Getting Ahead of the Purchase Journey

December 8, 2017

In a presentation by shopper marketing agency Geometry and UK based research firm MEC, both agencies brought their insight as to how marketers and brands can better engage consumers in the “Purchase Journey”.

Jonathan Dodd (Chief Strategy Officer, Geometry Global) and Matt Robins (EMEA Planning Director, Geometry Global) lay out a mapping of the purchase decision journey by illustrating category purchase behavior along the shopper journey.

“Every journey begins with a trigger, but what shoppers do next is determined by multiple factors.”

Focused on “buying well”, Geometry has developed the following three typologies:


Guesswork (low involvement, low risk)

  • Difficult to make bad decisions due to low consequences because small differentiation between brands
  • These buying decisions are made with little information because categories involved are perceived as complicated

Copying (moderate involvement, moderate risk)

  • The decision is based on social proofing or expert opinions that increase reassurance of brand’s value
  • These buying decisions are made mostly by the most “popular” category choice

Research (high risk, high involvement)

  • Shoppers want the optimal choice, so they will conduct thorough due diligence to become knowledgeable
  • Decision based on many variables considered in advance

Though diverse, each typology was associated with certain categories based on prominent traits in purchase behavior exhibited by those categories

3 Typologies (Category Examples)

Guess Work
  • Snacks
  • OTC Medicines
  • Greeting Cards
  • Mobile Phones
  • Shoes/Clothing
  • Hair Care
  • Auto
  • Airlines
  • Mattresses

This enabled Geometry to make recommendations for how brands could influence consumers based on the typology their category fell under.

Guesswork – Understand points of influence to determine the instinctive, emotional and rational drivers that provide a consumer with reassurance, comprehension and the courage to choose”
Copying – Understand points of influence to see what justifies copying and from whom.”
Research – Understand the shopper’s discovery process to maximize each point whether seeking to explain or excite and inspire.”

Building on this, Richard Bradford (Group Strategy Director, MEC UK), shares that only 1.5% of people buy a brand they weren’t intending to. He focuses heavily on understanding the “trigger” or need that drives consumers to purchase a brand and how brands can get in on the “ground floor” to influence decision making, citing Ehrenburg Bass’ principles of Mental Availability (read more… ).

Bradford concludes with the important takeaway that “marketers need to find the life moment around the product/purchase moment in order for brands to be present in the moment before purchase.” This point is supported with various case studies throughout his presentation.


Brands need to understand the behaviors “triggers” associated with purchase of their category to optimize activation along the path to purchase. Additionally, by finding the “life moments” around the product moment, brands can position themselves to be present at the moment before purchase.