The goal of every company operating on the market is to sell. However, before a potential customer makes a purchase decision, he identifies the need, does research and analyzes the collected information. These stages in business are called the purchasing process. What exactly is the purchasing process? What is the significance of customer segmentation for this phenomenon? We advise!
What is the purchasing process?
The purchasing process is a set of stages that the consumer goes through before making a decision to buy a specific product. Roger Cox and Violetta Pajewska rightly point out in their publication "Retail Management" that the purchasing process is basically a decision-making process designed to provide a solution to a given problem. First, the potential client realizes that he or she has a need. I identify this need, look for information about it, and ultimately fulfill it by purchasing a specific good.
5 stages of the purchasing process
From the above definition it follows that the purchasing process is divided into 3 stages:
- identification of a need, or recognition of a problem,
- searching for information,
- making a purchase.
We can extend the process by two additional stages. After searching for information, it is analyzed, and after the purchase - the customer uses the product and evaluates it.
Every purchase process starts with a need. The need may arise from current problems or it may be the result of long-term activities that have developed over time. Suppose your laptop breaks down overnight. It turns out to be beyond repair. So you decide to buy a new one. This is an ongoing need. However, if you have been planning to buy a laptop for a long time, but keep postponing it over time, this is a developmental need. You decide to buy new equipment only when, for example, you get an additional bonus or another unexpected injection of cash.
Breaking the laptop or in the second case additional financial resources is the so-called a trigger, something that makes the problem no longer to be taken lightly. That it must be solved as soon as possible.
The trigger increases the motivation to meet the need - the consumer begins to look for a satisfactory solution. In the first place, it takes into account internal information - that is, its knowledge, own experiences, subjective opinions about specific brands and products. Then it looks for information in publicly available channels. The Internet is a real mine of knowledge. A potential customer checks other people's opinions, reads expert reviews, searches for data on social media, forums and other places. What he finds will largely define his final purchasing decision. The company's task is therefore to ensure that the network contains valuable information about its brand, products or services.
The company must be present in different places on the Internet. Depending on the needs and characteristics of the target group, it should also carry out activities in traditional media.
The next stage the consumer's decision-making process is to analyze all the information obtained. A potential customer processes what he learns about specific brands, products or services. He groups information, analyzes possible risks arising from the purchase of specific products, and finally selects the offer that best suits him.
Making a purchase
The customer decides to buy. If he does it online, there is nothing rival brands can do to get him to change his mind. However, when he decides to visit a selected point of sale, the promoter or representative of a specific brand may offer him other solutions. The willingness to buy does not ultimately define the customer's decision. If he hears a better offer that suits his needs, he is willing to change his mind. The role of the trader is crucial here. The seller should listen carefully to the consumer's needs and offer them individually tailored solutions. In sales, the language of benefits is of great importance. Each advantage of the presented product should correspond to a specific benefit that the customer will receive when deciding to buy. Properly used language of benefits gives spectacular results.
Product use and evaluation
The purchase process ends when the customer starts using the purchased product and assesses whether it meets his expectations to a satisfactory degree. If so, there is a chance that he will trust the company again. That is why it is so important to skillfully recognize the needs of customers and offer them goods individually tailored to them. Skillful recognition of needs is the basis for building long-term relationships with recipients.
Customer segmentation is of great importance in the purchasing process
The right one has a huge impact on an effective purchasing process customer breakdown, i.e. segmenting them according to specific needs, valued values, shopping preferences and reactions to specific products or services. The result marketing segmentation there should be groups of clients with specific characteristics. Each group should have a strategy focused on the expectations and needs of their representatives.