Buyer’s decision process: how can you help people to buy?
Buying a product or purchasing a service is not always an easy task. Most of the time, it is necessary to search for information, analyze costs and benefits, decide where and how to buy. To reach a final decision, the consumer goes through the purchase decision process.
The purchase decision process is a systematic model, representing the steps that the consumer goes through to purchase the product or service. The procedure lasts until the post-purchase moment.
Recognition of the problem
Awareness or recognition of a need or problem is the first step in a purchasing process. If you stop for a few seconds, you will understand why. However, this recognition can also happen with the help of external factors. Many people don’t know about their needs (hidden needs). There is an example, camera phone. People didn’t know that it is very cool to have a built-in camera. Also, it is very helpful. Now, most of us cannot do without the smartphone.
Much of your target audience doesn’t even know that such a solution exists, so you should help them recognize the problem. It is where your marketing actions must focus. What about common products? There are a lot of gaps which you can use. There are quality of service, time of delivery and other factors which can solve a customer’s problem. Identify your clients’ pains, problems and needs.
The purchase process begins internally.
Need is something indispensable and permanent for the human being. But the desire is an aspiration, an expectation to own or achieve something. The passion can be momentary, variable over time, and caused by an external stimulus.
For this reason, throughout the purchase decision process, it is essential to offer stimuli and experiences to the possible customer so that your brand stands out among the countless existing ones.
Companies must meet the needs and the wishes of consumers, as it is through the fulfillment of their desires that it will surprise and delight customers.
Consumer behavior: how is it related?
Consumers do not always go through all the steps when buying a product. People tend to look for more information and be more careful when purchasing. More routine purchases, such as supermarket items, do not require all this detailed process of steps.
To better understand consumer buying behavior, a series of questions are necessary, such as
Who buys my product or service?
Who makes the purchase decision?
Who or what factors influence the purchase decision?
Where do they buy or look for the product or service?
When do they buy? Are there seasonality factors?
What does the customer buy? What needs must be met?
Therefore, it is essential to understand the buyer’s behavior at each stage of the decision-making process to know what the primary needs to be met is and what efforts you must organize to meet them.
Search for information
An interested consumer tends to search for information before buying something. There are expectations relating to the product or service sought, besides the financial investment that will be made. In this way, the customer does not want to be disappointed.
The person is influenced by the type of product or service, retail factors, and involvement level. An interested consumer tends to seek more information through the –
- Personal sources: family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors,
- Commercial sources: advertising, salespeople, packaging labels, showcases,
- Public sources: media, internet, social networks.
As the Internet has become one of the primary sources of information and research, it is increasingly essential to have a digital presence. Through the collection of information, the consumer becomes aware of several competing brands and their attributes.
Besides, researchers and scholars point out that the world is moving towards the mobile-only era, in which information will be consumed only by mobile devices. Thus, digital transformation is the ideal path to be followed to facilitate the search for information. It’s time to grow your business.
But the Internet is a difficult field to promote any business.
These tips don’t guarantee success, but they will improve the chances of success.
If you know the customer’s needs and wishes, you can identify selling points. Selling points allow you to create content (text, video, audio) and to create a marketing strategy. In short words, marketing strategy is the simple explanation of how you can help your customers and why you are better than other companies.
Next step is to choose how you will deliver your content. The website is vital. You can find a lot of information about how to create a website for business in F5 Studio’s blog.
Of course, you need SEO (search engine optimization) services to help people find your site among many other sites.
Use additional ways to deliver your content such as online advertising (PPC), social media marketing, blogs, off-page SEO.
Let’s learn more about these steps.
Consideration of the product
In phase three of the purchase decision process, the customer has already decided which solution is ideal for their problems and will start looking for and buying suppliers to provide the service. Here, the prospective buyer will analyze who provides the answer he has chosen and identifies differentials and business variations from the main idea.
Your marketing team should focus on creating a large volume of materials that talk about the service or product, offering as much information as possible about the functionality provided. Landing pages with rich content will help turn the user into a lead.
It will enable an even more effective action with this contact by creating a flow of nutrition. Continue with less focus on your brand and more attention to customer needs and how you can help them.
- First, the consumer is trying to satisfy a need/desire.
- Second, it is looking for certain benefits in choosing the product.
- Third, he sees each product as a set of attributes with different capabilities to deliver benefits.
- Fourth, the consumer will pay more attention to the attributes that provide the benefits sought, such as price, quality, size, and color options, among others.
Evaluation of pre-purchase alternatives
The evaluation stage can also be known as the negotiation stage. Marketers need to be prepared to keep the customer interested while developing sales pitches for everyone involved in the company’s or customer’s purchase decision process. In this phase, some technical issues can be decisive for the closing or not of the deal:
- Available purchase channel (physical, online, or hybrid),
- Ease in the purchase process,
- User experience with the system,
- Fast and quality service,
- Support offer or not.
In the evaluation and decision-making process, the person uses subjective criteria to make his final choice. Faced with a set of options, the consumer begins to have his first perceptions about the brands. Then, it starts to consider the possible options that best meet the needs. Finally, he chooses a set of most desired brands to select the one that suits him best.
