A sea of smartphone use
As APAC is “quite a diverse, heterogeneous market”, customers experience very diverse journeys in different markets and these are dependent upon various factors such as “infrastructure, purchasing power and government policies”, Pranktik Mazumdar, Managing Partner, Happy Marketer explained.
Despite these contrasts, Mazumdar acknowledges similarities between different nations: “a common thread that has emerged across many markets is the emergence of smartphones and the mobile web/app economy”.
Many of us start and end our day with our smartphones. As we tend to pick up our devices more than “150 times a day”, a customer’s expectation of the purchasing journey rests on “immediacy and instant gratification”.
Value, comparisons and social
Although this focus on mobile technology has dominated consumer habits in recent years, brands have been “slow to adapt to this trend to provide a seamless, friction-free, multi-channel experience” for the customer.
Value-conscientiousness is a key factor influencing consumers in Asia-Pacific (APAC). Shoppers in this region are inclined to spend a considerable amount of time researching and comparing to aggregator/comparison sites. Consumers today also use social media channels to confer and confirm with friends and family prior to making a purchase.
Commenting on whether these factors differ across markets in APAC, Mazumdar emphasised: “In my view, the core behaviour is universal across APAC but the channels and medium may differ.”
While Google is fairly popular in most APAC nations, in China, Japan and Korea, users are likely to use Baidu, Yahoo and Naver as their selected search engine. Preferred aggregator, comparison and social media sites vary accordingly too to assist brands when conducting their research and comparison.
Customer behaviour trends
Understanding the specific customer journey is paramount and each market has its “unique flavour and customer journeys”, that differ across markets and categories.
With this said, there is “no specific nation [that] has championed the cause of customer journeys”. Moving forward, “mature markets like Australia, Japan, Singapore are investing more resources to plan these out better”.
While there are “a lot of tools in the market that help brands identify, map and prioritise customer journeys, these need to be backed up by strong political will in the organisation and it must be treated as a critical, strategic agenda”.
Today, many brands are investing in hiring consulting and research firms to identify buyer personas. For each persona, they track and discover the corresponding customer touchpoints and journey permutations.
Emphasising how mapping this customer behaviour is a continual, ongoing process, Mazumdar went on to say: “While that is a good starting point, it is important to continue to monitor the journey paths and touchpoints and to optimise as you go along”.
The second part of our interview will be published on Monday 30th October 2017.