While the world goes remote in an attempt to flatten the curve during the COVID-19 epidemic, consumers are increasingly spending more time online. This could be to satisfy their need for entertainment, thirst for knowledge, or as we will be focusing on in this blog – to assist them in their decision-making journey to find appropriate products or services. But the internet is a busy place and businesses are competing against one another for their share of attention.
What is the decision-making process?
Decision-making is the process whereby the consumer identifies and chooses alternatives based on their own personal values, preferences and beliefs. Basically, it’s how consumers search for and then select a preferred product or service to fulfil their requirements.
Let’s explore these 7 steps from both the perspective of a consumer going through the decision-making princess and from a business-owner attempting to leverage products/services.
Step 1: Identify the decision
Consumer: In this first step, the consumer identifies a specific need or an obstacle that needs to be satisfied or overcome through the acquisition of a relevant product or service.
Business: As a business, you will need to identify these common problems consumers are facing throughout their daily lives and develop a solution that will ultimately meet these needs.
Step 2: Gather relevant information
Consumer: Once identified, the consumer starts to undertake an information journey of how or where the best resources relating to their needs can be found.
Business: You’ll need to identify the consumer’s preferred online platforms and ensure that relevant content is available and SEO optimised on your website and social media platforms.
Step 3: Identify the alternatives
Consumer: Whilst collecting information, the consumer will identify various comparable solutions that could satisfy their specific needs.
Business: This is where you need to ensure that you clearly define what it is you can offer the consumer and why you should be preferred above your competitors. Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Pay-per-Click advertising are just some of the ways to ensure you are seen at the right time in the right place.
Step 4: Weigh the evidence
Consumer: In this step, the consumer will evaluate their options and rank these according to their personal preferences.
Business: As with the previous step, businesses need to put their best foot forward to rank higher on the consumer’s list. Listing benefits and testimonials can work to your advantage.
Step 5: Choose among alternatives
Consumer: Once ranked, the consumer will proceed to make their decision and select their preferred solution.
Business: Your story, brand awareness and brand experience, cost and/or quality are factors that could very well influence the decision of the consumer in your favour.
Step 6: Take action
Consumer: The time has come for the consumer to interact with their selected service provider.
Business: Now it’s up to your business to leave its mark on the consumer and convert them into clients. Simplify the customer’s purchase process by ensuring your contact system comes across as efficient and friendly, and if requested, quotes are promptly generated. Improve delivery times, remember to follow-up and make sure the client has all the options to make the best decision.
Step 7: Review your decision & its consequences
Consumer: In this final step, the consumer will examine the outcomes of their choice and evaluate whether or not it has resolved the need identified in Step 1. If the decision has not met the identified need, they might need to repeat specific steps of the process to make a new decision.
Business: This is where after-sales support plays a pivotal role. Consumers need to be reassured that they have made the correct decision, this can be achieved through effective client support and service continuity. This is also the step where businesses get the opportunity to foster real, lasting relationships with the consumers, converting them into brand ambassadors. Make sure to get feedback from new clients, learn from the experience and keep improving your pitch, communication and the value you offer.
As can be seen from the steps explained above, there are multiple opportunities for businesses to influence the consumer’s decision-making journey. However, it is important to note that the messaging and a business’ approach will depend on the consumer’s progress through the different steps. I.e. If a consumer is on step one, it would be pointless and counterproductive for a business to commence with various sales-focused marketing. Rather try and educate the consumer about who you are, what you stand for and what you can offer them.
Being effective takes a lot of hard work and can only be done if you are visible, telling a convincing story, advertising on the right platforms to the right consumers and offering a service that is desired by a group of consumers.
That’s why with Azapi as your digital partner, you can rest assured knowing that your product or service will be showcased in the best possible light and directed towards the correct target audience. Our website designs will display your business, services and products effectively, while our marketing team will help promote and advertise your products/services in the optimal online channels.
Connect with Azapi today and ensure your business makes its mark on the consumer’s decision-making process today!