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The Four Buying Intent Signals You May Be Missing

Customers are constantly signaling their intent to buy your products and some of these signals are more obvious that others.  How many are hidden in plain sight and that you may be missing? 

Start by Analyzing the entire customer journey

How well do you understand each major stage (and each substage) of your customers’ journeys?  From category awareness, to product intent, to making their first purchase to becoming an advocate for your brand, having a firm understanding and consistent measurement of these signals has to be prioritized.  If you are not using a customer data platform (CDP) where you can integrate your ecommerce website data with all the other key systems you rely on such as loyalty, ad tech, customer service, social media and email marketing systems, you cannot build a single view of the customer that stitches together the entire timeline of each customer.  CDPs make it very easy to do this so analyzing intent events a breeze.

Here are the four buying intent signals that can help increase your revenue (if you know how to identify and leverage them).

1. Where are buyers coming from?

When shoppers arrive on product detail pages, do you know what brought them there?  Knowing that a shopper came from paid search or a social media post you created can help you understand your cost per acquisition, but there are other page referrals that are happening with your brand that you should be paying attention to.  Past purchasers make recommendations to their networks and their recommendations may greatly influence awareness and purchase intent.  Tracking referrals from social media that are not your own posts or from other channels, even SMS can help you understand the impact and virality of specific products in your catalog.  Whether referrals come from earned media, direct traffic, onsite search, or paid media, paying attention to which referrals drive the highest conversion rates can help you uncover what drives the most intent. Once you know where your buyers are coming from, you’re able to better craft your marketing strategy to the channels (and with the content) that matter the most.

2. Time Spent and Engagement on a Product Page

Marketers who tend to treat all page views equally are missing out on key insights that can help inform intent.  This is especially true for marketers who may be retargeting or remarketing to ALL page views instead of those that spend meaningful time on a product page.  Let’s compare two shoppers.  

Shopper A lands on a product page, never engages with the content and exits the page in less than 5 second.  

Shopper B, they scroll down, reading reviews, or clicking on different colors and viewing the items measurements.  Shopper B definitely appears more interested and invested in that item.

With these signals, you’ll be able to prioritize marketing spend and provide hyper-targeted messaging for both un-engaged and engaged shoppers across ad platforms like Google and Facebook.

3. Repeat Visits to the Same Product

Similar to number 2 above, a single page view is not the same as someone who repeatedly comes back to view the same product over and over again.  If you are analyzing the customer journey you may know that the average time for a shopper to buy an item may necessitate multiple page views.  

A shopper who returns again and again to the same product page is clearly showing a much higher level of intent than other shoppers who are in this same lifecycle stage.  Should you offer this person a discount to incentivize the purchase?  Should you simply reinforce the product benefits and show a great customer review of that product?  Should you A/B test it?  Having deeper insight into these intent signals allows you to have these conversations with your team, form a hypothesis, and test your approach. 

4. Asking a Support Question or Viewing a FAQ

There are impulsive shoppers out there who will purchase the very first time they visit your website, but as we discussed in signal number 3, the majority of buyers will need more time to make a purchase.  As part of their journey they may have questions about the product.  With the increase in online shopping over the last few months, customers who are shopping online with your brand for the first time may have more questions than usual, so being prepared is key.  

Is your brand ready to answer them?  If you are, you want to treat shoppers asking questions during their shopping experience with greater intent.  Enabling your service team with the ability to access each shoppers customer profile is the first step to take.  If your service agents can look up exactly what products this shopper has viewed, added to their cart, or visited multiple times, you can turn this service request into a revenue generating opportunity.  

For digital brands shopper intent is very challenging unless you are using the right tools.  Starting with a customer data platform, measuring all of the different intent signals along a customer’s journey with your brand becomes a breeze, even the signals you may be missing today.

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