why-customers-leave-website-customer-purchase-life-cycle

Are you frustrated because your prospects leave your website?

Are you stressed because of a high bounce rate on your website?

If that is the case, then you need to understand the needs and wants of your customer in detail. And you don't just need to understand these needs and wants. But, you need to fulfill these needs and wants by providing your prospects with what they want.

People have different needs at different times and they need solutions based on those needs. To understand what does a prospect or a customer is looking for, you need to understand the journey that a customer goes through while looking for a product or service online. If you are able to understand the mindset of a customer at different times on her journey, so you will be able to better understand the customer such that you can fulfill their needs and wants as and when they need it.

Once you are able to do this, you will be able to strategize your marketing efforts in a more effective way, because then you would be listening to the customer's needs instead of just pushing your products or services onto them. The major reason brands are spending more on online marketing is because it is “Pull based marketing” and pulls customers towards them instead of traditional marketing which is generally called as “Push based marketing.

Ultimately, this will help you to implement strategies that can help you get more number of people to visit your website and become a prospect or a customer, instead of bouncing off your website (leaving your website) and visiting your competitor's websites.

What is Customer Purchase Life-cycle/funnel?

Customer Purchase life cycle

In marketing, there is a concept called customer purchase lifecycle / funnel. This funnel encapsulates the journey of a customer through different stages wherein how he becomes a customer starting from the stage of being a stranger to a brand/company.

Lets talks about different stages in the journey of a customer's life while making a purchase decision. The funnel has the following steps:

  • Awareness Stage

  • Consideration Stage

  • Preference Stage

  • Purchase Stage

  • Loyalty and advocacy Stage

Some people like to expand these five stages into six or seven stages. They add two more layers: Interest and Intent. See below image:

Marketing funnel

To make things simple to understand, you can consider Interest and consideration as a single stage, and you can consider Intent and evaluation as another stage. Let us understand these in detail.

  • Awareness Stage – Problem Recognition

This is the stage where a person recognizes that a problem exists and she wants to look for a solution that solves that problem. In this stage, a person becomes aware and realizes that there is a need for her to purchase a product or service. For any company, this prospect is a complete stranger at this stage.

For example, if you want to purchase a new laptop. You might want to purchase because of any reason:

  • You do not have a laptop and want to buy one because of your new job or business or you want to purchase it for your child to help him/her in studies.
  • Your old laptop is quite old and it functions slowly now, you want an upgraded version.
  • You had been using a windows laptop or a chromebook, but you have been impressed by mac's laptops and want to buy that.customer purchase life cycle detailed
  • Consideration Stage – Information search

This is the second stage, where a customer starts searching for information on which companies' products/services can satisfy the problem that she is facing and which companies can provide the right solution as per her needs. In this stage, while the person searches for information online, she becomes a visitor on the websites that have information related to her search.

Considering our above example, there can be various search terms such as:

consideration-stage-customer-purchase-life-cycle

best laptops under 1000$

What is the best laptop to buy for home use?

what's the best cheap laptop to buy

which laptop brands are most reliable

  • Preference Stage – Evaluation of alternatives

customer-evaluation-of-alternatives

This is the third stage, here a prospects evaluates different alternatives based on her personal preferences. This is the stage where a final analysis is done and the prospect is able to make a decision regarding their purchase. The prospect can become a lead in this stage since she might share her personal details such as name, email id or phone number, she might share these details with multiple companies to get to know more information about the product/service that she would be interested in.

Considering the above laptop example, the prospect might want to know more about warranty on the laptop and may share her email id with multiple brands, so that they can get back to her, which can help her take the decision.

  • Purchase Stage

Well, this one is easy to understand, this is the stage where a prospect finally gets converted and becomes a customer. This process of a prospect getting converted into a customer is called as ‘conversion'.

  • Loyalty and Advocacy Stage – Post-purchase analysis

The journey of a customer does not end when they become a customer. The customers analyzes how a brand/company interacts with them after the purchase, this post purchase behavior becomes an important part in realizing if the company fulfilled the promises or expectations that were made before the purchase.

If a customer is not happy after the purchase, it might result into multiple problems for the company:

  • The customer might ask for a refund
  • Customer might not complain, but they would never buy from the same company again.
  • The customer might start complaining and bad-mouthing about the company to their friends and even on social media.

angry-customer

For example, there are many review sites such as tripadvisor.com or yelp.com . If a customer is not happy with the service, they post a negative review on tripadvisor.com . Such sites attract a lot of visitors and people generally like to check the reviews before making a purchase decision. These reviews definitely influence the purchase decision of many new prospects that may or may not become customers of a brand.

I remember once I was told by a friend of mine, whenever he had to do a hotel booking, he would go to tripadvisor and check for the reviews. So, I asked him which type of reviews does he check first. I was thinking that he might be looking at 4 Star or 5 Star reviews first. To my surprise, he told me that he checks the critical reviews first since he believed that some of the 5 star reviews might be fake, a critical review can tell what is the worst that has happened with a customer of that hotel!

So, it is extremely important for any company to make sure that they are able to retain the customers after the purchase.

It is extremely critical for companies to satisfy the expectations of the customer post purchase. If a customer becomes happy, the customer can become loyal and advocate about the brand/company to others, and the company can get huge number of new customers through this technique.

happy-customer-five-star-ratings

Just to give an example that its true that loyalty can benefit a business, A few years ago, I joined a coaching program by a business coach. He is extremely good at what he teaches. He uses a very important technique to grow his business which a lot of people miss at times. Whenever he delivers value to his customers, he asks them to write on a piece of paper names and phone numbers of 10 people that can benefit from his workshop. He then asks the workshop participants that if his workshop helped them and if they really want to make a difference in the life of their loved ones whom they care about. Then, he requests them to please call them and tell them that they gave the phone number for reference since they personally benefited from it. It is surprising to know that – he gets hundreds of new high paying customers giving him business worth hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, just by using this referral technique.

The journey of an online buyer/customer is non linear!

The funnel explained above seems to be linear. It just explains different parts in the journey of a customer but the actual journey of a customer is non linear. The customer goes through multiple interactions before making a purchase decision.

For example, a customer might have seen certain videos on Youtube. She might have seen different reviews on multiple websites. Also, she might have looked at SSL(Secure Socket Layer) sign on the final website to feel it is safe to use her credit card on the website. She might have gone through multiple interactions with the brand before making the final purchase.

buyer-journey-non-linear

 

Now that you know about the online journey of a customer, you can strategize your marketing strategy accordingly.

For example,

You can create content to Educate the customers, that can help them in ‘Awareness' stage. You can create content such as blog posts, youtube videos etc

If you want to help customers in consideration and Preference Stages, then you can make it easy for your customers to post reviews on your website.

You would have noticed that when you go for a stay in any nice five star hotel, the hotel staff would try to please you at every ‘touch point' during your stay. After your stay gets over, the hotel guys send you a feedback link which asks you to post your review. Such reviews help other customers during these stages.

If you want to help customer in purchase stage, you can improve your website speed, install ssl. So, if you have a WordPress website, then you can go through this article to avoid the deadly mistakes people make with their wordpress websites.

If you liked what you read above, would you please share it with your friends or family on social media so that they can appreciate you that you read about such good stuff {I am being honest, right 😉 } and if you share it, they might also be helped by this article.

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