The Basics of the Consumer Buying Process

The Basics of the Consumer Buying Process

The big question in marketing is how to get a customer to purchase something, and more importantly, YOUR something. However, the answer to that question is a little bit more difficult to answer and changes constantly with new trends, new generations, and new patterns of behavior.  So, how can a company use the consumer buying process to their advantage?  Well, we’ll tell you:

Acknowledge Need

The first vital step in the consumer buying process is knowing that they have a need for said product.  Without any sense of need, there’s no reason someone should seek you out.  And, for a new product, or simply a product that is lesser known, you have to proactively tell customers that they need it.  Even if it’s a well-known product with a well-known need, sometimes we need to reinforce that need.  And, that’s where we enter with advertising and marketing.  

Information Search

Once a need has been established, customers will then proceed to do some research.  Now, customers have been doing research for years and years, but in the past decade, research has changed drastically.  Now, when a customer walks into an appliance store, they’ve already looked at dozens of reviews online, read a few articles, watched a few videos, researched reviews of the best store to go to for customer service, and then finally decided to walk in.  Consumers today have more information at their fingertips than ever before and it’s making them a more educated shopper.  

Armed with this knowledge of consumers, those in sales should use this to their advantage.  Featuring top reviews by others or showing videos made by 3rd party sources can help consumers trust you automatically and do a little less research.

Evaluation of Alternatives

In today’s digital world, considering other alternatives sometimes happens simultaneously with the information search.  Review sites make it easy to compare alternatives and get input.  Social media makes it easy to crowdsource for word-of-mouth testimonials and comparisons.  Consumers are smart these days.  Don’t insult their intelligence.  Instead, lay out the competitive features that you have in your marketing.  Don’t wait for them to have to dig for those because they may find an alternative in the meantime.

Purchase Decision

This is the golden moment, right? We are all focused on the sale, and when it happens many companies stop there.  Those that do, miss out on a lot.  You see, today’s consumers have spent a lot of time getting to this point and by the time they do, they’ve already put up a lot of trust in your company.  This is a great time to give them a limited time offer on an up-sell product or service.  Or, you can get them in a funnel for future new releases or specials.  If you focus on the longterm game, you’ll realize that customers that have converted already are one step closer to buying something else from you either now or in the near future.  

Post-Purchase Behavior

Once the sale is done, you are not off the hook.  Yes, you can breathe a sigh of relief, but you can also do a lot to enhance customer behavior.  Requests for reviews are one of the big opportunities in the post-purchase timeframe.  Thank you gifts in terms of coupons or special offers, or entries into giveaways are all great things to further enhance the customer’s good feelings toward your company.  If you nurture these relationship well, you’ll have more word of mouth customers walking in your door and more repeat business as a whole.  

Today’s consumers are more plugged-in and informed than ever before, which means you need to be savvy in your digital marketing.  You need to play into this and use these behavioral trends to your advantage in your email marketing, digital ads, and more.