shows that conversion can occur at any time during the journey and that it’s never the same: consumers behave differently in every purchase.