Pathway to Purchase

The pathway to purchase is the predictable journey a customer travels when making a purchase decision with an organization. This pathway is important because it allows businesses to better understand what a customer needs along that path while simultaneously identifying opportunities to better serve their audience along the way.

The Modern Consumer’s Pathway to Purchase

Modern consumers hold the power in today’s marketplace. Expectations now soar, and if a business does not meet those expectations during the purchase process, the business will suffer. It’s these heightened expectations of better, faster service and a more sublime experience at every touchpoint that has deemed it necessary for a business to better understand the pathway to purchase.

For businesses to stay competitive, it’s imperative that they understand how a customer progresses through the marketing funnel towards purchasing. Through this understanding, the organization can take a more predictive stance, showing up with just the right deliverables at just the right time. In turn, the organization can cultivate a more meaningful relationship with the customer by setting a firm foundation rooted in intelligent operations.

Looking at the Pathway to Purchase Through the Bow Tie Funnel

Delivering a more cohesive experience puts brands in the top spot in their category. It’s what sets them apart from the competition and makes them rise above the noise. The key to building that cohesive experience is understanding the buyer’s pathway to purchase and how they navigate through the funnel at every stage. To get there, they traverse a modern marketing funnel known as the bow tie funnel.

This bow tie funnel represents the 30,000 foot view of how modern consumers repeatedly travel along the pathway to purchase. Every stage matters, and what the customer does at each stage matters even more. There’s no starting point or end point. It’s a continuous pathway traveled to go from newbie to well-versed buyer. That continual engagement allows organizations a unique opportunity to deliver a more cohesive brand, which is critical to boosting retention and increasing lifetime value.

While the bow tie funnel offers a nice foundation for what a buyer does during their purchase process, it lacks the depth to understand how a customer moves through each stage. It’s this gap where the pathway to purchase starts to shine a light on where and how the customer receives messages as they make key purchase decisions.

Using the Pathway to Purchase to Guide Digital Transformation

The pathway to purchase takes a closer look at a series of touchpoints and channels a buyer goes through when engaging with your brand. In looking at these touchpoints, brands can determine which path makes the most sense to follow for current initiatives. Organizations can choose between the fastest paths for quicker sales or the most profitable paths for higher lifetime value. There’s no right or wrong answer, but instead, there’s a distinct opportunity to lean into various marketing and growth strategies depending on the organizational goals.

Ultimately, as you determine the pathway to purchase to pursue, you’re able to build artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to work around the clock, scaling your ability to reach target audiences and drive strategic growth.

Aligning these post-purchase analytics allows organizations to build stickier brand experiences. Simultaneously, brands can make more intelligent decisions, save budgets, and guide more transformational experiences.

Putting the Pathway to Purchase in Motion

The pathway to purchase is the gateway to many strategic and scalable growth initiatives. By leveraging this pathway to purchase, you can make big changes in how you reach your target audience.

Make Data-Informed Investments

There are a variety of paths to purchase a person can take with an organization. By comparing these pathways side-by-side, you can determine which initiatives to undertake. Eliminating guesswork allows the organization to drive more intelligent decision-making.

Build Retention

Getting a customer in the door is just the first step. Being able to understand the pathways to purchase that drive the biggest loyalty and longest lifetime value can have massive impacts on the organization’s long-term momentum and growth.

Operate With More Empathy

Empathy allows an organization to understand what a person needs. Upon analyzing predictable pathways to purchase, organizations can humanize the experience and develop more intentional ways of meeting customers where they’re at in their journey.

In addition, organizations can take those pathways to purchase and map them alongside the employee’s experiences to better understand where there’s close alignment and where there’s a gap. Those gaps allow decision-makers to know where to adjust their approach to better serve their audience and their team from a more empathetic standpoint.

Take a Behavioral Stance

Analyzing consumer behaviors and touchpoints as they navigate the pathway to purchase sheds a lot of light on how people operate. By looking at which touchpoints consumers lean on most when making important purchase decisions, you can better understand the type of information a customer needs to consume in order to buy from your organization.

Our digital ecosystem is deep and complex, which means that often times, consumers will ebb and flow through various touchpoints when making a purchase decision. Knowing the various pathways to purchase and the touchpoints involved in each allows you to hone your budget and efforts, while maximizing your reach.

Customer Experience (CX) Terms