The buying cycle is a complex experience from a consumer perspective. It involves emotion, anxiety, stress, needs, and wants. There are six phases that make up the buying cycle and the last is one that many people never consider. It is also a critical link for website design in Everett, WA. Let's explore.
The Six Phases of the Buying Cycle
- Step 1 — The identification of a problem, need or want - Why is the person shopping?
- Step 2 — Problem Solving - This is an informational search about how to solve the problem the shopper faces. This is a key portion of the buying cycle and one that must be met by sites through traditional and mobile technology. People look for information about their problem on desktop computers and mobile devices.
- Step 3 — Comparison of Solutions — There are often many ways to solve a problem and for shoppers that process can be intense. Consider how many brands of cold medicine, hatchback cars, or mountain bikes there are available. This stage is filled with anxiety and stress as shoppers burn out from information overload. Sites that makes it easy to sort information, have quality content and key product descriptions help to relieve both stress and anxiety while reducing abandon cart syndrome.
- Step 4 — Deciding to Purchase a Solution — Many eCommerce sites stop here and assume that the decision to purchase a solution that solves the shopper's problem is all they can do. There is a lot more work to actually sell the solution to the shopper. The decision to buy does not mean that the shopper will buy your product or even buy a solution at your store. What has happened in the mind of the shopper is that they have realized that the only solution is to buy something. They have not decided what to buy or gone through the process of sorting their options.
- Step 5 — The Purchase Process — For a consumer, there is still the fear that they are making the wrong decision. Is this product going to solve their problem? Is the price too high? Is the quality too low? There are still many unanswered questions that the shopper faces. Good site design removes those fears, shows them the path that solves their problem, and does so in a simplified and stress-free way. Social proof - customer testimonials - is one way to help reduce purchase-stress.
- Step 6 — Post Purchase Syndrome — Many eCommerce sites end the process after the customer has made the purchase. Sadly, what happens after the sale might be the most important tool an eCommerce site has. Good website design in Everett, WA must address this problem. Tools that help include easy to use evaluation of the product by the customer, referrals, discount for additional purchases, and many other tools that turn a single sale into repeat business.
Selling online is more than just having a website with a shopping cart. To be successful, the site must address the consumer and their needs. Doing so helps to increase sales, form lasting relationships with the consumer, and even to create situations where your customers become your biggest referral source.
Is your site supporting the six phases of buying? Check out our free site analysis tool. We help build quality sites that make selling easier for Everett, WA businesses.