Skip to main content

The Socialization of the Purchase Process

The purchase process as we know it hasn’t changed. People still need to learn, shop and get support. But through new avenues of digital and human interaction, this process has become more social. Consumers are relying on a community to inform their decisions at every step. Communities have become trusted advisors, and brands have evolved to become facilitators within those communities. Together, the communities and brand facilitators not only help consumers to learn about products, but also to shop and provide support. This socialization has opportunities and challenges for brands. On one hand, a social brand experience creates a trusted environment that benefits the brand with more likelihood to purchase. On the other hand, this environment can also expose any flaws in the brand experience across any touch points.

Businesses have the option to socialize different stages of their purchase process: learn, shop and support. To see how this works, lets look at three brands in the baby category: BabyCenter, Giggle, and Babies “R” Us. Being a new dad, I’ve had the opportunity to experience these brands first hand.


BabyCenter is the place to go to learn about all about babies. They have a vibrant community for different types of people, e.g, first time and second time parents. They have a robust set of frequently updated articles. BabyCenter functions as an education and support resource. In my opinion, Baby center is the market leader for learning.

Giggle, on the other, is a great place to shop and get support. I like their curated selection. I love their store design, which feels more like a nursery and less like a shop. The best part is that when you go to the store, the people are all highly trained and capable of answer all your questions about a wide range of baby care issues and products, from bathing to traveling. They play the invaluable role of problem solvers, helping confused parents through the whole process. They have also socialized the shopping and support stages, enabling consumers to rank, review products and provide advice. While it might not be fair to compare Giggle with Babies“R”Us, Giggle is probably the leader for customer support among baby retailers.

Finally, Babies“R”Us is a frustrating shopping experience for new parents. While they have a broad selection, they provide very little support in the store. It feels like a Walmart for babies. But unlike at Walmart, Babies”R”Us does not offer lower prices versus Giggle. For instance, a Graco Direct Connect monitor with two receivers costs $89.99 at Babies“R”Us and $90.00 at Giggle. Babies“R”Us has also socialized the shopping process. The problem is that Babies“R”Us is not delivering on service. As a result, Babies“R”Us might be the market leaders in “shop”, but not in “learn” or “support.” This also does not necessarily translated into higher profits.

In conclusion, the socialization of the purchase process has redefined the way we look and analyze the band experience. Brands had the opportunity to play different social roles; a trusted adviser, problem solver or just a place to shop. A trusted advisor and problem solver tends not only to gain your mind share, but in the long run it also has a strong influence on you share of wallet.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Aim for Love, Not Likes

Love is an unconditional emotion while like is a more watered-down version of love. Loving someone means that he or she means everything to you while liking someone implies that you are only happy being with that person. Love involves deeper, stronger emotions, while like is more of a tender feeling towards that special someone. In a world of infinite choices, love is everything. Like is a nice to have.  Today, we live in a world of abundance, where people intent to create content surpass their time to consume it. Video content is much easier and cheaper to produce than at any other time in history. YouTube sees 400 hours of video uploaded every minute. Facebook has more than 250,000 status updates in the same span. We could never read and see everything online.  With unlimited possibilities and limited time, we pay sustainable attention to what we love and divided attention to what we like. We spend hours watching Homeland and give our divided attention to our news feed on Facebook. …

Adidas kills TV. Now, let’s debate

The News: Adidas is ditching TV for digital. The company is looking to boost its e-commerce revenues from $1.06 billion in 2016 to $4.25 billion by 2020 — and Adidas wants to use digital channels to get there. The Rationale: Fish where the fish are. Younger consumers don't watch TV anymore. They spend most of their time on their mobile devices. The Controversy: Why do they want to ditch a medium that is allegedly more "critical" to the brand and that generates more sales than digital? Here we have the Debate between TV and digital: Media Consumption TV: People are watching TV now more than ever.  Digital: People are consuming media more than ever, but mostly through digital devices. The Fact: In 2017, people are projected to spend 6 hours on digital – with the majority being mobile devices - while only spending 4 hours consuming television according to the eMarketer forecast. Younger viewers watch 2.5 times more internet video than TV. Consumers aged 13-24 watch 12.1 hours …

Winter and Summer in Adland

It is winter in Adland.  We have moved from a world of scarcity to a world of abundance and algorithms.  We have lost the power of influence. Trust has been severely damaged.  Consumer attention is the new bottleneck. We no longer decide who sees us. Instead, we get picked.  30 second is not enough anymore. We need to take consumers through a scenic journey to create a long lasting relationship.  Everyone is a publisher. It is easier than ever to create, but harder than ever to make a hit.  The impulse to make has far outrun the desire to consume.  New forces have emerged in the form of sophisticated algorithms.  A new model has surfaced called "pay per play,” which scored everything we do on relevance to feeding the machine. It decides what gets picked, when, and where, based on extreme relevancy.  Mass media has vanished. Precision and personalization have emerged.  It is winter in Adland. The good days are all long gone.  It is Summer in Adland We now have the power to make bra…