Whether consumers shop online or offline – or both – is totally at their discretion. They could either be “webrooming” (researching products online before making an offline purchase) or “showrooming” (viewing products in a store, but purchasing online after research). Integration of digital devices and offline retail is happening right from product awareness, research, discussion to product consideration and even advocacy. And with social platforms poised to become the next e-shops, the path to purchase is going to become more complex and intense.
In this crowded competitive landscape, e-commerce brands are aggressively using all possible media touch points to be in front of and engage with their target consumers on a 24/7 basis. The usual focus in this interaction is the product. But the context has to be larger than just the product to connect the target audience with the brand. A meaningful and purposeful connection between brand and consumer depends on relevant content.
Consumers engage only with content that is personally relevant to them, their purpose and their passions. E-commerce players like Myntra, Jabong, and American Swan, for example, are already engaging with their consumers about fashion by creating look-books, blogger events, fashion shows and celebrity associations. This new consumer desire for relevant content has implications on their purchasing behaviour. In this era of Omnichannel retailing and more evolved consumers, the path to purpose — the connection the consumer makes with a brand and its personality as a result of an effective content marketing approach — is being seen as the next step of the traditional path to purchase.
(Originally published in Brandz Top 50, Most Valuable Indian Brands 2015 by Millward Brown and WPP)