The wonderfully messy reality of consumer decision-making

As the internet reinvents our purchase patterns, much has been written about the changing customer journey. Publishing their Customer Decision Journey model, McKinsey warns marketers that “consumers are moving outside the purchasing funnel—changing the way they research and buy your products” and “If your marketing hasn’t changed in response, it should.” In truth, McKinsey’s model isn’t so different from the traditional funnel; it tracks consumers as they refine their consideration set and narrow down to purchase – the difference being that the internet makes researching products so simple that the options in their consideration set become more fluid.

But theory and practice are different things and the beauty of the internet is that it is also shining a light on the messy process of consumer decision-making. All those thoughts which stayed private, those conversations and calculations that the wider world was never party to are revealed.

Take this IM exchange between friends discussing the purchase of a bkr water bottle. Both enlightening and entertaining, it highlights the power of peer influence above traditional marketing and the general to-ing and fro-ing involved in purchase process from what model and color to buy and the relative merits of different retailers. It is published with the kind permission of my friend Marji.

me: i just got one of these and LOVE IT

C: That is so weird – I have been thinking about getting that exact one! Like, for serious!

me: omg

C: So weird

me: i have strangely strong feelings for it

C: You are so weird

me: i talk about it frequently

C: I have it bookmarked

me: can you buy it now

C: I had it in my shopping cart the other day

me: get it! now

C: What color do you have?

me: NOW!

C: Can you get it through Amazon?

me: the deep purple its almost like a gray color

C: OK – I am going to buy it right now It’s on Amazon Prime Which is where I buy 99% of things

me: me too. but its so funny. i saw it in a shop in dumbo who sold it for two bucks more and felt so guilty about buying it from amazon so i went local.

C: Hahhahaha

me: and i made sure to tell the lady


me: i debated the situation for so long. i thought about where to make this purchase for DAYS. DAYS! what color are you getting. they are all so nice.

C: I can’t decide between the Julep and the Fog

me: i have space!


me: i like them both. julep is a touch more lively.

C: Is Space more purple or gray?

me: its definitely a purple color but as muted as you can get and i wanted some color.

C: Do they have coupon codes? And did you order directly though their site?

me: no i bought local at the store in dumbo lets talk about the bottle more seriously i love it

C: YES! Does it make drinking water more smooth And beautiful? What is your favorite thing about it?

me: well, i really like the openning what do you call that? and i LOVE that its glass and shape drives me bonkers. fun to hold the sleeve the water tastes better is Portland tap good? you’re buying it right now, aren’t you? pay attention to me lalalalalala you better go back and read all the words i took the pains to type

C: Portland tap is fine But not the best I filter it NY water is better And I was buying it

me: what color?

C: but then I decided to get it from Barre3

me: yes, the amazon colors are limited

C: I’m deciding between the color you got and the gray-ish one But maybe I don’t want to drink gray water so the teal one? Do you feel nervous about breaking it?

me: not the least though i’m sure it could break

C: OK – that’s good!

me: it is not fragile glass though

C: Is it heavy?

me: and if it breaks guess where i’m a goin’

C: To get another one??

me: yes ma’am

C: 🙂