Understanding Your Customer’s Buying Process
The customer buying process is quite simply an understanding of the customers journey when deciding to buy a product or service. Understanding your customers buying process is one of the most important elements to the success of any business or brand who is wanting to develop and entice more sales. It also enables you to develop better sales strategies and directions as your business grows.
The customer buying process is something that is commonly recognised and associated with John Dewey, who created a simple five step plan to understanding the customer buying process.
Identified as the most important and key element to the buying process. The customer must recognise the need or resolution your product or service provides to them. This is the solid framework that initiates the buying process from your customers. Your product can also trigger a buyer to take an interest by either internal stimuli (thirst or hunger) or external stimuli (advertising/word of mouth).
SEARCHING FOR INFORMATION
Once the customer has recognised their need or want for a certain product or service, they will begin to look for it. Modern technology ensures that your customers are continuously fed information about things they didn’t even know they want or need, so getting the information across to your customer should be no problem at all. Your buyer will search internal and external environments to ensure they get the information they are looking for. A buyer will most commonly use social media, print and word of mouth to fuel their need for information.
By this stage your buyer knows what they are looking for, but they’re not sure where to buy it from depending on the core attributes they require from the product or service, this could be, for example, cost, brand reputation or features. Those core attributes that they expect and desire from the product or services will have a heavy influence on their final purchase.
DECISION TO PURCHASE
By this point in the journey your buyer will know what they want, why they need it, what they’re prepared to buy to solve it and where they are going to buy it from. This penultimate stage can be effected negatively and drop straight back into the third stage of evaluation. These negative impacts on purchase are most likely to be bad feedback from other customers and the other negative impact could be general life changing issues to moving home or loss of income.
In short, a customer will recognise their needs or wants, gain information on the product or service, evaluate alternatives and eventually close the sale after making all of these crucial decisions. Now can the customer be retained? Could they be interested in something else? You can maintain a buyer’s trust and loyalty by delivering excellent service to them. This is crucial if you are interested in building regular clientele, and negative experiences can lead to bad feedback that could not only see the buyer never return, but anybody in their network and beyond can now pull information that you don’t treat your customers with care, thanks to review sites and social media.