By Kelly Vrachimis, senior marketing communications manager, SKIM. 

To achieve sales and marketing goals, brands need to know how customers make purchase decisions. But another key element of the consumer journey is often overlooked: the post-purchase experience. KitchenAid, a premium kitchen appliances brand, knew it needed to look beyond the point of purchase to uncover opportunities to build customer loyalty and grow the business globally.

KitchenAid had previously done some shopper research focused on the U.S. but needed to expand its knowledge and action plans globally, and also recognized that a lot has changed in the way people shop and use appliances since it did initial research pre-COVID.

How could KitchenAid make sense of “messy” consumer journeys and experiences and uncover new opportunities to delight their customers?

At a recent industry conference, KitchenAid’s Global Head of Consumer Insights, Nicole Whitlow, revealed how the company created a global, end-to-end consumer journey framework in partnership with SKIM. Elizabeth Kadrich, senior research manager at SKIM, also shared how advanced analytics transformed the understanding of the consumer journey and delivered actionable outcomes.

Read on for more learnings from the discussion.

KitchenAid’s challenge: untangle the global consumer journey and post-purchase customer experience 

With a goal of growing sales volume around the world, KitchenAid wanted to increase customer engagement, loyalty and lifetime value. To do that, the company knew it needed to find opportunities to delight customers throughout their entire journey with the KitchenAid brand.

“But first,” explained Whitlow, “we needed to better understand the current shopper and consumer experience journey, especially after the point of purchase.”

KitchenAid turned to SKIM to help build a global framework defining the full scope of the consumer experience journey, including:

  • The triggers, barriers, influences, behaviors and other factors that inspire consumers during each phase of the shopper and post-purchase journey.
  • Which touchpoints and journey(s) KitchenAid should prioritize.
  • KitchenAid’s opportunities to meet consumer expectations during the purchase journey and engage customers post-purchase. 

The journey research solution

SKIM’s research provided KitchenAid with a validated, comprehensive view of the global small appliance consumer journey, as well as a process to guide stakeholders in making the right business decisions to achieve their goals.

Kadrich explained SKIM’s research approach, analytics and the insights-activation process.

A winning research combination 

To create a single source of truth about small appliance buyers, SKIM designed and implemented complementary research phases that balanced real-world considerations with methodological robustness:

  • A quantitative survey. 
  • Two qualitative phases involving in-depth interviews, online and in-store shopping videos and unboxing interviews.

Sifting through the messy journey with the right data 

Today’s consumer journey is non-linear and can include a variety of online and offline touchpoints. SKIM applied its advanced Journey ModelingTM technique to make sense of the data and uncover the hidden nuggets Whitlow and the KitchenAid team needed to:

  • Identify the frequency, sequence, importance and relevance of online and offline touchpoints, pre- and post-purchase.
  • Define pre- and post-purchase journey groups.
  • Prioritize the key journeys KitchenAid should focus on using an opportunity score.

Engaging stakeholders 

To ensure that the project produced actionable insights to guide decision-making, SKIM included multiple touchpoints with KitchenAid stakeholders, such as consumer insights, brand marketing, consumer experience and regional marketing teams throughout the process:

  • Goal alignment workshop: Determined research objectives and reviewed prior research.
  • Stakeholder discovery: Reviewed quantitative findings and collaborated on journey groups.
  • Activation workshop: Brainstormed ideas and created a strategic action plan based on the research results.

"SKIM's activation approach helped us transform insights into action and align on a path forward," said Whitlow. "By bringing stakeholders together at each stage, we were able to define goals, set priorities and decide how to apply the learnings from the journey research, and get leadership on board all in real time. We are already reaping the benefits of the decisions we made."

Outcomes: Insights activation delivers a positive impact

With detailed information about what exactly drives consumers' decisions and their ongoing experience with the brand, KitchenAid was able to hone in on the most critical steps it needed to take right away. 

  • Identified short-term opportunities with unboxing and in-store experiences.
  • Developed global strategy and prioritization for pre- and post-purchase consumer experience.
  • Implemented ongoing metrics to track customer satisfaction globally.

One example was improving unboxing and in-store experiences (discovered through consumer interviews and in-store videos) to build engagement and loyalty.

The insights also guided KitchenAid’s stakeholders in the development of a global strategy for improving consumer experience both before and after purchase, as well as ongoing metrics to track customer satisfaction around the world. 

KitchenAid General Manager Dan Valenti summed up the outcome of the project: “This research really helped us better understand the consumer experience and identify ways that we can delight them.”

3 important learnings

Closing the conference session discussion, the presenters had some parting lessons and learnings for the audience:

  • Including both qualitative and quantitative research unlocked important insights about the consumer experience. 
  • Reconstructing individual journeys and using modeling and clustering helped identify commonalities and key segments.
  • Considering the entire journey allowed us to spot opportunities to surprise and delight consumers.

How are you creating delightful brand experiences for consumers?

The past few years have brought unprecedented shifts in purchase behavior, with more complicated journeys, more online and offline touchpoints, new channels and influences and more choices than ever before. To win the battle for consumer loyalty, brands are recognizing the need to understand and improve post-purchase experiences as part of the end-to-end consumer journey. 

SKIM can help your brand expand your approach to decision journeys, bring journeys to life with robust analytics and develop activation strategies that create impact.

If you need to keep up with the consumer behavior changes and want to optimize your strategy with data-driven insights, schedule a consultation with a SKIM consumer journey expert.

About the author:

Kelly Vrachimis is a senior marketing communications manager at SKIM. Vrachimis has an MBA in marketing and has spent her 10+ year career in B2B and B2C marketing roles across finance, tech and media, primarily on the brand side. Vrachimis is passionate about content and consumer psychology, aligning with her role in marketing and market research.