9 Steps to My Valentine’s Purchase

It all started with an email displaying a credit that I could take advantage of at online flower Retailer A, which led to a click-through from the email to the site where I began my search.  After picking my wife’s favorite flowers, a nice mix of pink and red tulips, I carefully craft a poetic, romantic, personalized message. I get all the way to the check out page before being surprised with a large shipping charge, increasing my total up to around $60.  Thinking I can get a better price, I roll up my sleeves and begin the quest for a better deal. I remember seeing another email ad for a competitor and decide to check their selection and pricing. Finding Retailer B's discounts enticing, I visit the site, and upon arrival remember hearing that if I enter a talk radio host’s name in the box when I click the microphone that I can get some sort of discount.  Ah yes, a free vase.  So I do that.  I now have 20% off from the email discount and a free vase from the radio discount.  I carefully craft another personalized message and then think to myself, could there be an even better deal out there?   I decide to check another brand to see how competitive their pricing is and run a search for '[Retailer C] + coupon codes'.  An affiliate serves an ad for 40% off so I check out the site.  Even with the 40% off, however, the prices seem higher, and I don’t know if they include shipping or not. Having already wasted my poetic talent once with Retailer A before realizing the shipping costs, I venture back to my shopping cart at Retailer B to reevaluate. But once I arrive, I realize that something isn't right about my cart.  My wife doesn't love tulips, it's actually Gerbera Daisies that she likes… Meanwhile, I check my email again and find a daily deal site offering a $30 credit for $15 from Retailer B.  When I click on that link from my email, a countdown begins offering an additional $2 off if I buy the coupon in the next 6 minutes.  I buy the coupon and get the code. Heading back to Retailer B, I second guess my tulip vs daisies hierarchy and completely change my mind to a living rose bush in a nice ceramic planter.  After quickly rambling off a reasonably good message, I check out again with the onsite discount and additional credit for $30 from the $13 coupon code.  Finally the order is complete.

Conclusion

By the end of my navigation through the online waters playing “Deal or no Deal”, I ended up saving almost $20. Some may ask, “Is this meticulous frugality or a complete waste of time?”  My question is, “Who gets the credit for this purchase?  And how closely does this reflect the growing complexity of the purchase path for the online consumer?” More and more, Digital Marketers must gather growing amounts of data, sift through the noise, and labor to understand the online shopping habits of consumers like me in order to build successful online marketing strategies. Update: Of course, all of this was in the hopes of finding a reasonably priced Valentine's Day gift to be delivered in time for the big day. While initially guaranteed for delivery by February 13th, winter storms have resulted in Retailer B being unable to estimate when the rose bush will be delivered.
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