2.3.3 SECOND SCREENING Second screening is also referred to as dual screening, media meshing, sofalising or connecting media.
The concept is about watching a TV screen (or a programme via Netflix on your laptop), whilst Facebooking friends on your mobile and using a tablet to search for content mentioned on TV. This enables consumers to watch a programme whilst searching for additional content about the programme and communicating their feel- ings about the programme to friends – simultaneously.
DISCOVER MORE ON SECOND SCREENING See the paper ‘Who is on your sofa?’ by Doughty, Rowland and Lawson (2012).
2.3.4 SHOWROOMING AND WEBROOMING The concepts of showrooming and webrooming first emerged in the practitioner sphere and it took a while for academics to start exploring these ideas. This was probably because the impact was greater in retail stores.
Showrooming involves searching in store and buying online:
Shoppers now frequently search for information in the store and simultane- ously search on their mobile device to get more information about offers and may find more attractive prices. (Verhoef et al., 2015, p. 175)
Webrooming involves searching online and buying in store:
The opposite of showrooming also occurs, which is now referred to as webroom- ing, where shoppers seek information online and buy offline. In the past, this was found to be a dominant form of research shopping. (Verhoef et al., 2015, p. 175)
2.3.5 LIQUID AND SOLID CONSUMPTION A new concept of liquid consumption versus solid consumption has emerged, cham- pioned and defined by Professors Fleura Bardhi and Giana Eckhardt (see Key Terms).
KEY TERMS LIQUID AND SOLID CONSUMPTION Liquid consumption: ‘ephemeral, access based, and dematerialized’
Solid consumption: ‘that which is enduring, ownership based, and tangible’
(Bardhi and Eckhardt, 2017, p. 582)
This is a step change, as previously consumption was simply consumption. Bardhi and Eckhardt argued that the change has partly occurred with the increase in the digital economy and that consumers, in some cases, place greater dependence on digital access than physical ownership. Bardhi and Eckhardt also suggested that liquidity is not to be celebrated and may be as a result of income, life situation and the ability to move on quickly. Whilst this is a concept and has not been fully researched, one area to consider is lifestages. Do people move towards fluidity as they age and start to downsize and de-clutter? Is it only about lifestage or also point of view?
One other issue is digital clutter. It’s great adopting a fluid perspective, but how many photos have you stored on Facebook? How many emails have you archived? As it is easier to retain liquid possessions, do we ever review and remove, as we would do with old clothing? What will happen to charity shops that feature heavily across the UK high street if a generation moves towards liquid possessions? These shops, from
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Cancer Research to animal charities, depend upon the acquisition of solid possessions. This is certainly an area that requires more research.
Students often move between solid and liquid consumption. Some bring a carload of possessions to university whereas others travel light, often due to necessity, with a laptop, mobile phone and clothes. Those towards the fluid end of the scale can access music and films online and their contacts and memories are stored in their mobile phone.
DISCOVER MORE ON LIQUID CONSUMPTION A good starting place is an academic paper entitled ‘Liquid consumption’ by Professors Fleura Bardhi and Giana Eckhardt (2017), published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
2.4 ONLINE CUSTOMER JOURNEY The online customer journey is the process customers take from searching for an item to concluding with a purchase. This occurs offline as well as online and it is usually considered as a linear process. According to Katherine Lemon and Peter Verhoef (2016), this is in three stages, as discussed here:
• Stage 1 – Pre-purchase, where customers interact with the brand. There is problem recognition, search and consideration which could include a login to LinkedIn to check out a sales associate or the managing director or a look at the company Facebook page to see what feedback is shared, or perhaps online searches on review sites.
• Stage 2 – Purchase, which concerns all customer interactions during the purchase: the online user experience, ease of purchase, delivery choices and confirmation of delivery if relevant.
• Stage 3 – Post-purchase, which, according to Lemon and Peter Verhoef, comprises behaviours such as usage and consumption – you bought it but did you use it? Did you leave a review? Sign up for the newsletter? Share the purchase with friends?
Activity 2.2 Construct a Simple Customer Journey Assess your activity as an online customer. Consider a recent purchase and list your pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase stages.
