The online customer journey is fueled by decisions for consumers. What brand do they choose? What’s their price range? Is the life expectancy of the product worth the higher price? Understanding the mindset of consumers is the next step for brands to connect with their audience and increase sales.

How are consumers doing research for their purchases? Check out these major trends when considering your customer’s purchasing journey.

Checking Reviews

Of course, consumers want to check reviews and see what people are saying about the products they’re considering. They can see these on Google, Yelp, and so on. Some consumers make a fun adventure out of their business reviewing. The big one is Google because they find it when they are searching for products or services. What are they looking for? Lots of reviews (for a sufficient sample size) and stories from people to help paint them a picture of what purchasing the product or service might be like before laying out the investment.

Brands need to do their best to not only accumulate more positive reviews from happy customers but also work to minimize the impact of negative reviews. Damage control is a huge part of changing the whole perspective of the review, and in some cases can help customers change their reviews. Brands do this by offering a personal, one-on-one discussion about their experience and what they can do to resolve the problem. Now THAT’S customer service!

Following Social Media Accounts

When it comes to long-term satisfaction, consumers look to who provides the best customer service. Social media has become the go-to outlet for customer service because of convenience and people want things instantly in the digital age.

Many brands have Twitter and Facebook accounts made specifically for customer service. Airlines, for instance, are known to have extensive support for social channels, as people often have issues with missed flights that need to be attended to immediately. This has become the digital alternative to phone operators, which have drastically changed the impressions people have about timely customer service.

Chatbots are becoming a huge part of the buyer’s journey for brands. Automated messenger bots assist visitors as they land on brands’ website or select social media pages to cut costs and ensure a fast and quality experience for consumers.

Newsletters

Despite the misconception that email is dying, there is compelling evidence that it is growing more than ever. Why? Because people use email for work, therefore rely on it for communication.

The biggest incentives for subscribing to newsletters are exclusive promotions and important news updates. As the digital age continues to evolve, consumers are learning to adapt to marketing strategies for long-term purchases. How do they do this? They see an ad and decide it’s something they might want in the future, so they subscribe to their newsletter and wait for a deal, then jump on their opportunity to get what they want at a price that makes them feel like they won.

This is, of course in addition to the constant comparing of pricing. Consumers are highly likely to subscribe to newsletters of not only their favorite brands, but also their competitors to see if they could get a better deal, or potentially a price match if they can prove that someone else is offering a deal at a better rate.

Trusting Influencers

A trusted source cannot be bought. Or can it? Influencers from a number of industries will review products on their websites, forums, blogs, YouTube channels, and so on. Some thought leaders are considered to be more genuine than others and consumers will rely on what they have to say (or at the very least consider their opinion in with their final decision).

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality will impact much more than the way people make purchases, it will change the way people interact with media. They are apart of the content and will view their time as more of an experience. This will change the way brands present their ideas, as well as the way they will present their promotions as well as the consumer’s purchasing journey.

As top Virtual Reality companies continue to grow, look for more video content surrounding the “feel” and “experience” of the brands that are executing their marketing campaigns. This will change the way consumers interact with brands and experience their merchandise the retail way.

Consumers will find their merchandise for the ultimate retail experience. Also, keep in mind that people will associate your brand with the influencers you work with, so be careful who you decide to partner with.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is not only here but is in many of our homes. Voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, the Google Home and many more are helping consumers navigate the web in search for more information. Voice search is already becoming more competitive as it moves in as a niche search platform, which is causing brands to adapt.

The same way people have looked to their mobile devices to make more purchases, they will look to Artificial Intelligence as they get more comfortable. Local search campaigns will likely see the most business from this specific platform.

Secure Mobile Payment

Data is becoming a bigger concern among consumers and they want to secure transactions, such as edi solutions. So enabling more secure landing pages and ordering process will help prevent bounces and increase conversion rates.

While some users will rely on personal methods such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, others will like to avoid having all their information in one place. This audience (Late Majorities and Laggards) will be the primary targets of this strategy.

Conclusion

Business occurs in the future, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and know the next moves of your potential customers. Paying attention to technology is imperative as it will affect the way customers will interact with brands on a daily basis. Keep in mind that these trends are always changing, so don’t get too comfortable when deciding on your final strategy. So follow these steps and make sure to keep yourself one step ahead of your customers for 2019!