Understand the Consumer Buying Process

Why You Need to Understand the Consumer Buying Process

There are many benefits to Understand the Consumer Buying Process.

The more you can understand the consumer buying process, the more success you will have with your business.  

Effective marketing is about delivering the right message at the right time.  In order to do this effectively, you need to understand how the buying process has evolved and what it looks like today.  

If you Understand the Consumer Buying Process, you can influence consumers at key points along the way and ultimately convert them into paying customers.

Technology has changed the consumer landscape

Prior to the internet, the consumer buying process was simple.  Consumers experienced ads on billboards, television, radio, and in newspapers and magazines.  They walked into a store and decided to buy something on the spot.

Often decisions were made based on brand reputation, or how convincing a salesperson was.  The research was minimal, buying options were limited, and the whole process was more simple and straightforward than it is today.

While the online consumer buying process remains similar at the fundamental level, as we go into 2019, it has evolved along with technology to become more complex.  Consumer attention is spread across a variety of devices, online channels, and platforms.

Generally, there are many buying options for any given product or service, with an endless amount of relevant information and reviews.  As a result, consumers often do a significant amount of research prior to making a purchase, sometimes taking multiple months to do so.

Check out this case study where a woman engaged in over 900 digital interactions throughout her journey to leasing a new car.  

Customers will also experience post-purchase interactions with brands to further their relationship.  Often in the form of promotional emails, retargeting ads, and on social media. I am sure you can now see how its important to Understand the Consumer Buying Process.

What this all boils down to, is that you have many opportunities to interact with consumers throughout their buying process.  On various websites, Google, Youtube, social media, and via email you have the ability to connect with potential customers along their buying journey to help them realize why they want to do business with you.

Understand the Consumer Buying Process: Data and insight

While the consumer buying process has evolved to become more complex, as marketers, we have increasingly more consumer data and insight at our disposal and this can for sure help Understand the Consumer Buying Process. 

Insight into consumer demographics, online behavior, decision making around purchases, and much more.  As someone doing business online, it’s a good idea to harness all of this data and integrate it into your marketing strategy.  

This will allow you to understand where your customers are in their buyer’s journey so that you can target them with the right marketing at the right time.

Understand the Consumer Buying Process: Stages of the consumer buying process

Hubspot’s Inbound Methodology breaks down the buyer’s journey into 3 stages: awareness, consideration, and decision.  

The awareness stage is when a consumer begins experiencing a problem or opportunity.  For example, the seasons are changing and you start to feel like you don’t have enough cold weather clothes that fit you.  

The consideration stage is when you acknowledge that you need to buy some new clothes.  You might begin to think about brands that you’ve enjoyed in the past and start browsing their online shops.  If you happen to be more fashion-forward, you might do some research into current trends, styles, and brands.

From there, you’ll move into the decision stage.  Here, you’ll have assessed your range of options, and narrowed them down to what best suits your situation and preferences.  You might have figured out exactly what few brands you really like.

If you’re shopping exclusively online, you might have even placed an order to try on clothes and return what doesn’t fit.  This is the phase where you’re ready to make a final purchase decision.

Here is another model which breaks down the process into six stages, but generally follows the same pattern.

Now that you understand the stages of the buyer’s journey, you can place yourself in the consumer’s shoes and think about the impact that different marketing tactics can have at the different stages.

The right messaging for the right stage

If a customer is at the beginning of the journey, a display ad with a coupon might be getting ahead of them.  However, an educational social media/blog post might catch their attention and help guide them in the direction of finding a solution and making a purchase. It’s important to Understand the Consumer Buying Process and market to people the right way that will attract their attention. 

Perhaps you have prospects that have abandoned their carts at the last minute.  Retargeting them with a coupon code, or free shipping might grease the wheels and allow them to follow through with their purchase.

Hopefully, the gears in your head are beginning to turn, and you’re starting to think about the mindset of your prospects throughout the different stages of their journey.  Consider what online platforms and channels they use, and which are most appropriate for their current stage.

Combine that understanding with detailed consumer data and insight, and you can develop a sophisticated and effective marketing strategy that delivers targeted and hyper-relevant messaging which resonates with the consumer.

Contact Us to learn how we can help you connect with your customers at every step of the way.  We’ll help you build a data-driven and targeted digital strategy to achieve your business goals. Or, learn more about our services today.