See Template online: Assess the customer journey fundamental stages
2.4.1 THE CHALLENGE OF TERMINOLOGY But there are challenges! One of these is the terminology, because the customer journey and the process of understanding the steps that customers take to complete an action is described in different ways:
• Buyer journey
• Consumer decision journey
• Customer journey mapping
• User journey mapping
• Customer service encounter
• Customer experience (CX)
• Online customer service experience (OCSE)
• Path to purchase
• Service blueprinting
If you fast-forward to Chapter 9, Strategy and Objectives, you will see where I discuss the McKinsey strategic model of the ‘consumer decision journey’; here I will explore the differences and origins of these different terms.
Buyer journey The buyer journey was one of the earliest phrases used, but considered the consumer only as a buyer. We may primarily think of a customer journey as a visit to a web- site to buy a product but, in some cases, no purchase is made because a customer journey can be:
• Downloading a brochure
• Signing up for a newsletter
• Filling in a form
• Submitting information
• Registering interest or support
Buyer journey is more often used in commercial organisations where the goal is simply a purchase.
Consumer journey or consumer decision journey The consumer journey or consumer decision journey was identified by the McKinsey team, who developed a strategic model from the initial consideration set to the post-purchase experience, moving away from traditional linear sales funnels (see Chapter 9).
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Customer or user journey mapping Customer or user journey mapping is generally acknowledged to have been devised by Barry Kibel in a book chapter where he suggested that results mapping could be used as an approach for assessing the work of social, health and education programmes.
The process was to map, score, analyse and provide feedback about a programme and the key factor was using a visual representation of the journey or process.
The journey starts with sharing the company name, through to registering for a newsletter. This could be the journey that a student takes when checking out a firm for a placement. In this example there are 12 steps, but they are linear. There can often be many more, which include moving forwards and backwards in a messy and less ordered way.
When discussing customer journeys David Norton and Joseph Pine described them as ‘the sequence of events – whether designed or not – that customers go through to learn about, purchase and interact with company offerings – including commodi- ties, goods, services or experiences’ (Norton and Pine, 2013, p. 12). The key here is the concept of a sequence of events, regardless of whether the customer journey is online, offline or multi-channel.
Customer service encounters Customer service encounters were reviewed by Clay Voorhees and many of his col- leagues, where they were keen to define the area in more detail (Voorhees et al., 2016). Voorhees suggested that the difference between service encounter and service experience was about the period of time the service lasted. An ongoing or continu- ous service was an experience, whereas a specific service was an encounter. The encounters were divided into three phases:
1. Pre-core service encounter – the time before the main service where the customer engages with the firm and seeks information such as online reviews.
2. Core service encounter – the time at which the primary service is provided.
3. Post-core service encounter – the time after the service has been received where the consumer reflects, assesses the service and may complete online feedback.
This definition is especially helpful for non-profit firms or government bodies, where the aim is to gain information, submit forms or register details. The difference is the idea of the service encounter rather than a sale.
However, this approach is similar to the customer journey described by Lemon and Verhoef: there are three stages – before, during and after. Both are relatively sim- plistic and linear models, although they work and are easy to apply, so are useful places to start.
Customer experience (CX) Customer experience (CX) has been studied by many scholars and there is no agree- ment on what it means. It was defined by Chiara Gentile and colleagues, writing in
the European Management Journal, as ‘an evolution of the concept of relationship between the company and the customer’ (Gentile et al., 2007, p. 397) and in the same year, Christoph Meyer and Andre Schwager wrote in the Harvard Business Review that customer experience ‘encompasses every aspect of a company’s offering – the quality of customer care, of course, but also advertising, packaging, product and ser- vice features, ease of use, and reliability’ (Meyer and Schwager, 2007, p. 118). Gentile and her colleagues adopted a view of the customer relationship whereas Meyer and Schwager took a pragmatic view of the whole product offer. Both definitions explain customer service, from different standpoints.
Meyer and Schwager proposed differences between customer relationship and experi- ence management and I have adapted their content, shown in Table 2.3, to focus on the key factors they identified in customer experience management, as this provides a good summary of key factors in customer experience.
Table 2.3 Customer experience management