Path-To-Purchase: The Digital Connection

The practice of shopper marketing has changed dramatically during the past three years. With the explosion of digital, shoppers in general are more likely to research your brand long before they get to the point-of-purchase. So when it comes to Moms, you can bet digital marketing is making a huge impact on the way Moms shop in-store.

For today's Moms, there are two critical factors radically changing their traditional path-to-purchase: 1) their growing dependence on Web-enabled mobile devices (or smartphones) and 2) the need to stretch the family dollar in these tough economic times.

While the "first moment of truth," as Procter & Gamble began defining it nearly 10 years ago, was at the shelf, savvy marketers today know they need to engage Moms long before they enter the store. Regardless of a Mom's socioeconomic standing, she is looking for ways to save money. They are going into the store more prepared than ever by visiting retailers' and manufacturers' web sites to print coupons, check pricing or look for special deals.



Couponing Today

Moms are now turning more often to non-traditional forms of couponing. The use of money-saving options, such as printable coupons found online, paperless coupons downloaded to a loyalty card, and mobile coupons, has risen significantly in the past year alone. An NCH Marketing Services report indicates that more than 45 million consumers have used digital coupons.

The good news for marketers is that digital coupons offer greater flexibility, and they are proving to be more effective. While average redemption rates for traditional couponing hover anywhere from 0.5 to 2%, redemption rates for digital couponing are much higher. A recent Kantar Media report indicates that digital coupon redemption rates were up over 80% in the first half of 2010.

Reaching Moms

One way marketers can start the conversation with Moms is through social media. But, research shows that Moms want more from their preferred brands than just conversation. They want usage tips, recipes, new product reviews, special offers and price breaks. And more than anything else, they want solutions.

Moms are among the more time-pressed shoppers, so you can lose them very quickly if you make them wade through irrelevant information online. Make it easy for her to find what she's looking for, and keep the content fresh, so she has a reason to come back. And, one thing we learned through our own research is that Moms tend to view marketers who ask them to "opt in" as more trustworthy, and in many cases, more valuable.

The End Result

What's the takeaway? The path-to-purchase begins much sooner than it did even just a few years ago. While a brand's performance at shelf is still critical when it comes to final purchase decisions, digital marketing is having a significant impact on the path. By the time our Moms reach the store aisle, they have more information, making them more confident in their purchase decisions. Chances are, if you haven't engaged them before they get to the store, you've probably already lost those sales.

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