For savvy marketers and DTC owners, optimizing long sales cycles and intricate customer journeys is crucial. A comprehensive understanding of your target audience, paired with a clear strategy and consistent messaging, can significantly improve conversion rates over extended sales periods.
Watch the video below to explore insights on how to optimize long customer journeys for high-value products.
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With longer decision-making processes and higher stakes in customer satisfaction, fine-tuning each touchpoint becomes a critical endeavor. In this blog post, we'll delve into the intricacies of optimizing long customer journeys, offering insights and strategies tailored specifically for DTC brands that offer premium products. Whether you're an established DTC brand or just getting started, this guide aims to elevate your customer experience and conversion rates.
Optimizing Long Sales Cycles: An interview with Jonas Griztmann from Heimplanet
In the heart of Hamburg, Heimplanet stands as a beacon of innovation in the outdoor sector. From their pioneering inflatable tents to high-performance gear for both extreme adventures and daily urban commutes, their offerings span a wide spectrum. I had the chance to discuss with Jonas, a driving force behind Heimplanet, about the brand's journey, its grasp on customer interactions, and the synergy between its brick-and-mortar store and online presence. Here's what Jonas had to share.
Markus Repetschnig, Admetrics’ CEO: I'm here in beautiful Hamburg with Jonas from Heimplanet. Hello Jonas, it's great that you're here. Can you tell us a bit about Heimplanet and what you do?
Jonas Gritzmann, Marketing Manager Heimplanet: Yes, we are an outdoor company based in Hamburg. We primarily operate in the high-performance sector, especially in the automotive segment. We began with tents, specifically inflatable tents. This was somewhat our unique selling proposition. We were the first ones in the market with this idea, and based on that, we have built our brand. Gradually, we expanded into bags, backpacks, and now also clothing. Over time, we've built a strong fan base. I've tried some of your products, and they leave a solid impression.
Markus: Can you share more about your target audience?
Jonas: Certainly. We sell globally, with the USA and Germany being our largest markets. In terms of our clientele, it's varied. We have customers who are into high-performance camping. Many of our tents are used in Arctic expeditions. But we also cater to families with children who desire a stylish tent for their camping holidays. When it comes to our bags, we have a range catering to urban users. For instance, we have a commuter pack designed for daily work commutes or short trips.
Markus: What about the average order values? Where do they stand for you?
Jonas: Our average order value is approximately €230. As mentioned, we are in the premium high-performance automotive sector. Hence, our products tend to be of higher quality and priced higher. Especially our tents, which often have four-figure prices.
Markus: Given the high product value, you probably encounter long customer journeys.
Jonas: Yes, indeed. For our tents, the journey can range from 7 to 14 days, but sometimes even longer. A person might click on an ad, find us interesting, subscribe to our newsletter, but take a while before making the purchase decision. It's a challenge to track these long customer journeys.
Markus: Can you outline a typical customer journey?
Jonas: It's not straightforward. We don't have a set funnel where customers start and end at specific points. It's more like a web of touchpoints. However, we do notice certain touchpoints occurring earlier in the journey. Understanding this is crucial for us, as a customer might eventually buy through organic search after visiting our site multiple times.
Markus: You have this beautiful store here in Hamburg. How would you describe the touchpoints here?
Jonas: We're located in the HafenCity, which doesn't have much foot traffic. The customers that visit are purpose-driven. It's similar to our online shop where we have strong organic traffic. Customers often say, "I've seen you somewhere, noticed you're in Hamburg, and decided to visit." We offer them a drink, cater to their needs, and provide them with product options. Just like online, they might not decide immediately. But we offer flexibility and encourage them to think about their choice.
Markus: Which tools do you use to better understand the customer journey?
Jonas: We heavily rely on Admetrics for mapping customer journeys. It helps us identify touchpoints and understand where potential drop-offs happen.
Markus: Which attribution model and window do you use for optimization?
Jonas: We use the maximum available window, which is currently 120 days. It makes sense for us to capture as much of the customer journey as possible. For us, patience is essential when managing long sales cycles. It's not always direct, and one can't just focus on a single KPI for a specific channel. Instead, it's vital to view all actions collectively. Focusing too much on one KPI for a channel can lead to misunderstandings about success or conversion rates.It's more about looking at a network of touchpoints. Recognizing where a customer is in their journey and providing relevant information at each stage is crucial.
When driving initial touchpoints, impressions are key. It's also necessary to understand the competition in the advertising segment. For instance, on platforms like Amazon, competing with massive brands might not always be beneficial. We aim for specificity in our targeting. Click-through rate (CTR) is another significant metric. Testing different formats, such as video vs. image or showcasing a product outdoors vs. in a studio, provides insights. Another factor we consider is the 'thumbstop rate' to determine if our content is engaging enough. In conclusion, the most critical metrics for us are impressions, CTR, and the thumbstop rate.
