One of the most important functions of any marketer is to reach out to a buyer when it matters the most. And we can all agree that getting a prospect to convert is always worth the effort. But, moving shoppers through the buyer’s journey can be time-consuming and increase the cost.
And digital commerce, or eCommerce as we know it, has become a staple, especially after the pandemic. It has become a never-ending race of acquiring new buyers and creating various strategies to keep them hooked.
Today, we will look into customer acquisition, specifically accelerating and optimizing eCommerce’s buyer purchase decision process.
The Different Stages of Buyer Purchase Decision Timeline
In any buyer’s journey, the purchase decision process can be split into 3 sub-stages:
- Awareness: At this stage, your (marketer) primary goal is to attract your store’s potential prospect.
- Consideration: At this stage, there is a show of intent from the prospect to purchase the product. As a result, the prospect might do a competitor analysis before moving forward.
- Decision: After thoughtful consideration, the prospect has decided to purchase your product. Be wary that it’s still possible to lose them at this stage in the journey.
Goal: Create collaterals to improve your brand’s visibility and discovery and attract more prospects to your website and app.
At this stage of the buyer purchase decision process, the prospect needs to realize they have a problem. At this stage, brands have to educate and attract a potential buyer to their website, mobile app, and other customer-facing interfaces to be added as a lead. Brands should focus on creating collaterals that improve their visibility during this stage of the process. So when they move to the consideration stage, they remember your brand.
Let’s get started —
1. Use Paid and Retargeted Advertising
If you are not leveraging paid and retargeting advertising, you could be missing out on significant growth. Paid advertising is a great way to increase brand awareness and attract more eyeballs to your store.
Since your prospects are already on platforms like Google, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines, there is a high chance that they are also on social media. Why not meet them there?
When a consumer is in research mode, they are constantly looking for solutions across the web, and at that time, search engines and review forums are the most important channels for acquiring prospects. By serving ads on these networks such as Google, Facebook, and review forums, you can expect more people to visit your store to check out your products.
2. Create a Social Media Strategy
This point resonates with our last point above; if people are already on social media, why not meet them there?
Successful retail brands have made noise in this incredibly crowded market through innovative social media strategies. Think about your favorite brands and observe how they add the extra something that makes them different.
If you’re looking for some direction, you can start with frequently posting on social media, create posters, posts, and more that becomes your brand’s tone. It’s key to maintain your brand’s style, as it sets up a meaningful relationship with your audience.
We would actually suggest creating a posting cadence, maintaining a calendar. Maybe you can also leverage platforms like Buffer, which allow you to integrate all your accounts in one place, maintain a social media calendar, and automate each post.
3. Adopt an Omnichannel Approach
Today’s consumers are not tied to their desks anymore. Modern-day consumers have the choice and luxury to shop online through various channels, whether it’s on their mobile device while commuting to their office or from the comfort of their couch. Therefore brands need to refocus on adopting an omnichannel approach to their marketing strategy.
By adopting omnichannel platforms like Vizury, brands can create campaigns from the get-go that would segment their audience based on their inquisitiveness and urgency towards finding the apt solution. And brands can utilize these data-sets to communicate with their audience based on their preferred devices, mediums, and channels.
In fact, in a paper by Deloitte UK, brands that utilize an omnichannel presence model could capture 8% of the entire market, with revenue approximations around $220 million from the increase in market share.
Goal: To showcase clear value propositions, differentiators and streamline your online presence, making it easier for your prospects to understand how your solution could help them solve their problem?
At this stage, your prospects are actively engaged in researching which solution fits their needs. They’ll evaluate all their options thoroughly before coming to decisions. So you must have all the relevant information to help make the prospects a decision in your favor.
5. Evaluate your Value Proposition
The first thing to relook at is your value proposition. Put yourself in their shoes and think on these lines:
- What does this brand provide me?
- What are the benefits of this brand over others?
- What does post-sales positioning seem like?
For every transaction between you and your customer, you create a relationship.
Therefore it’s important to have a clear value proposition based on the learnings you might have gained from your existing customers.
When reevaluating your value proposition, focus on synergizing these four points into one core proposition:
- Clarity: Showcase what the product is intended to do, how it solves the problem, and how easy it is to use.
- Appeal: This is what differentiates your product from competitors. Try to highlight product uniqueness, competitive pricing, technological advantage, features, capabilities, and more.
- Credibility: No matter how well your product is, it wouldn’t matter if your existing customers aren’t ardent advocates of your offering. Highlight customer reviews, customer stories, reach out to old customers and ask them to share the appreciation on social media. Build a buzz around your product.
- Exclusivity: People are attracted to a brand, not just your product. Let’s look at two examples, Apple iPhone and OnePlus phones. Apple attracts people mostly looking at luxury and status symbol-based products. Whereas, OnePlus has a hardcore userbase of customers looking to get the best for the money they are willing to spend.
So create your own exclusivity. Some of the ways to showcase this is by adding logos of the brands that are customers of yours, consumer forum ratings, customer satisfaction ratings, unique features, and exclusive programs or products available on your store.
