5 Stages of the Consumer Journey and Where Online Financing Drives Sales
eCommerce stores and their owners can benefit greatly from a deeper understanding of their customers. From the ways in which customers interact with an online store to how they filter through the sales funnel, developing a clear roadmap of the shopping experience generates insights for optimization and online store improvements. Understanding the five stages of the consumer journey allows businesses to map out the behavior of their customers. Furthermore, it pinpoints areas to focus on and how the integration of new tools like online financing can drive sales at particular points of the consumer journey.
1. Awareness Stage
The awareness stage refers to the first step that consumers take to become aware of a particular brand and the products that they sell online. In this stage, the consumer has a problem that they wish to resolve in their lives by acquiring products that can remedy their pain points. This is what we call a navigational stage as consumers begin to search Google for answers to their problems. They may, for example, search ‘how to fix my television set’. Through the creation of targeted blogs and landing pages, you can provide content to answer this search intent. This brings consumer awareness to your brand and the ability to resolve their problems.
2. Consideration Stage
Once consumers are aware of your brand and the products that you sell, they move into the consideration stage. In this stage, they show an active interest in your products and compare them to similar products sold by other eCommerce stores. For example, they may arrive at your blog on how to fix their television set and see promotional material advertising the new televisions that you sell. This promotional material can entice them to purchase a new television or electronics from your store as opposed to trying to fix their old television set. They will, at this stage, compare the televisions and electronics that you sell with those that other stores sell. They will be looking at the prices of your products, online reviews from other people who have purchased your products, FAQs, and delivery information to make their decision.
3. Purchase Stage
The purchase stage, or decision stage, is where the consumer makes the final call whether or not to buy products from your store. They may choose to buy, moving through to the next stage of the consumer journey or they may still look for added value to entice a purchase. For example, the integration of online financing can support the purchase stage. This added value offering provides consumers with cost-effective financing enabling them to purchase expensive products, such as a new television. If your competitors do not offer online financing, then you are likely to land the sale.
4. Retention Stage
Once customers have purchased from your store, they move into the retention stage. During the checkout process, you will have likely asked them for their email address or other contact information to facilitate the fulfillment of their order. They then become part of your email list and you can keep consumers interested through a customer retention strategy. You may, for example, ask for feedback, send discounts, or offer VIP programs to retain consumers and convert them to return customers.
5. Advocacy Stage
Customers that are particularly satisfied with your products and service delivery move into the advocacy stage. These customers become brand advocates that share their positive experiences with other customers online as well as with their friends and family. They will actively leave positive reviews and join your brand community as they positively associate your brand with the values that you represent.
Customers move through five stages of the consumer journey when shopping with eCommerce platforms; the awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy stages. Assessing each consumer’s movement through these stages and integrating tools to facilitate a seamless consumer journey, such as partnering with a leading online financing company, will help you drive sales and generate revenue.
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