Click-to-call: Have you included the jump offline in your path-to-purchase planning?

While the research consumers put into purchase decisions is increasingly conducted online, many still prefer to make purchases offline. John Busby outlines the importance providing click-to-call functionality as part of the path-to-purchase jump from online research to offline purchase.

With more than 80% of Australians now owning a smartphone, the consumer path-to-purchase is undergoing the biggest transformation since consumer adoption of internet-enabled PCs ushered in the era of eCommerce.

The eCommerce industry is booming in Australia, with a whopping $37.8 billion spent over the internet in 2015, and more than 40% of Australians purchasing at least one product online every four weeks.

However, this online spending is miniscule in comparison to the more than $900 billion in total consumer expenditures made last year.

Although the majority of purchases still occur offline, in-store or over the phone, consumers are becoming more heavily influenced by information they find online because of the increase in smartphone use. Australians report that 90% of offline purchase decisions are influenced by digital or mobile research.

What exactly does this mean?

For starters, people are investing more time and consideration into their decisions instead of making impulse purchases. But, when push comes to shove, when it comes to industries like finance, travel, insurance and utilities, among others, consumers still prefer to make the purchase offline.

Australians are calling

One of the most popular ways consumers jump from ‘online’ to ‘offline’ in their path-to- purchase is quite simply by making a phone call. In fact, Australians are expected to make more than seven billion phone calls directly from smartphones to businesses in 2016.

As businesses continue to see this as a growing tendency, they are taking advantage of click-to-call advertising, enabling consumers to tap on their phone number to immediately get in touch with a real person. In fact, 80% of Australia’s top brands now show a phone number in Google’s organic or paid search results.

And for good reason. A phone call should be quick and easy, delivering answers to questions consumers have in real time. While some people just want to know the operating hours of a business, most call during the actual purchase phase of the shopping process, and tend to call more frequently when they’re ready to make that purchase decision.

Take the pay TV industry, for example. Anyone setting up a new pay TV package knows that the process fits into the classic online-offline purchase journey. Many consumers research packages online and then make the purchase offline, mostly over the phone as some customers still have many questions about what the package includes before signing the dotted line.

Related: Alex Allwood on brand promises and the customer experience gap »

Because conversations with a business representative offline often validates a consumer’s intent to purchase, the majority of these phone calls result in rich product and service conversations, if not in actual sales or appointments.

Measuring the mobile path-to-purchase

However, because click-to-call takes the consumer from online to offline (and perhaps a few different times), it makes it very difficult for an organisation to determine attribution for each and every customer. Often times, businesses use mobile click-to-call to measure calls, but this lacks true visibility into anything beyond the tap or click to determine if the call really happened or if a sale resulted from it.

To more accurately track which campaigns are driving quality leads, it is important for organisations to measure the phone calls that actually happen. This way they are able to glean actionable intelligence about the phone leads, including tying unique leads back to specific campaigns. When marketers have access to this level of insight into their customers’ behaviours, they can turn the information into actions that can then drive the campaigns to the appropriate audience at a lower cost.

By cutting out the guesswork, marketers can do their jobs more easily and make their customers’ lives and experiences better.

There’s no doubt, as mobile use continues to climb, online to offline consumer behaviour is becoming the new norm. But if it is measured and attributed correctly, marketers can glean insights to benefit both the consumer’s experience and the organisation’s bottom line.

 

John Busby is SVP of marketing and consumer Insights at Marchex

 

* * * * *

Join Marketing Pro for detailed analysis into the technology and frameworks that can help you streamline the path-to-purchase

* * * * *