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The Online Consumer's Thought Process

The Online Consumer's Thought Process

Technology and the Internet have changed many aspects of our everyday lives. One specific example is online shopping and website browsing. Consumers follow a thought process when considering a purchase or requesting more information about a product or service from an online shop website. With the growth of the Internet, part of this process has become more extreme. Knowing how to win a consumer over in the keys stages of their buying thought process online is a great leap towards increasing sales and quote requests online.

First off, make sure your message is clear. This ease in consumers understanding what you’re offering is parallel to the likelihood that they will buy from you or request price or product information. According to ConversionXL, this human tendency to prefer familiar and easy to understand offers and concepts is called cognitive fluency. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Why would humans prefer to buy things that confuse them? We want to know what we are spending our hard earned money on, why it fulfills our need, and how it will benefit us!

Technically speaking, there are many variations of the consumer buying process. Today, we are going to use this six stage process to describe how to win consumers over online. The stages are: the consumer recognizes a problem, begins to search for information throughout different online shop websites, evaluates options and alternatives, makes a purchase decision or price-quote request, purchases what they requested information on or decided on, and lastly, evaluates their product/service post-purchase.

Sounds familiar, huh? Well, that’s probably because you can remember doing this at least a dozen times (if not more). Now you’re going to think about this from your customer’s view while searching for tires or services on your website. Let’s begin.

What’s the problem?
First things first, any consumer that begins to search for tires or automotive services online has a problem. Problems can be small or large, needed immediately or can wait a while, expensive or relatively inexpensive but they all have one thing in common--every human has them. No matter how technologically advanced we become, we still have basic human needs.

Need to clean your teeth? Buy a toothbrush. Have a headache? Buy some aspirin. Had a tire blowout? Buy a new tire.

So, let’s think about this automotive-wise...What is the problem? They need new tires or services! The solution? That is where your business, its responsive website and local directories come into play in the next step.

In need of more information!
If a consumer turns to a search engine for more information on tire sales, you NEED to make sure your website appears. The majority of the time, they will choose within the five top search results or within the ads above or to the side of the results.

Local directories are just as important. They make your business look professional, reliable, legitimate and with the current times of online browsing. During this stage of the buying process, your business can move onto the next stage or be left in the dust. 

How do you make sure your business doesn’t bite the dust on this potential sale? Make sure you are in local directories, make sure your website ranks well with SEO, start a PPC campaign, or even mention tire or service information on your social media accounts from time to time so they rank better, too! For more information on how Net Driven TurboClick can help you, click here!

Most consumers do a vast amount of online research when making a more expensive purchase like new tires or auto parts/service. It’s not surprising that 71% of enterprise purchase decisions in the United States start with search engine research and browsing.

Once the consumer gets to your website, you have officially made it to stage three. Now you can relax, right? Nope, don’t sit back with a cup of hot Joe just yet. You have not locked in this sale 100%. There are other options on the Internet (millions, actually) so don’t think this consumer is going to stick with you if your website doesn’t make the cut. Luckily, we have a good feeling about this!

Are there alternatives?
This stage is crucial. You want to make sure the consumer is satisfied with the look, feel, and interactivity of your website. Perks like your advanced tire catalog, tire fitment guide and diagnostic center will help move you way above the competition. 

A consumer wants easy information and fast. Making them take the extra step to call and talk about what is wrong with their vehicle in comparison to completely an online diagnosis can ruin the chance of converting this consumer. According to Groove, the #1 most important factor in a customer’s loyalty to a business or brand is reducing their effort to gain more information or find what they are looking for. 

Video content is also HUGE when it comes to purchasing decisions and rising above competing alternatives. 73% of consumers said they are more likely to buy a product or request pricing information after watching a video explaining a product or service.

On top of that 69% of marketing professionals our video in their strategies, while 31% are planning to do so. Net Driven Drivecast helps to make sure consumers love their browsing experience on your website with video content and helps increase the likelihood that WILL request a quote from you business AND complete the sale.

Responsive, check. Social media, check. Video content, check. Interactivity, check. You’ve reached stage four!

Decisions, Decisions.
The time has come--the purchase decision. You received the quote request from your website by the consumer in this scenario. Now, what? Respond, as timely as you possibly can! A good system of lead management helps to make sure you respond to all your tire or service quote leads in a timely fashion. The sooner you acknowledge and answer their request, the more likely it is that they will make a purchase with you!

The trick is to let them know you will offer any information or guidance they need, but don’t be too pushy! You can pretty much guarantee that not one single customer gets that warm and fuzzy feeling inside from being followed around by a salesperson non-stop when they are browsing in person. The same goes for online! Don’t be a bother, be of assistance!

Cha-Ching. Purchase Made. 
Congratulations! This consumer has just made a purchase with your business. You’ve converted this lead and completed a sale. The consumer thought process is over, which means your job is complete. Nope! Not so fast--Don’t forget customer satisfaction! 

Satisfied? Dissatisfied?
It’s important to keep in mind what consumers think after a purchase has been made. With pricier purchases like tires or automotive parts, a follow-up isn’t necessary but it’s definitely a nice gesture! Give your new customer a call about a week after their products or services have been purchased. Ask how everything is working, is their vehicle riding smooth, etc. If they aren’t 100% satisfied, offer guidance or ask them to stop in for you to take a look. Their satisfaction begins with your helpful online shop website and continues well after the sale closes. The more you show you care, the more they will lean toward your business for their next auto related purchase or problem. Lock in future sales and returning customers by thinking like they do and assuring their satisfaction!


Categories: Internet Marketing, Anayltics and Website Performance, Websites, Website Design

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