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All aboard the shopper journey

Shopper JourneyWe all know what’s meant by “shopper journey”, don’t we? It’s the precise pathway taken by a consumer when they lever themselves off the couch and drive themselves to the local retail park to buy that special product they’ve had their eye on for a while.

If you’re the one in charge of selling that product, all you’ve got to do is engage the consumer at the right touchpoints along the journey and you’re pretty much guaranteed a sale. Simple, right? Well, it might be, if the shopper journey was as straightforward as that.

But it isn’t.

Take comparison shopping, for example, which might begin on the couch (as our imaginary consumer browses buying options on their smart TV) and continue all the way to the point of purchase (as the same consumer compares prices on their equally smart phone). Between the two there’s a lot of potential touchpoints, and lot of potential for a change of heart.

Even when the product’s sold and the customer’s left the store, the journey isn’t over. A quick post on Facebook or a review on a consumer website both count as another stop along the way. The shopper journey isn’t a single mainline route. It’s a complex, interconnecting network whose rails go both above and below ground. Occasionally there may even be an interconnecting bus service.

That’s why, when you’re thinking about an in-store campaign, you have to look outside the store too. In fact, you have to look everywhere. Everything’s connected. It’s not about just going from A to B. It’s about going from A to Z, and taking in every other letter along the way. Failing to take a holistic approach is like trying to run a railroad without any junctions: you might get up a good head of steam, but you’re never actually going to go anywhere.

So, when we tell you we’re in-store specialists, don’t imagine we’ve got our heads buried in the aisles. We haven’t. Our heads are exactly where they should be: stuck out of the window, taking in the view. It’s only by looking to the horizon that we get to imagine all the fabulous ideas that nobody’s ever thought of before.

Just like shoppers, we’re on a journey too.