“The buying process starts long before the actual purchase and continues long after. Therefore marketers must focus on the entire buying process, not just the purchase decision.” – Philip Kotler
WHAT IS THE CONSUMER BUYING CYCLE?
A consumer buying cycle, also known as the purchase cycle is the process a consumer goes through in order to make a purchase. The consumer buying cycle is a part of the study of consumer psychology the affects their buying pattern, ultimately affecting the sales of a business. A consumer in this cycle moves through a series of stages, analyzing and researching, and then makes the final purchase.
WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF THE CONSUMER BUYING CYCLE?
Let us understand the 5 stages of the consumer buying cycle in detail –
RECOGNITION OF NEED
The very first stage is the understanding of the need. The customers realize what are their requirements, what type of product or service they want.
Marketers’ move – Your role arises much before the customer’s need arises. Your marketing campaigns must spread awareness among customers about your product to such an extent that whenever they need something that your firm manufactures, it is your brand’s name that should come into their minds instantly.
After realizing what they need, customers search for information regarding their requirements. It means they now search in their scope, say internet, about the product or service that can satisfy their need. Here they conduct extensive research about the product or service, the manufacturing brands, usage, guarantee, warranty, etc.
Marketers’ move – Here the marketer’s job is to understand what the customer wants and provide them with solutions. You should explain everything about your product convincingly and confidently. Even the most little detail could play a huge part in your sale.
EVALUATION OF ALTERNATIVES
Information search yields a set of possible solutions to satisfy the need of the customer. Here, they analyze all the collected information, i.e, products that they want from different brands, and compare them with each other. They choose the best out of the set after comparing factors like – physical, logical, societal, functional, and financial.
Marketers’ move – Your job here is to persuade them to buy your product. Let them know other customers’ experiences, share product reviews with them. Earn the trust of your customer.
After going through all the stages, where the customer makes the final purchase of the chosen product or service.
Marketers’ move – It may seem to you that the deal is done, but no! This is not it. You need to be sincere with the customer even after they have made the purchase. Remember you have to gain their trust as that only can turn them into loyal customers.
POST-PURCHASE EVALUATION & SATISFACTION
At this stage, the customer has got the product and is excited to utilize it. This is a crucial step that decides whether this customer will repurchase something from the respective firm or not. If they like the product or the service then they will be satisfied and will repurchase from the firm but if they don’t like it they will be dissatisfied and will not repurchase and will also not recommend purchasing from that firm.
Marketers’ move – The purchase is done and the sale is complete but now is the time when your product will speak. Don’t make false claims at the beginning about the product just to sell it. Because doing this you are losing your potential customers. You can gain them even by telling everything that is genuine about your product and being sincere with them.
Moreover, this is when you have to put customer care over everything. Ask for your customers’ feedback and if they have some problem with the product help them out. Always remember customer satisfaction is what you are selling!
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS INFLUENCING CONSUMERS’ BEHAVIOUR?
There are primarily six such factors that influence the consumer behavior in regards to what they purchase and what they don’t –
People of the same age group tend to share values that are common and they influence each other and choices in many ways throughout life.
There are many products that are gender-based. Often marketing is done in a way that influences one gender or the other.
Price plays an important part in influencing customers to purchase goods from a firm. Customer buys the product that best suits their budget, i.e., the one that they can afford.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Friends and family values are also major factors in influencing one’s choices. People often ask for friends’ or family members’ opinions on a certain product or service. And hence tend to get influenced and can even change their opinions accordingly.
Culture influences people’s choices in ways like dressing, eating, thinking, etc. Customers almost always make purchases being in the boundaries of culture and ethnicity.
Geographical surroundings or the place of residence influences preferences within many product categories like clothing, entertainment, choice of technology, vehicle, etc.
Understanding the behavior of the consumer buying cycle and how you have to react to it can do wonders for your business.
There are many factors that influence consumer behavior, acting accordingly is the key to successful sale and marketing.