Markus: Thanks, Jonas, for this insightful conversation.
Jonas: You're welcome. Always happy to discuss.
What is Customer Journey Optimization?
Customer journey optimization refers to the process of analyzing and enhancing the series of interactions and experiences a customer goes through from their initial awareness of a brand to the post-purchase stage. The goal is to ensure that each touchpoint is streamlined, meaningful, and tailored to the needs and preferences of the customer, ultimately leading to increased satisfaction, loyalty, and sales.
In a digital context, this involves optimizing experiences across various channels such as websites, apps, social media, and email to create a seamless and effective customer journey. By understanding and improving this journey, DTCs aim to reduce friction, address pain points, and provide value at every step, fostering a deeper connection between the brand and its customers.
The Power of Customer Journey Mapping
Customer Journey Mapping is an insightful technique that allows companies to visualize every touchpoint a customer interacts with, from discovery to purchase and beyond. With CJM, companies can:
- Deepen Their Understanding: It offers a bird's eye view of the customer's entire journey, shedding light on their emotions, needs, and potential pain points at each step.
- Gain Crucial Insights: One of the significant advantages of CJM is its ability to reveal what's going on in the customer's mind at different stages. Whether it's moments of delight or dissatisfaction, businesses can then make informed decisions to enhance positive interactions and mitigate negative ones.
- Personalize the Experience: In our era where customization is king, CJM can be a game-changer. By segmenting their audience based on varied personas, companies can cater to the unique journey of each segment. This segmentation translates to tailored marketing campaigns, product recommendations, and customer service, fostering deeper connections.
Benefits of Optimizing the Customer Journey
- Boosts Satisfaction and Loyalty: A positive customer journey is directly proportional to increased satisfaction and loyalty. When customers feel valued, they're more inclined to not only stick with the brand but also become its advocates.
- Identifies and Resolves Challenges: Potential roadblocks, be it slow website speeds or lackluster customer support, can be detected and addressed through CJM, ensuring a smoother journey for the customer.
- Enhances Interaction Points: With a clear map of the journey, businesses can fine-tune each touchpoint, ensuring uniformity and efficiency. For instance, a retail brand might expedite the checkout process by integrating digital kiosks, ensuring a more streamlined in-store experience.
- Fuels Innovation: CJM not only helps businesses address existing gaps but can also inspire them to innovate. By identifying unmet needs, DTCs can discover opportunities for new product development or service enhancement.
How to optimize long customer journeys for DTCs selling high-value products
Content Marketing & Education
- Educational Content for DTC: Since DTC brands bypass traditional retailers, it's vital to ensure that all product details and brand stories are clearly communicated. Create comprehensive buying guides, FAQs, and product comparison charts. Use blogs or articles to explain the craftsmanship, technology, or unique materials used in your products.
- Customer Stories: Highlight genuine user experiences with your products. Consider creating video testimonials or in-depth written reviews with images to illustrate real-life use. For high-end products, the focus should be on how the product enhances lifestyles or provides unparalleled benefits.
- Engaging Media: Offer virtual product tours, behind-the-scenes looks at how products are made, or interactive features (e.g., 360-degree views) to create a luxury online shopping experience that matches the quality of your product.
Retargeting & Segmentation
- Segmentation in DTC: DTC brands can collect first-party data directly. Utilize this data to segment audiences based on browsing behavior, purchase history, or engagement with previous marketing campaigns.
- Drip Retargeting: For high-end products, avoid hard-selling. Instead, use drip campaigns that slowly introduce potential buyers to various product features, benefits, or the brand's legacy over weeks or even months.
- Exclusive Offers: Reward interested prospects with exclusive offers or early access to new product launches, emphasizing the exclusive nature of buying directly from the brand.
Email & SMS Marketing
- Lead Magnets for Luxury Buyers: Offer first-time subscriber discounts, access to exclusive webinars with industry experts, or curated content like luxury lifestyle magazines in digital format.
- Personalization: For high-end B2C products, personalized communication is paramount. Use the recipient's name, reference past interactions, or offer product suggestions based on browsing behavior.
- VIP Clubs: Consider creating VIP or loyalty programs where subscribers get early access, exclusive content, or special deals, elevating their status as privileged customers of the brand.
Affiliate & Influencer Partnerships
- Long-Term Relationships: Collaborate with influencers on extended campaigns or brand ambassador programs. Instead of a single post, they could have a series – "A Day with [Product]" or "Behind the Design with [Brand]".
- Performance-based Deals: To ensure authenticity and genuine recommendations, base a significant portion of the influencer's compensation on actual conversions or specific engagement metrics.
