Online and On Land: How the Point of Purchase is No Longer Mutually Exclusive

Funny thing about the average consumer: They don’t think like marketers. In most cases, when the time comes to make a purchase, the approach a consumer takes can either be described as a “Hunter” or as a “Gatherer.” The Hunter is typically a person who is ready to purchase. They know what they want and have decided to complete their purchase and will do so where they feel comfortable, either online or on land. On the contrary, a Gatherer can be categorized as an individual who is still searching for additional information before transforming into Hunter mode and completing the purchase. Additionally, Gatherers tend to visit multiple sites and retailers in order to ensure that they are getting the best deal or value.

But what does any of that have to do with brands and their behavior online and on land? Everything. While consumers will never praise a brand for providing a seamless transition from their website to the brick-and-mortar store, they will gladly avoid a brand for having a bad online site or, even worse, a physical space that does not provide a good experience. In addition, consumers who are presented with barriers to research while on a brand’s site are more likely to avoid the brand’s physical space as well. As one study shows:

Shoppers on average consult about four websites for price and feature information. However, half of them end up buying in brick-and-mortar stores.

While consumers are more likely to purchase offline, roughly two-thirds begin their searches online, using a combination of search and the retailer’s own website.

Bottom line is that as a retailer, you have to consider both the virtual and physical spaces. Your virtual world is just as relevant as your store in the local mall. When marketers are able to convince users to actually consider a product with an advertisement, it is crucial for the online experience to be simple, clean and one that reflects the brand look and feel. It isn’t enough to simply have a web presence anymore. Retailers must have a site that is mobile-friendly and allows for richer engagement with the brand. And in the case of consumers in Hunter mode, a solid e-commerce experience is crucial in assuring that the consumer does not decide to open another window and see what your competitor down the block is offering as well.

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