Have you ever thought what exactly makes you purchase products that you will never wear or use? Seemingly spontaneous decisions we are making in the process of buying something, in fact, are influenced by so many elements of our life that some of these factors are secret even for us and most of them, of course, are subconscious. People, in general, have the ability to buy things depending on their functional, cultural, social, psychological, personal and other mixed factors. Say I am visiting a website and they have a special offer, I will be interested in buying something which I will not be able to buy any other day, that sounds like a good opportunity, even if I don’t need that particular product probably I will try to rethink. For example, the website offers a Star Wars mug for $15 and combo Star Wars mug and Star Wars travel mug for $27. If I don’t need both more likely I will choose the mug alone. If there was a third option, like Star Wars travel mug alone for $15 more likely I will choose combo. Why? The answer is simple I will see a good opportunity to save $3 on both mugs together. How amazing as it is but the third option makes a difference. You can have dozens of Star Wars travel mugs but whenever you see the opportunity to save even $3 it is hard to resist and this is only one example. How does this happen?
How Consumers Make Product Purchase Decisions
Sometimes consumers purchase decisions might seem irrational for someone else but for the consumer himself, it always seems rational in the moment of making a purchase. Let’s take a close look at the consumer buying process. Why do you need to know about this process in the first place you may ask. The answer is simple, as a business, you have to be aware of every step that consumers take before and even after purchasing your product or service in order to help, send your messages and influence the process.
1. Problem Awareness
In the first step as a consumer, we start to understand that we have a problem or a need that has to be solved or fulfilled. At this particular step, advertising can play a major role not only in cultivating people’s needs but also in creating it. Especially in the age of consumerism where people always feel like their needs are unmet. There are always better cars, fancier smartphones with the new features, new electronics that do so many things you couldn’t even imagine. Advertising directly speaks with our ego, encouraging us to buy things that we might not really need but our egos need to feel more confident, to fill the void inside us and feel more beautiful and cool. You have to buy to fit and we always try to fit somewhere even if it’s not what we really need.
When the problem is recognized we do a research in the process of which different sources can be used. We use search engines, visit different websites, read relevant reviews, discuss ideas with friends and family. Also, we consider our own experience with different companies, brands, and services and discard the ones we weren’t unhappy about. This is where your brand awareness and trustworthiness can be helpful. The more people are happy about your product or services the more “points” you get in this step of the buyer’s journey process.
In this step you evaluate all available alternatives in order to make the purchasing decision. Surprisingly, the most important role in this step plays the opinion of other customers. We are more likely to purchase a product that was used by someone else before, rather than the one that was not used by our close friends or acquaintances. This is the main reason why companies use influencers for advertising their products on social media for different cultural and social circles. Not only this kind of advertising helps your business in targeting the right audience, but it also raises trustworthiness of your product or service on almost all steps of the buyer’s journey.
Also, highlighting all your success stories on your website can make your product more appealing and trustworthy for the potential customers, especially if you had some interesting stories with well-known brands and companies.
This is the step when we finally purchase the product or service. Despite all these steps we have made, engaging in the process of purchase and our motives can vary from totally irrational and self-centered to logical, beneficial and even altruistic. We can buy a nice dress after breaking up with a boyfriend in order to feel beautiful or purchase the latest iPhone to feel important, cool and up to date. Same way we can purchase solar panels for our house and give more money in order to save planet.
5. Post-purchase Behavior
Actually, buyer’s journey never ends after consumers purchase decision, as most people might think. If you want your product and service to become more popular you have to create your product or service fans and ambassadors if you will. What can make them consume more and more of your product? Of course, the quality and the problem-solving ability of your product however that does not end there. You have to realize that after purchasing an expensive product, consumer might feel cognitive dissonance or buyer remorse. We might rethink whether this product was worth the money we have spent on, or whether this dress really makes me beautiful, weather this iPhone indeed makes me happy or helps to fill the void inside me or this was just another wrong way of solving my problem.
In case we feel unhappy again we try to return the product or if it doesn’t meet our needs we are more likely to write a bad review and complain about it to our friends and other potential consumers. This is why you have to thank and congratulate us for purchasing this product not only by sending a personalized follow up email but also with the reminding how lucky we are for owning this particular product and with the reminding why we made this purchase decision. In stores this can be discount cards, different coupons and even gift cards.
As you can see, going through consumers buyer’s journey helps your business in sending right messages to your leads and convert them into your loyal customers in every step of this process. The right way to promote your product is concentrating on what makes your product better and why does it solve the problem or if it indeed solves the problem. The main message must be clear and understandable to the consumer. This is why companies use short mottoes or slogans to send clear and understandable messages about what exact problem they are solving and why particularly their product or service is worth purchasing and costs effective.