There are specific steps that a buyer takes from the time they meet your brand to the time they purchase your product. This is called the “buyer’s journey”, and it’s essential to understand this if you want your digital marketing to pay off.
The buyer’s journey is typically broken down into five distinct stages:
“My hand hurts”
In this first stage, consumers are aware that they have a problem that requires resolution. In search of a solution, they begin their search.
At this point in the buyer’s journey, consumers are likely to be seeking informational resources to better understand their problem. This means that searchers will likely be using general search terms… for example, “why does my knee hurt”.
This is why it’s important for merchants to produce content that will educate their potential buyers.
“My hand hurts because I may have arthritis. I’ll research medical options”
At this point in the process, the consumer has a general understanding of their problem and has become interested in finding a solution to what ails them.
During this stage, searchers are likely to become aware of various trends, brands and products that could potentially alleviate their issue. For merchants, this is the point in which their unique value proposition comes into play, showing how the company can tackle a consumer’s problem in an exceptional manner.
“I’ve decided I should see a specialist, and I’ve compiled a list of arthritis specialists near me”
At this point in the buyer’s journey, the consumer is aware of their problem, as well as several different products or companies that can solve their issue.
For the future buyer, this is the stage wherein they will compare and contrast their options to arrive at a purchasing decision. Now is when retailers can begin guiding consumers toward content that juxtaposes the brand’s offerings with that of their rivals, highlighting the ways in which the company’s solution is superior to other options on the market.
However, during this stage of the customer journey, consumers will also be seeking out advice from friends and family and reviews from existing customers. Therefore, it is imperative that retailers understand how to garner eCommerce reviews and showcase them on their websites.
It is important to understand that what all of the consumer’s research boils down to in this stage is a trust-building activity. They are looking for all sorts of evidence for trusting one brand or product over another.
As far as retailers are concerned, earning a customer’s trust is equivalent to reducing the lack of familiarity with the brand. This can be achieved in a multitude of ways, including (but not limited to):
- Blog content
- Video content
- Customer reviews and testimonials
- Product guarantees
- Excellent customer service options
- Professional on-site experience
“I’ve called and made an appointment with an arthritis specialist”
At this stage, the consumer has decided on the product they wish to purchase and proceed to place an order.
It is critical that merchants ensure that nothing stands in the way of them earning a sale once this decision has been made.
This means that retailers should verify that their site has an optimized checkout process, offers guest checkout options, features various payment options and the like.
Keep in mind that just because a consumer has decided to buy from a particular brand that the deal isn’t sealed until the order has been placed. The fact of the matter is that, according to abandoned cart data from the Baymard Institute, a whopping 73 percent of would-be buyers will end up ditching their cart due to one of two reasons:
- Extra fees (shipping, tax, etc.) are too high
- Forced account creation
- By removing these potential barriers to purchase, sellers can help to lock in a higher percentage of sales.
5. Post-Purchase Engagement
For most merchants looking to understand the buyer journey, the process ends with a sale.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The fact of the matter is that the post-sale relationship is even more important than gaining that initial purchase, as this is how retailers will optimize customer lifetime values.
Moreover, even though a shopper has made a purchase from the brand, they still hold the power to influence future customers. This means that retailers should absolutely have a post-purchase marketing plan in place.
It is critical to wow new customers with elements like:
- Automated shipping and delivery notifications
- A great unboxing experience
- Incentives to make a second purchase
- Follow-up emails to ensure customer satisfaction
- An ask to share feedback
I hope this guide has helped strategize your marketing a little bit. If you need help with your digital marketing, feel free to contact us!