The path to purchase is not just evolving – it has evolved. How are brands responding? I sat down with long-time friend and business partner John Andrews, for a live stream discussion on the path to purchase, the evolution of retail, and even some inside insights on our Amazon purchasing habits (spoiler alert: John’s a big fan of peanut butter).
If you weren’t able to catch it live, we’ll forgive you this time. You can catch the replay right here, and I’ll be covering the juiciest quotes in this two-part series on our conversation.
Who are we, and why should you listen?
- Ted: We’re consumers ourselves, and that’s why we think we get this stu`We’re practitioners not just of the marketing, content, discussion and conversation side, but we’re actually doing it ourselves. Most of what we write about is on consumer experiences.
- John: Look, I’m a retail geek. I love retail: going in a store, looking at displays, and discovering new things. I worked at Walmart for years, and one of the great things about shopping there is discovery. Oh, there’s a six-dollar toaster – kind of exciting! But it’s also the science, in how people shop, how they find what they’re looking for, and how the retail experience is organized.
How has that retail experience changed?
- John: Think about today…you can order things from your phone or your watch. I order things from my Alexa now using my voice. I was out of peanut butter the other day, so I said “Hey, Alexa, order peanut butter.” I love peanut butter; in case you didn’t know.
- Ted: And a couple days ago, we were together at my house, getting rid of stuff because I’m downsizing to move to Florida. The whole time, we’re talking about: “How do you shop?” I don’t know about you, but I buy [stuff] when I want.
“I thought you were downsizing, Ted. What’s with all the boxes?”
- John: What’s amazing is, the whole time we were there, Amazon boxes kept showing up to your house with one item in it. Ted, wait… you order one item? And you’re like, I ordered one thing because I needed one thing. If I needed a basket of stuff, I’d go to the store.
- Ted: I needed sunglasses, so I ordered sunglasses (the beauty of Amazon Prime free shipping is that it caters to impulse buyers—and thus nets Amazon more orders per customer. A brilliant strategy for enhancing customer experience.).
Pivoting to the big picture, when is ten percent really much more?
- John: People talk about retail today, and they’ll say, “Well, only ten percent of retail is eCommerce.
- Ted: That’s a lot of freakin’ eComm!
- John: Take Walmart sales. Walmart is about eight percent of US Retail, so total eComm is already bigger than Walmart.
So eCommerce is big, and that’s no surprise. Why does it matter?
- John: The ability to unlock how stuff gets to you, rather than you going to get it, is just mind-blowing today.
- Ted: The other side is unlocking how we find and experience products. Digital platforms, social platforms, mobile, or even something like the Samsung 837 downtown, where you can’t even buy anything. It’s a matter of going in, and experiencing their products, knowing that no one is standing on top of you trying to sell you something.
- John: Just let me see the stuff, and at some point along that path, I might decide to buy it.
That gets to the heart of it. And surprise, surprise, Amazon is way out in front.
- John: I saw an amazing stat the other day, that Amazon now has more consumer electronics searches than Google.
- Ted: I don’t know about you, but when I want to research a product, I go to Amazon first. And that leads me to start learning how much Amazon earns just selling advertising (because of all the searches). They are becoming the number one search engine for retail – not yet, but they’re getting there.
- Ted: I mean, just look at the amazing job they’re doing with content. They’re doing an amazing job creating content, because that’s how people purchase things. John, as you and I discuss frequently, Fred Neil, Amazon Global Head of Lifecycle Marketing & BI, totally gets the shift that is taking place. It’s not just the path to purchase, it’s the path to purpose. What are you trying to accomplish when you go into a store or an online retailer? All of these things are making us think a lot more about how people are buying things.
It’s easy to take Amazon’s success for granted, but as a company it has proven that it understands eCommerce – and the consumer’s path to purchase – better than just about everyone else. It’s the content, the reviews, the convenience and the social aspect, all wrapped in a neat, personalized package. In part two, we’ll continue to discuss the path to purchase, the evolution of eCommerce, and why the consumer is at the center of #RetailRelevancy.