The buying process for a customer is the journey in which a buyer goes through before deciding to purchase your product or service. It is important for salespeople to understand this process as it will help them improve their brand awareness, lead generation, and overall sales strategy accordingly.
These five stages of the consumer decision process is a great way to evaluate the buying process of people today.
Identifying a Problem or Recognising a Need
Often the first and most crucial step in the consumer decision process, people will have to realise that they have a problem or a need for something even before deciding to make a purchase. Such a need can be triggered through internal stimuli (such as with thirst or hunger) or through external means (such as with word of mouth or digital advertising).
After a person has recognised a need or a problem, their next stage could lead them to search for information about it. The buyer does this for them to identify and consider the information resources that are related to their buying decision. Potential customers may find such information in the form of print, online media, visual or through word of mouth.
Consideration of the Alternatives
As expected, people are going to evaluate the various brands and products by this point based on the alternative attributes of the said product – things that can provide the customer the same benefits they are looking for. One factor that can heavily affect this stage is the attitude of the customer.
Another factor is the involvement which influences the process of evaluation. For instance, a person with a positive attitude and high involvement will consider several brands or companies while the contrary would be the opposite.
The Purchase Decision
In all five stages, this one is the peak and is where the buying takes place. According to Philip Kotler, the final decision to buy something can be hindered by a couple of factors: namely the motivation levels of a person to receive feedback or getting negative reviews from other purchasers.
For instance, after going through the last three stages, a person decides they want to buy a new telescope. However, because a good friend of theirs gives a negative review of something they were looking to purchase, the person instead decides to change his preference.
Furthermore, this decision can also be stopped because of unforeseen and unwanted circumstances such as a relocation or a loss of livelihood.
Behaviour After the Purchase
To summarise this, customers are going to compare the product they have bought with their past expectations and will end up either satisfied or unhappy. It is there this stage that is important in keeping customers. The outcome here can also affect the buying process for similar decisions by the customer from the same brand down the road. If a person is satisfied, there is a high likelihood that they will patronise your product or service again in the future. If not, then you can simply expect them to not return.
How Digital Marketing Can Help Maximise These Areas
Companies that are competitive in the digital marketing world are able to effectively engage their target audience and convert them into loyal and satisfied customers. Digital marketing can improve the areas in the consumer decision process by:
By providing quality, relevant and valuable content for brand awareness, you will be able to attract and obtain more potential consumers. Effective digital marketing will be able to convert this audience into customers organically and eventually repeat clients. This can improve your lead generation significantly.
Leveraging the Consumer Decision Process
Quality digital content will engage potential consumers at the start of their journey and fostering their need and their desire to seek information. This will let you position your company as an authority and gain their trust moving forward. As your potential buyers evaluate the alternatives in front of them, your high-quality digital marketing content will show them why you’re the brand that deserves their attention the most.
Gain Customer Loyalty
One of your end-game goals is to gain customers who are loyal to your brand so that you have more opportunities for repeat business. Quality digital marketing can help put your business as the best choice for your customers when they researching and considering a potential purchase once again.
Eventually, you will be able to turn your happy customers into your brand’s ambassadors who will advertise your products and services to give your brand awareness a boost. Showing your social proof to your target market can significantly people’s buying decision when the time comes.