OnlineShopping1When a customer makes the decision to purchase something, he or she subconsciously goes through “the buying cycle.” A five-stage cycle that ultimately helps them find the product that they are seeking, and the business from which to purchase. Additionally, the cycle also determines if the customer will return to make future purchase at the establishment.

As a business owner, it is up to you to use the customer’s buying cycle to grow your company. You have to make a continual effort to ensure that every customer who is seeking your products, chooses you over your competition — and also keeps coming back for more.

Understanding the 5 Stage Buying Cycle:

Awareness, research, comparison, purchase and retention — these are the five stages of the customer’s buying cycle. First, the customer becomes aware of the need for a specific product, then the customer begins to research, using keywords and phrases to find a business that can fulfill the need. The customer then compares between like-businesses and uses his/her’s emotions to choose one over the other. The customer then visits the storefront to make the purchase or purchases from the company’s eStore. And, at the end, hopefully, the overall shopping experience leads to future purchases.

Using The Customer Buying Cycle to Generate More Sales:

Build a strong online presence: The first step to tapping into the customer’s buying cycle is to have a strong online presence. You want your business to be the first choice when customers start researching. To have a strong online presence, you have to build a beautiful website as well as complementary social pages. Your SEO content should be peppered with buyer’s keywords so that it comes up in search. For example, if you are selling ceramic tea cups then your content should contain keywords such as “ceramic tea cups,” “compare ceramic tea cups,” “types of ceramic tea cups,” and “purchase ceramic tea cups.” The pictures on your website and social profiles should be clean and crisp. Additionally, your business should be listed in every yellow page, directory and review site available so that your storefront can be found easily.

Highlight coupons and deals: In the comparing stage of the buying cycle the customers are looking for unique qualities that will sway them in the right direction — here is where coupons and deals come in handy. Offer valuable deals to help secure the purchase.

Market at your storefront: It is not enough to get potential customers into your storefront, you have to highlight the reasons why they should browse and buy more than they intended. Promote your products by housing “hot items” at eye level and placing a cardboard counter display at the checkout counter filled with useful items.

Streamline checkout: The checkout process, both online and off should be quick, secure, and efficient. Make sure that your online shopping cart is error free and easy to use and create a streamlined, well-organized storefront checkout so that the customers leave happy.

Incentive to return: Repeat customers are the best because they value the products that you are offering and they value your establishment for continuously fulfilling their needs. It is important that you give your customers reasons to keep coming back. You can offer special coupons to use upon return or invite them to join your loyalty program that would reward them with money off, prizes or branded freebies for returning a certain number of times.

It’s not enough to build a store and offer valuable products – to see success you have to reach out and grab the attention of your target market. Understanding the customer’s buying cycle gives you the inside information you need to highlight, promote and secure lucrative sales and repeat customers.