Data Analytics & Feedback Loop
- Sales Funnel Analysis: Look at where potential customers might be dropping off. Is there a specific price point where you lose them? Or after a particular piece of content? This insight can be golden for refining the DTC strategy.
- Feedback Integration: Direct feedback is even more critical for DTC brands. Implement easy feedback mechanisms on your site and post-purchase to understand any barriers or hesitations.
- A/B Testing: This is crucial for DTCs because, without middlemen, you have a direct relationship with your consumers. Test everything – from homepage designs to product customization options, to find what resonates most.
For DTC high-end products in the B2C space, the direct relationship with consumers means brands have a golden opportunity to forge stronger, more personalized relationships. It's essential to use the strategies above not just to sell, but to establish trust, brand loyalty, and a reputation for unparalleled quality.
Pro Insights to optimize your Customer Journey
Examine your current Customer Journeys
Begin by diving deep into your current assets. What paths do users generally follow when navigating your site or application? This examination can reveal trends, showcasing areas for improvement or pinpointing untapped opportunities.
Break down the customer experience by plotting their interactions. Use the guide below to understand how to harness these insights with Admetrics Data Studio.
When analyzing these touchpoints, keep in mind the pivotal stages: fostering brand awareness, nudging potential buyers to mull over your offerings, sealing the deal, and cultivating ongoing loyalty. Envision the journey from a customer's perspective, pondering over the promotional materials and experiences they'd encounter at every step. Use this framework for sketching out your customer journey.
Pinpoint Your Target Audience
Crafting impactful marketing strategies necessitates a thorough understanding of your audience. Who's your primary audience? And who's just on the periphery? Envision the perfect customer profile, factoring in demographics, habits, interests, behaviors, and more.
Analyze your existing customer base and their purchasing behaviors. Reflect on the following:
- Who are the long-term patrons of your brand?
- Which customers act as brand ambassadors, referring others?
- What challenges do these customers face?
Constructing these personas can shed light on the varied interactions different segments have with your brand. For example, while younger demographics might gravitate more toward online shopping, older generations might still hold a preference for traditional in-store shopping.
How to use Admetrics to optimize Customer Journeys
Dive deep into understanding your customer's journey with the Admetrics "Conversion paths report" feature. This tool is designed to provide businesses with a comprehensive look into the stages customers navigate before they complete a purchase. By leveraging this feature, businesses can better tailor their marketing strategies, emphasizing the channels and tactics that yield the most conversions. To utilize this feature, users have two primary ways to access the conversion paths report.
The Stand-alone Conversion Paths Report
For a broad overview of conversion pathways, navigate to the Conversion paths report. This comprehensive report offers the flexibility to filter paths by specific criteria such as campaigns or traffic sources, ensuring detailed, actionable insights.
Conversion Paths in the Performance View
For a more targeted look into specific metrics, go to the Performance View. By clicking on the magnifier icon adjacent to any attributed metric, you can then transition to the Conversion paths tab to view the corresponding conversion paths.
Time to Conversion Report
The Time to Conversion Report is a valuable tool that aids businesses in understanding customer behavior, sales cycles, and the overall efficiency of various marketing channels.
Here are some compelling use cases to highlight the report's potential:
Use Case #1: Managing Extended Sales Cycles
The essence of this report lies in its ability to determine the duration customers take to reach a conversion point. Should you find that the majority of your consumers finalize a purchase within a 24-hour span, this data can guide you to streamline your attribution windows. For instance, you can refine campaigns around a 1-day or 2-day attribution window to maximize impact.
Use Case #2: Differentiating New Customers from Repeat Buyers
In analyzing customer behavior, the Time to Conversion Report offers a side-by-side comparison of new shoppers versus returning patrons. Notably, it's observed that loyal, repeat buyers often navigate shorter sales cycles compared to individuals purchasing for the first time.
Use Case #3: Product-Specific
Time to Conversion Analysis Sales cycles can considerably vary across products. The Time to Conversion Report sheds light on this, emphasizing that high-ticket items or those demanding extensive details tend to have lengthier sales cycles.
Use Case #4: Channel-Specific Time to Conversion Insights
Admetrics users can easily click on any attributed metric associated with a specific traffic source, campaign, or ad set. This action unveils the 'Time to conversion' tab, offering a comprehensive breakdown of conversion timelines corresponding to particular touchpoints. Recognizing channels that accelerate conversions can serve as a roadmap for effectively reallocating your marketing resources, ensuring amplified outcomes.
Download Admetrics Data Studio and access comprehensive insights on customer behaviors, sales cycle optimizations, and much more. Elevate your strategies and use these insights to navigate the complexities of customer conversion journeys.