Decision making can be done on a planned basis or impulse. It varies about the level of involvement that the consumer has and with the type of product. Therefore, it is essential to know your audience’s profile and keep in mind your brand’s personas.
Thus, it will be easier to apply specific, plausible mechanisms. In any case, each individual is unique. Therefore, one must also make him believe that his brand’s solution is designed exclusively for that person. The more the consumer identifies with a product, the more chances of decision-making positively affect your organization.
At this moment, there may be cognitive dissonance after opting for an alternative. The customer will be dissatisfied and will demand the exchange or return if the experience is negative.
“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
― Abraham Lincoln
On the other hand, if he is satisfied with the knowledge, there is a good chance that he will purchase a similar product from the same company again.
When purchasing a product or service, the consumer automatically becomes a personal and public source to talk about your brand. Therefore, in this post-purchase moment, proximity to the customer must continue. After all, it can now bring in more consumers or drive away potential customers.
Many companies ignore this step and miss the opportunity to determine if the product could satisfy the customer’s needs and build a lasting and profitable relationship. Some tips for conquering the customer even after fulfilling their needs are: keep in touch, show concern for the feedback the customer has to offer, provide products and services aligned to the first need that made you know your brand.
Why is it important?
Much is said about purchasing behavior and factors that influence this decision. However, the truth is that most managers still do not understand why this is so important and what the real impacts that this information can generate for a company are. But it is necessary to change this mentality, identifying how this process can become increasingly strategic.
New consumer requirements: Consumers are increasingly demanding. Massive and invasive advertisements do not have the same effect as in the past. Companies need to reinvent themselves daily to understand and attract their customers in an increasingly personalized way. Therefore, knowing the process that involves the purchase decision and the factors that can directly influence this choice is no longer a differential to become an urgent need within your business.
Enchantment to build loyalty: Further study also facilitates understanding those factors that influence the purchase decision. Much more than just selling, companies need to seek the public’s enchantment, aiming at a stable relationship and significant loyalty, which can be considered a great challenge to be fulfilled by companies today.
Information is power: When you understand your customer’s needs and know how they behave, it becomes much easier to create specific and even more efficient strategies for them. With the right actions, it is possible to attract your audience at the right time and transform them into a real consumer audience of your brand. But, yes, there are ways to facilitate the customer buying decision process.
After-sales and shorter cycles
The stages of the purchase decision process are over, but the work never stops. That’s because a loyal customer is even more profitable for a company than a new customer. Besides, a satisfied customer has excellent potential to bring new customers to your company, either by direct referral or through testimonials, evaluations, and comments on digital platforms.
The goal is to encourage repeat business, eliminating the activation of the phases between need and purchase. After-sales support, suggestions for relevant content, and new services are part of this work. Take the opportunity to evaluate all stages of the sales process, and see what could have been better and made the process faster. Monitoring statistics will help your company and its departments to identify elements of the marketing strategy.
Even when we close a deal, we must seek to improve our procedures. Retain customers, encourage return, and make additional sales. Finally, remember that the purchase decision process is not linear. That is, a customer will not always walk step by step along the path we have described. Therefore, all of its actions must be well constructed and strategically designed to offer relevant information to potential customers, regardless of which stage each step was initially intended for now.
CRM software in the purchase decision process
During the steps, when you get to know your customer, it is necessary to use CRM software. With this technology, you will keep up with what stage the customer is in, ensuring that no prospects are left behind and forgotten by your sales team. CRM is beneficial for analyzing consumer buying behavior within each purchasing role and stage of the sales funnel. Including CRM software in your strategies is smart to attract, nurture, and convert personas present in the different stages of the purchase decision process.
What are the main influencing factors?
Now, to facilitate your research on your target audience’s behavior, we will list some factors that must be analyzed to improve your brand’s strategic planning.
Often, customs are determined by geographical location. What helps marketing actions in this regard is an expanded understanding of different cultures. When a group’s cultural values are taken into account, the results can be much more effective.
Another of the main factors that involve the consumer’s purchase decision is their social class. It determines that person’s position about some products or services due to their purchasing power and place in society.
There are essentially four psychological factors that influence consumers: motivation, perception, learning, and beliefs. We can say that reason is responsible for the consumer’s action. Perception is everything that involves impressions. Learning is related to previous experiences.
We cannot ignore the personality of each individual. It influences practically all aspects, directing professions, hobbies, relationships, fears, and desires. And it is possible to “divide” personality types into groups or behavioral profiles.
Age and stage of life
Age is also related to psychological factors. The approach that attracts a younger consumer should not be the same approach designed to captivate the elderly. It needs to shape itself to the stage of life of the audience that you want to reach.
Understanding how you want to reach the target audience and your interests will influence the customer’s purchase decision. Habits have a lot to do with future aspirations.
Consumer analysis must be extremely detailed if you want your marketing strategies to generate satisfactory results, not only for your business directly.
Do you need to have deep knowledge of marketing, psychology, culture or anthropology? No, you needn’t. Of course, it may help you in your business but you’d be better to have a marketing thinking. It means that you must meet the needs and the wishes of consumers, as it is through the fulfillment of their desires you will surprise, delight and attract customers. So, it is all about business success.
Okay, so another rule is the Platinum rule: “Treat others the way they would like to be treated.”