In the US, just 25% of consumers are True Shoppers—those who evaluate all options before they make a purchase. Within the technology sector, that figure is far lower due to the tech ecosystems that create purchase journey barriers by ensuring 90%+ of consumers are Pre-selectors—those who have already decided what they will buy before they need to make a purchase.
Years of conducting path-to-purchase research and analyses highlights the strategic importance of emphasizing upper-funnel brand metrics such as awareness and consideration in the consumer purchase journey. We have found that marketers often over-index their customer growth effort on the conversion portion of the brand funnel, yet only one-quarter of would-be customers ever reach this point—way fewer than you might have thought.
This is because 60% are Pre-selectors, meaning they already have a chosen brand before their need even arises, and a further 15% are Validators, meaning they are likely to do some comparison shopping but only to verify the brand choice they have already made.
In reality, only the remaining 25% of consumers are True Shoppers actively evaluating their options with an open mind when a need arises. This is particularly an issue for categories where the decision to buy:
For the technology sector, home of some of the largest and most valuable global brands, each of these factors applies to the purchase decision process almost all the time. Just think of the last item of technology you purchased. Chances are it was a significant spend and/or a complex decision that you made with high awareness of your brand options and with a healthy dose of brand loyalty.
Right away we know that these factors play a major role in the consumer decision-making process and are particularly present in the technology sector. But there is also a fourth factor that is almost unique to the sector: technology ecosystems.
We are all very accustomed to technology ecosystems. If you’re a Gen Xer like me, you grew up knowing that your dad needed to get a VHS and not a Betamax machine if you ever hoped to rent a movie, and you couldn’t swap PlayStation games with that geeky friend that got the N64 for its “superior graphics.” These largely isolated, incompatible tech ecosystems are still prevalent today—just think of iOS and Android—and they represent a fourth, and perhaps the most significant, barrier to there being meaningful numbers of True Shoppers in the technology sector.
Indeed, while True Shoppers may represent 25% of purchasers in sectors such as retail, automotive or financial services, it is very likely that they are just a single-digit percentage in tech. Consider a few current day examples as proof of this:
Nobody wants multiple devices and services that can’t integrate or communicate with each other or to have to run their smart home off 10 different apps. The appeal of a single physical hub and a single app is huge from both a convenience and aesthetic perspective. So, it is safe to predict that this area of tech is also coalescing into an ecosystem-driven market where True Shoppers are increasingly rare and Pre-selectors dominate.
For tech marketers, it can be considerably dispiriting to know that you are fighting for such a small slice of the pie. But there are ways to create a greater number of genuine True Shoppers. The Escalent path-to-purchase guide urges marketers to look up-funnel to get ahead of the decision-making process to attract the effective awareness and true consideration of Pre-selectors and Validators—which is much harder to do, but it has the potential to provide a much higher benefit.
What does this mean in reality? Maybe it’s a shift from the conversion battle over who’s got the best smartphone camera to creating upper-funnel effective awareness as to how easy it is to switch between iOS and Android. Or maybe it’s overcoming artificial ecosystems such as the ink cartridge dilemma by putting in place trade-in programs that remove friction and risk.
Our award-winning path-to-purchase approach gets you there, helping to highlight the length of the customer journey, the trigger groups and how to win with them, as well as bridging the larger-than-expected leap from awareness to consideration. This is critical in any industry sector, but none more so that the technology sector, where overcoming the ecosystem barriers to grow the percentage of True Shoppers is critical to growth, even survival.
To find out more about understanding your consumers’ new path to purchase, download Want to Win More? Your guide to boosting customer growth using our award-winning path-to-purchase approach.