The purchase habits of your customers
The most common challenge faced by SMEs is the product or service accessibility as they often neglect that the purchase is to fulfil various needs – from self-actualisation, esteem and belonging – to safety and daily physiological needs.
Having said that, building an effective customer-oriented strategy requires businesses to understand their target audiences and identify the answer to one question: How do my customers buy?
Frequently, sales end up wasting resources in a trial-and-error exercise to reach the customer because the focus is on generating revenues.
In a modern world where the customers have numerous options, information, and solutions, you must readjust the business strategies to match the customer adoption process.
Studies in the field of behavioural science revealed that over 90% of our purchase decisions are of subconscious nature. Seeking to understand the depth of the product adoption process, we will take the example of a customer seeking to purchase a product to fulfil an elaborate need – for example, a tech solution or a piece of equipment. When starting the purchase journey, the customer enters a five-stage journey to fulfil the product acquisition.
The Awareness Stage is when the customer is exposed for the first time to a product but does not have sufficient data to make an immediate decision. Although desire is the main driver in the purchase process, their knowledge about the product is low. Businesses should follow a structured approach to helping the customer understand the product at this stage. The customer should perceive the Relative Advantage – the product’s unique features and advantages over existing products.
In The Interest Stage, the customer seeks and gains more information about the product. In this stage, the business should enhance Compatibility. It means that the product confirms at least 40% of customers’ expectations. Strong customer support is a must for a business selling a product with medium to high complexity – or whose interconnections with other needs are not instantly visible.
The customer then transitions to The Evaluation Stage, where their focus is on analysing the data they have collected so far. The businesses should offer a smooth transition forward by offering the customers comparative data to help them assess other alternatives. In this stage, the customers should be helped to perceive Complexity in a simple and structured way because this is the stage when the decisions take shape. The customers may decide to exit the purchasing process if they feel things are too complicated.
If the customer does not leave the process in the evaluation stage, they enter The Trial Stage, seeking related evidence. For example, they will want to understand if they need the product in the future, if they can use it for other purposes, or if it may last shorter or longer than initially assumed. The business should support this stage with warranties and insurances to sustain the customer’s decision and stimulate Divisibility – the perception that the product can be tested, and the customer can make a confident decision.
In the final stage – The Adoption – the customer finalises the purchase and seek group confirmation to ensure their decision was correct. It is our nature to pursue our peer’s confirmation when trying something new or acquiring a complex item. Businesses must use Communicability to certify that product adoption is visible, and the outcomes of product adoption can be communicated to others.
Every stage of the customer adoption process holds significant importance and should be carefully planned and monitored to ensure a natural transition towards product acquisition.
To conclude, if businesses focus their resources to understand the human universe and exiting behavioural patterns, then growth becomes a simple and predictable experience.