The Power of Digital Influence

By Tonita Proulx, Business Partnerships

Published: September 15, 2016

Today’s customer journey is complex; influenced by actions and experiences before, during and after a shopper physically steps foot in the store. Yet despite this obvious opportunity to create and foster long term brand-customer relationships, most companies still flop as they vie for customer attention.

Their desire to focus on only driving sales is resulting in aimlessly spewing messages at the wrong time, in the wrong context, to the wrong person — with no impact.

Enter the concept of digital influence. If the customer journey is complex and omnichannel, the most successful brands have customer touchpoints every step of the way.

Bill Bishop, Chief Architect at Brick Meets Click — a go-to resource for the grocery industry — sums it up perfectly: “Those digital connections that deliver recipes, ideas, coupons, how-to videos and shopping tools are extremely important in driving in-store sales. If a retailer doesn’t build digital influence, they’re not going to drive sales at the store or online, and if they aren’t successful with their stores, where will they be?”

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The Common Challenge

Despite the intuitive understanding of making a brand available and valuable long before and after a purchase, the concept remains largely underutilized.

There are a series of ways in which interacting with different content, different channels influence a customer purchase. Where most brands fall short, however, is in developing the digital connections in the first place. You can create compelling recipes all day but if you don’t have access to an email list, an extensive social community, the digital contacts you need to hear your message – the recipes are useless. You can’t get people to buy if you don’t have people.

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Building digital connections at each of these points opens the door for influencing purchases – solving little problems along the way. But build the foundation first, then and only then can you think about what to do with those connections when you have them in place.