The buying process
Today, we are going to talk about the buying process.
This may seem complicated, so we’ll come back to this in more detail at a later date…
So, what is the buying process?
In essence, it is a series of actions that happens between identifying there is a need for something, and actually making a purchase. It is, in effect, the decision making process that happens prior to purchase.
For small ticket items – ie low price such as a chocolate bar – the buying process is usually very quick. The time lag between consciously deciding you want chocolate and making a purchase takes very little time. You need to put aside how far away you are from a garage or shop selling chocolate!
The more expensive an item is, the more involved the buying process becomes:
Identifying a need: This can be triggered by seeing advertising/PR, a failure of an existing service or product, or a gap in the business/individual‘s life.
Looking for information: Actively seeking ideas to help narrow down the choice – again wider advertising and PR can help, but frankly in today’s market, this is more likely to be social media presence and blog/website.
In the business world exhibitions and trade shows are often used too. Packaging and display of products and even demonstrations are used to create impact at this stage with consumers.
Evaluating choices: Having narrowed the choice the buyer is now seeking additional information to help them make a purchase. At this point, warranties/guarantees, trials, testimonials and case studies all play a part.
Purchase: Making the final decision and making the purchase. At this stage, discounts, support from a sales/business development team, and reassurance of post purchase support can all affect the final decision.
Post purchase evaluation: When a purchase has been made the buyer is seeking reassurance that the decision they have made is the right one. The product or service needs to live up to expectations and the quality of the after sales care and support needs to be impressive. Testimonials and reviews from other happy customers can often help.
The way the evaluation after purchase has been handled can often lead to continued customer loyalty, with repeat purchases, referrals and positive reviews and testimonials. In essence, the kind of customer every business wants.
Whilst more people may be involved in the process and it may take longer, this description applies equally to both business to business and business to consumer companies.
Marketing plays a part in every stage in this process, so we will take a look at how this might work another time…