Back in the days of traditional advertising, before the days of social networking, the path-to-purchase was a clear and distinct road to follow:
awareness--> consideration--> preference--> purchase--> retention
Now that there are new realms to influence decision making, the brick and mortar, in-store marketing is taking a back seat to social media. So much can be done online, and every step of the purchase funnel now includes some aspect of online presence.
Shopper insights take the form of facebook posts, yelp reviews, product review websites. More than ever brands are finding new ways to get their message out there in more targeted forums that hit the consumer from every angle, rather than just radio, TV, print or OOH. This can be a positive point of sale for a brand and a free boost in a brand's image (through Word of Mouth), but can also pose a potential risk if consumers have even just one bad experience. Brand's beware, shoppers have a strong influence and voice today.