It’s ironic that it can be easier to connect to someone halfway around the world on the internet than it is to connect the moment someone enters your store.

Our benchmark research shows that an average of 13% of shoppers who visit a large-ticket retail store leave without ever properly connecting to a salesperson.

The “Customer Buying Journey” is a popular way to describe how a potential customer finds your business and makes a purchase. At a high level, the 3 stages are: Curiosity, Enlightenment and Commitment. There are many more levels depending on how detailed you want to get.

Regardless of the number of stages, almost every large-ticket purchase either starts with “see online” and ends with “buy in store” or vice versa. This gives large-ticket brick-and-mortar retailers an advantage over their internet-only competition… because customers want to physically see and try out what they are buying. And they want to talk to a salesperson when they do.

If you’ve been in business for the past two decades, you’ve seen a lot of change…but nothing like what is happening today.

To keep up, over the years, you may have patched together legacy systems with proprietary programs as a work-around solution. Today it’s called stacking, and entire industries are being disrupted literally overnight as new applications are stacked to create a seamless experience for your customers.

Gone are the days of outbound marketing alone. Advertising works, but simply advertising and counting on a certain percentage of people to show up and buy is no longer sufficient.

Those were the “good ole days” but these days are better if you can keep up with the times.

So the question is “When does your customer become a customer?” Is it the moment they begin investing time to make a purchase or only after a purchase is made?

The answer to this question can transform your business, if you can make a meaningful connection at the point a potential customer starts an internet search, or at the moment she enters your store.