6. Optimize Your Buyer Journey Funnels, Digital Channels and CTAs
Another key area for focus is your user onboarding — prospect, customer, and even your first-time visitors — which could set the entire buyers’ journey.
This is where, as a marketer, you should focus on crafting tailored customer experiences, optimize every digital channel based on user behavior, creating user segments, and display relevant CTAs based on historical data. For example, if you have a specific paid advertisement on Google search, your landing page should resonate with the paid advertising and have an appropriate CTA to ensure that the visitor signs up.
7. Leverage Push Messaging and Email Marketing
Push messaging and email marketing are two effective ways to accelerate your buyer’s purchase decision. These channels are a great way to nurture your most important customer through the purchase cycle. This could be done by utilizing these channels to send relevant content and offers at the right time based on the stage of your customer’s journey.
Not just that, but the platform can automatically help marketers segment each member into different buckets based on their activity, which makes it a lot easier for marketers to automate nurture programs for a prospect no matter at which stage they are.
Goal: To ensure that the favorable decision in your favor doesn’t change. As it’s still possible to lose a sale at this stage due to any unforeseen circumstances or slip-ups.
This is it! You have successfully worked out some marketing magic and moved your prospects towards making a purchase. But, as we said, there are still things that need to be taken care of to ensure the transaction goes smoothly. So let’s look at them now.
8. Focus on a 1:1 Approach
At this stage, adding a personal human touch could really be the difference between a sales win or lose. Reach out to your customers who are in the process of buying or checking out, and let them know that you are there if they require any sort of assistance.
And also, convey that you’ll be available to ensure that the customer has no issues when with their product regarding usage, adoption, and onboarding. At this time, a phone call, an SMS, or a WhatsApp business message is more appropriate than sending an email.
A small touch of personal reach out could be a great way to forge a lasting customer relationship.
And even if they decide that your business is not the right fit for what they are looking for, it’s not a total waste of your time because you would have learned what your product’s fallacies and how you could improve your product’s appeal.
9. Personalized Offers and Discounts
We all love saving money, don’t we? Offering a personalized discount or offer to your customer like 10% off on your next purchase or free shipping can be extremely beneficial at this stage, especially if your potential customer is almost at the cusp of committing.
Add a touch of personalization to these offers by providing them an exclusive discount code or offer code and portraying this as a one-time offer for a limited time.
10. Post Purchase Customer Support
Brands should not be content after a successful sale. In fact, post-purchase activity is critical to forge long-term relationships with your customers. This could be implemented by adopting programs like:
- A customer loyalty program – Leading brands like Starbucks, Dollar Shave Company, Blue Apron, and others have stellar customer loyalty programs that reward customers for repeat purchases. These rewards are cleverly placed to encourage repeat purchases and also add value to the customer’s journey. For example, once you achieve gold status on your Starbucks rewards program, you are eligible for a free drink every month and 5% off on all your purchases.
- Routine Check-ups and reminders – Being proactive post-sales can be a huge benefit to your business when it comes to retention. If the sold product requires regular maintenance, is nearing the end of its life cycle, and isn’t being properly utilized, a proactive outreach program can help your customers feel valued and help them get back on track.
- Running a Net Promoter Score Campaign – A net promoter score is a feedback program where a customer rates your business, services, or product on a scale of 0-10. With 0-6 being detractors, who can impede your growth by negative word of mouth. 7-8, being passive customers who are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings. 9-10, being promoters, who are loyalists performing frequent repeat purchases and refer others, as well as promote your business through positive word of mouth on social media and among their peers.
Some leading examples in this space are Bose, Apple, and Amazon, who all go above and beyond to ensure that their customers have an excellent after-sales experience and utilize the most from their purchase.
11. Use Conversational Commerce Channels to Engage with Customers
There’s a lot of buzz around conversational commerce these days, and for a good reason. Conversational commerce, or commerce via chat apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger, LINE, and others, is skyrocketing.
And why not? In today’s omnichannel world of texts, chats, tweets, and others, consumers increasingly want to interact with businesses the same way they interact with their friends and family. Today conversational apps have a user base of over 2 billion people.
Plus, the biggest differentiator lies in the fact that these channels are by nature a 1:1 interaction medium. Therefore during the decision phase, reaching out to customers through this channel is could be the difference between success and failure.
Chat messages are the most likely form of messaging that won’t go unnoticed by your customers and also helps them identify the after-sales support channel that’s right there in their favorite messaging app.
12. Create a Customer Loyalty Program
Building on our last point, marketing efforts aren’t finished once someone converts. Actually, 5% of customer retention generates 80% more revenue in comparison to acquiring new customers.
Creating a loyalty program that rewards customers for each of their purchases can improve your revenue numbers massively. In fact, a report suggests that 82.4% of shoppers are more likely to purchase from brands that offer rewards integrated into their loyalty program.
The Purchase Decision Takeaway
At first glance, the purchase decision timeline could seem quite simple, yet the sheer amount of intricacies that we neglect could be the factor that derails your conversion rates and flatlines your revenue.
We hope that this blog helps you streamline your purchase decision process and your leads and prospects move effortlessly through your sales funnel. If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].