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Customer Decision Journey: How Customers Make Decisions

Customer Decision Journey
Source: Unsplash

Often, it is a misconception the people assume that purchasing is the crucial most stage in a customer decision journey. But that is not true. In fact, each of the steps involved in the customer decision making procedure has its own importance and prominence. And they individually contribute to the final decision of the customer. 

A customer doesn’t just decide to buy right away. Most of the time, the buying behavior of a customer is determined by a certain number of factors. It could be price, usability, functionality, or affordability as well. You need to see the scenario from a customer’s perspective. Know what are they looking for? Ascertain how you can solve their need. And how wreathing a service bond with you going to help them?

Every day, your target audience gets impressions about your brands from various touchpoints. It can include but not limited to websites, newspapers, leaflets, friends, or product experiences. So what is the mechanism behind the trigger to buy? And how does a client end up buying? Let’s get straight into the answers.

What is the Customer Decision Journey?

The customer decision journey is defined as the journey by which a customer begins from a potential prospect to a loyal fan. It begins with he being cognizant of his needs. Then he collects substantial information related to the same and tries to solve his needs. In the process, he might stumble across some alternatives or competitions as well. And finally lands on a purchasing decision.

Before a customer reaches the end of this customer decision journey and hits purchase, these are the stages he crosses on:

  1. Awareness
  2. Familiarity
  3. Consideration
  4. Purchase
  5. Loyalty

These five primary stages represent the potential battlegrounds where the influence of making the final decision matters. But what function does each of the stages play? And how is each important in the customer decision journey? Let’s dig into details.

1. Awareness

This is the first stage and is all about creating awareness. In order to define the decision journey for a client, you will have to address your prospect’s pain points and try to build brand awareness in the process.

Note that almost all purchases are driven by emotional or psychological needs. The causes behind these needs could either be function or social. Begin with building a strong online presence. Optimize your keywords and strategize your content.

A well-researched content will give you complete leverage to do so. Having done that, you can create e-books, editorials, white papers, and blog posts that zero in on about outlining specific issues that your potential prospects are facing at the moment.

2. Familiarity

Say, you want to buy some mascara or curlers. You as a consumer will mostly be having a few beauty brands on your tips to reckon from. For instance, LakmeHuda BeautySephora, etc. Generally, when a customer faces no paucity of products and brands around, they end up bookmarking some of the final choices. And that is why having familiarity with the brand always gives you a higher edge. Remember this stage is all about, marketing your content which is solution-focused. You are not pitching your product, nor the service. You are just positioning yourself in the market as a learned industry expert who knows how to deal and later produce solutions to a potential prospect of yours.

Customer Decision Journey - Consideration
Source: Unsplash

3. Consideration

This is the stage where your customer has done his homework. It is now time for them to evaluate their decision and see if there are any relatable alternatives. Now the final product that they wish to consider will depend on two factors:

  • Objectivity: Price, Ease, Affordability, Facets
  • Subjectivity: Impressions, Reviews, Feelings

Boosting customer trust is utterly important in this stage. Adding a review section on your homepage can work in your favor. This increases the viewer’s time on your page and thereby cuts down on the bounce rate. Further, this increases their likelihood of imbuing a positive customer experience of your brand and finally hits purchase.

4. Purchase

This is deemed as the most important stage of the five stages. Here is what we call as ‘money-time’. This is the stage where you get to know whether they are going to convert or not.

Remember you need to focus on not letting the customer distract from completing a purchase. It could be possible that a shopper might abandon his cart. He may end up going away and not reverting. Therefore, your goal right now is to ensure that he completes a purchase from you.

5. Loyalty

If a customer is really happy with your product or service, they will most likely revert. The final stage of the customer decision journey brings you the chance of coming back to you. So what can you do in this case?

If met with good customer service, a client might leave a positive review on your site. Also, it would not hurt if you push the nudge. Simply put, you too can request them to fill out a customer feedback form and know their reviews.

Note that in your post-purchase email, you need to keep that as easy and less time consuming as possible. Who knows, seeing an email after a purchase can augment them to get back for some more? Therefore, value your customers and they will value you back.

That’s a Wrap

The way how you see your brand from a customer’s perspective can make profound changes. Your core goal as a marketer should be about giving your clients all the support and information to reach the right product at the right time.

Aside from this, brush up on some of the basics. Market ResearchProduct DevelopmentData Management to top the list. Learn how to unify these elements and in no time you will see loyal brand advocates.

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