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Are you a business owner trying to find ways to increase sales?
There are many strategies you can implement to achieve that goal, from offering discounts to launching an advertising campaign. However, none of those strategies will be highly effective if you don’t have a good understanding of how the modern consumer makes buying decisions.
Today’s consumer has a wide range of options to choose from when they enter the market. When you know what the customer buying journey looks like, you’ll be better positioned to place your products right on their path.
So, where does this consumer buying journey start, and where does it end? What’s along the way?
Keep reading to find out!
The ‘I Have a Problem’ Stage
You started a business because you developed a product or service that solves a certain consumer problem. This means your target market chiefly comprises the consumers who’re facing that problem.
Looks like a straightforward path to those consumers, right?
Well, for some businesses, the path is clear. In other cases, however, consumers aren’t quite aware of the problem they’re facing.
For example, think of a customer who gets nauseous every time they eat bread.
Nausea can be caused by many different things, with gluten intolerance being one of them. So, it’s easy to see how they might not directly link their condition with bread.
Now, considering the fact that the modern consumer has easy access to information thanks to the internet, it won’t be long before they establish that food made from wheat, like bread, is gluten-rich. And right there, they realize that they’re probably intolerant to gluten, and it’s the bread making them feel nauseated.
The consumer has now become aware of their problem. They’re ready to move to the next step in the customer buying journey.
The Consideration Stage
It’s almost second nature for humans to try and find solutions to problems they’re facing. Some will try to fix the problem on their own (this is how some businesses are born – an entrepreneur was solving a unique problem they had, only to realize they can turn the solution into a commercial product).
The vast majority of consumers, though, don’t want to go through the trouble and will try to find solutions that are commercially available.
Sticking to the above case, the consumer will start considering if there are ways to prevent nausea after eating their beloved bread. Of course, there are several home and medical remedies, and the consumer might as well try a couple of them. But, they’re not really solving the problem; they’re only treating the symptoms of the problem.
So, the search for a permanent, effective solution continues.
The consumer might consider giving up the bread, but that’s easier said than done. When you love bread, you love bread.
Then, in one moment, the consumer wonders whether there is bread that’s 100% gluten-free. Surely, in a world where there are plant-based meat products, there must be gluten-free bread.
Just like that, they start scouring the market for bread that has no gluten. And, guess what, your business is a gluten-free bakery!
The Decision Stage
At this stage, the consumer has established that there are at least a handful of businesses offering the solution they’re looking for. This is the good news.
The bad news is the consumer is now faced with another problem – albeit a good problem. They have to do further research to find the provider with the solution that best solves the problem, and at a friendly cost. For gluten-intolerant consumers, the goal is to find a gluten-free bakery that makes the best gluten-free bread.
It’s at the decision stage that business owners like you need to strike. The consumer is going to make a list of the vendors and your primary aim is to ensure your business is number on that list. At the very least, you want your business to be anywhere on the list.
This begs the question: what can you do to position your business right in all the stages of the customer’s journey?
How to Travel Along With the Customer
Now that you’re done with customer journey mapping, it’s time to focus on taking actionable steps to make your product the customer’s top option.
In the first stage, the goal is to make your business resourceful to the consumer. You want to help them become aware of their problem.
If the consumer will use Google to learn more about their problem, as many would do, you want your business to show up high up in their search engine results.
Take the example of the gluten-free bakery. If you have a content marketing strategy, you probably have blog posts targeting people who feel nauseated when they eat baked foods.
An article titled “Why Do I Get Nauseous After Eating Bread” will do a good job of helping the consumer recognize their problem. Another article “Gluten-Free Alternatives for Bread Lovers” will help them know a solution to their problem exists.
So far, you’re doing a good job walking with the consumer. They don’t know it yet, but the more you’re being resourceful, the deeper you’re drawing them into your sales funnel.
However, it’s the last stage of the customer’s journey that presents major obstacles for you. Being resourceful is nice, but so are many other businesses. You have to assume the consumer looks beyond resourcefulness when settling on a vendor.
Here, a lot depends on your lead conversion efficiency. While they’re on your blog, what are you doing to send them over to the product page where they can see your products?
Are you offering any loyalty programs that can entice prospective customers? Go to Kobie.com to learn more about how to design a loyalty program that converts.
The Customer Buying Journey Traveled!
As a business owner, being familiar with the customer buying journey will lead you right to where you should be going: the consumer’s purse. But it’s not just about understanding the journey, it’s taking the right actions at every stage of the way; actions aimed at pulling the consumer closer.
Stay tuned to the business section of our blog for more useful tips and advice!