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The consumer’s journey starts with an expectation to meet a want or need, moves to engagement to fulfil that want or need, and ends with an assessment of that total experience.  Consumer involvement in the journey produces a level of satisfaction ranging from (1) very dissatisfied, (2) dissatisfied, (3) neutral, (4) satisfied, (5) very satisfied.

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Successful businesses understand each journey is an opportunity to satisfy:

  • satisfy the consumer’s needs and wants;
  • meet the consumer’s values and efficiencies; and,
  • create a totally positive experience that leads to satisfaction, loyalty and repeats business.

The path to purchase is complex.  It is composed of multiple touchpoints, each may have frictions or gaps that lower a consumer’s satisfaction. This dissatisfaction may occur at any point and often results in the consumer to abandon a purchase.  This abandonment is one of the biggest problems facing businesses today. These are the questions that need to be answered:

  • Why do consumers abandon?
  • What strategies would keep consumers engaged through completing the purchase?
  • How do we implement these strategies?
  • How can we extend these strategies across products and services?

Friction/Gap Case Strategies

Definitions of Concepts & Terms

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  1. Actionable strategy– A strategy (plan) which could realistically be implemented using a company’s resources such as time, staff/associates, space (virtual/physical), technology, location, etc.
  2. Abandoning/Abandonment – A situation where the consumer decides to terminate a purchase at any point up to the final step of payment.

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  1. Conversion – The strategies that will move a consumer through a series of engagements that end with the purchase. This is referred to as a “conversion funnel.”  The funnel represents what a business does to capture your interest, meet your expectations, engage you to stay and complete a sale in a way that it will compel consumer loyalty and a repeat customer.
  2. Friction – A friction is anything that impedes or causes a consumer to hesitate or totally leave the path to purchase that they started. From a business point-of-view, friction is anything that prevents a consumer from being converted to a customer.
  3. Gap – A gap in the consumer journey represents some aspect in the expectation, engagement and/or experience that was deficient or incomplete. This might be a lack of continuity as the consumer moves from expectation to engagement to experience. In this case, the flow or transition across the three processes of pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase were disjointed. For example, information gained in the pre-purpose expectation may not be applicable when making the purchase.
  4. Insights – Offering an understanding of the true nature of a situation; e.g., the relationship of a consumer to a brand; ease of interactions between a guest and a hotel front desk associate.
  5. POV – An acronym for the phrase “point-of-view” which is a personal attitude toward something.

Friction/Gap Case Strategies

Describe a case (situation) in which . . .

You were in the process of making a purchase but abandoned it due to some friction/gap such as limited information, unsatisfactory reviews, issues with physical/virtual spaces, employee issues, service, engagement time, loss of trust, not helpful, pressuring tactics, did not meet your core values, not in stock (e.g., at all, or in model/core/size you needed), second thoughts due to X, etc.

Answer the following 3 questions:

  1. Why you were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied and abandoned the purchase.
  2. What were the specific friction(s) and/or gap(s) that caused you to abandon?
  3. How did the friction(s) and/or gap(s) that caused you to abandon the purchase influence your future involvement with this company/brand?


From your point-of-view (POV), develop an actionable strategy that the retailer/service provider could have used to move you to complete your purchase (conversion).

Describe the three following PROVIDER (retailer/service) elements of your strategy:

  1. Action strategy (plan) to move you to complete the sale.
  2. Resources needed to support the strategy.
  3. The point in the path to purchase where this strategy should be implemented.

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