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How to understand your customers at all marketing funnel stages

Written by Brett Stephenson
Oct 25

Understanding your customers’ purchasing behaviour is one of the fundamentals of succeeding in the retail sphere. But gaining in-depth insight into these whys and hows can feel like a mammoth mystery, rivalling the hotly-debated topic of whether Donald Trump’s hair is real or not. Hairpieces aside, getting to grips with the ways your customers interact with your product, store and staff is a lot simpler than you think.

The method? Addressing your customers by marketing funnel stage. By gathering data about customer behaviour, along the path to purchase, you can use this information to serve your customers better – and increase sales. Here’s how using the various marketing funnel stages can work in your favour (and that of your customers):

Your customers are already moving through a buying journey – whether you’re cognisant of the fact or not.

A typical buyer’s journey consists of four stages, namely: Awareness, Consideration, Conversion and Delight. While this path to purchase is typically used in the digital marketing of the inbound variety, it’s relevant to the way shoppers make a purchase in a physical store, too. Bear in mind that the speed at which someone moves through this cycle is typically accelerated in a retail space, which means that your staff need to be armed and ready at a moment’s notice.

Not all customers who walk into your store are ready to buy, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore this crucial marketing funnel stage.

First-time visitors are likely at the first marketing funnel stage: Awareness. They’re aware of a pain point or problem and in search of a solution.

Let’s say you’re in the business of selling women’s sports apparel. Sally may enter the store knowing she needs a quality sports bra for running and heads directly to your undergarment section. You'll need to demonstrate the tangible value or qualities of your product, give Sally the information she needs, and build up a rapport. To help Sally find the bra, you could group your sports bra range by exercise type, as well as have a staff member on hand to answer any questions Sally might have when she’s ready to try on a selection.

The second of the marketing funnel stages is Consideration, and this is where your customers weigh up whether they should make a purchase or not.

This is the stage where the onus is on your staff to build a relationship with your customers. And by relationship, we mean provide them with a non-salesy approach, and offer them relevant, valuable advice.

You could have an area where customers try out apparel as if they were playing their sport of choice. A treadmill, yoga mat and some weights in a section of your changing area might be a great way for customers to experience your product firsthand. Alternatively, play a short video on a loop that explains the way a quality sports bra should fit and feel – another means of giving customers the information they need to nudge them towards the till.

At this marketing funnel stage, staffing delegation is crucial. Have enough qualified people on the floor to make your customer’s consideration stage as easy as possible and avoid seeing them head out the door toward your nearest competitor.

The third marketing funnel stage, Conversion, is all about convincing customers that your product is the right solution to their pain point or need.

At this stage of the buyer’s journey, Sally may have found a perfect fit, but is deliberating whether or not she wants to pay for a premium product. Incentives, discounts, competitions or flash-sales can be extremely effective means of converting a browser into a customer.

Whatever marketing method you choose to use here, make sure the customer is aware of the promotion by way of visible in-store signage, a social media campaign or email nurturing program for existing customers.

Your job doesn’t end once a potential customer makes a purchase. If you want to encourage customer loyalty, you need to continue to provide customers with tangible value.

Customer loyalty boils down to a great experience with a brand. Focusing on converting new customers and forgetting about your existing clientele essentially means you’re missing out on repeat business.

During the final marketing funnel stage, your job is to make your customer feel valued. An app, loyalty program or rewards card (not to mention out-of-this-world customer service) are all powerful ways to keep your customers coming back.

Determining which of the marketing funnel stages a customer falls into requires the use of in-store analytics.

Your staff aren’t mind-readers. Use in-store analytics, such as foot traffic software for a deeper understanding of how shoppers are moving around your store.

You may find Sally has, in fact, visited your store previously and spent a considerable amount of time in your undergarment section, then left without making a purchase. This may be due to her not being able to find the right information, unhelpful staff, or a confusing product layout.

By gathering data about the way shoppers are interacting with your store – like their journey around the floor, their dwell time, and whether or not they’re repeat visitors, you can begin to implement marketing campaigns that cater to their unique behaviour in your store.

Make sure you’re equipped with the right data to serve your customers during all of the marketing funnel stages. Find out about our foot traffic software and in store analytics, Blix Traffic, today.

Learn more about Blix Traffic for retail

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