Consumer Buying Process – Contrary to popular perception, consumer buying is not a random process. Whether or not a purchase happens or a product appeal to a certain customer.
There is a distinctive set of steps that most customers go through before ending up buying your product.
While the purchase is just a single step, there are 6 stages preceding it, each highlighting a specific thought pattern the customer is experiencing now.
You would surprised to know that around 70-90% of the consumer buying process takes place before the purchase even happens.
That aside, even an impulse buy goes through all the stages of a buying process. It is clear enough that knowledge about this process can prove to be a treasure of wealth for a marketer.
Let’s understand the six stages of the consumer buying process below:
The first and most significant stage in the consumer buying process is where the customer realizes they need the product in question in the first place.
The customer must take a reason to believe that they want a product along the lines of yours, and this might not always be an organic necessity. Often, you must articulate this necessity in your marketing efforts, and ‘create the problem’ for them.
Put simply, you must initiate the buying process by instilling in the customer’s mind a sense of ‘need’ and ‘desire’ for your product.
Also you can use traditional marketing or PR, such as advertisements, to explain to the customer what the problem is and how your product can solve it.
Online businesses can effectively use content marketing, articulating the needs of your target audience, sharing facts and examples to strengthen your case, and offering helpful resources and tools.
Once you have incited the customer’s interest by convincing them of the problem, they will immediately start looking up solutions for the same. For a fact, information is readily available in today’s world. This has transformed the ‘Information Search’ stage massively.
Customers are now first looking online for solutions – on social media, blogs, streaming platforms, and eCommerce websites.
Also consultations with friends, family members, and colleagues come next. This gives marketers a glistening opportunity for driving more leads down the sales funnel.
If your product’s quality and outcomes can create a resounding impact on their own, both online platforms.
And people interacted with are sure to automatically become your brand advocates for free. Also makes it incredibly vital for you to focus on your product first.
Second, adopt consistent but quality marketing strategies to build a positive brand image, loyal community.
And authority among competitors in your niche. It must incredibly easy for customers to find you online and delve deeper into your product information. Some public relations firms Chicago can help you do just that.
Can sure to place extra emphasis on the reviews and feedback section, for it is here that customers tend to spend a lot of time trying to identify with your product.
It establish connections with experts and influencers in your field to secure some positive publicity. Apart from your product, also pay due emphasis on your customer service for the best feedback.
Evaluation of Alternatives
Not all customers arrive at a quick decision at once or settle for the first option they see. Most customers choose to weigh the different options before them, the pros and cons of each, the reviews, and the feedback.
At this stage, it is not as much about the actual quality of the product but about how the response and buzz to it are on the internet and how well-articulated its benefits/characteristics are.
Try offering greater value to the customer compared to the competitor to stand out in their eyes. This is possible only with effective communication and PR strategy in place, encompassing social media, brand websites, eCommerce platforms, and so on. Become a Google Trusted Store, advertise more partnerships and sponsors across web materials and marketing collaterals.
The purchase decision falls right in the middle of the 6-step long consumer buying process. By now, the customer has looked up sufficient information on your and other brands, explored the pros and cons of each, and evaluated pricing and payment options already. All they need to do now is decide whether to proceed with the purchase or not.
What the customer needs most now is a sense of security that you can provide to them through top-notch marketing. And remind customers of why they wanted to purchase your product in the first place. Also showcase your brand and the product in question in as much positive light as possible.
If a customer eventually decides to walk away, don’t lose heart. This is the best time during the entire process to lure them back into the cycle. You could opt for simple email reminders, push notifications (if the customer uses your mobile application), paid advertisements, and so on.
If a strong case in point has been created for the ‘need’, and the customer has been fed all the information, comparative evaluation.
And decisional data they were looking for, the customer will eventually move to the stage of making a purchase.
And still, the customer might feel lost. You never know if, in the last few moments, they decide to hop on an entirely different brand because it catches their eye. This makes marketing as important for the Purchase stage as it had been for the preceding ones.
However, now you must keep things simple, straightforward, and transparent. Simplify your brand’s online purchase process.
It ensure that load times are fast, there are not too many steps, and the entire experience is seamless both on the web and mobile applications.
It would be great to remind your customers of the benefits they are getting by purchasing from you. Use graphics, visuals, and texts to encourage the purchase decision throughout.
PR does not end with the product purchase. Customers will go back to their order. Also evaluate it thoroughly based on their earlier expectations and outcomes.
And decide how satisfied they are with your product. If things go awry, they may not just never use your product again but also possibly share negative reviews on it, influencing another consumer’s buying process.
The first thing to do here it take care of the product’s quality – make sure you deliver what you promise, and you promise what the customer is looking for.
Also next, ensure robust customer service and communications are in place. Also you should be available to talk to your customers and guide them whenever they need you.
Deploy follow-up emails and surveys to let the customer know that you value their experience and want it to be pleasant.
Lastly, always make sure that all your communications are hewn with respect for the customer, whether they request a refund, have negative reviews to offer.
And or express dissatisfaction with the purchase personally. Also treating them well during the post-purchase stage.
Also will make them more likely to come back for a different purchase even if this product is not what they were looking for.
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