Buying Cycle of Consumers Online
As an Online or E-commerce business, it is very important that you understand what are you trying to market or sell, to whom, and what are the different behaviours you expect to come across as your prospective consumers.
Internet bigwigs such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and others have researched and derived on a concept called the buying cycle which broadly comprises of three phases
Need Phase – This is the phase when the customer realizes that he or she needs some product or service. Research Phase – Once the need is established, the customer researches how and from where to get the product or service. This phase includes research on the net (search engines, directories, blogs etc) and discussing with people about his or her need. Purchase Phase – This phase arrives when the research has been completed by the customer and now the search for a reliable source begins.
SEO and online marketing is nothing but addressing the research and purchase phase of the buying cycle. Your success completely depends on you being present in front of the customer in both the phases through various means.
Optimize your site to be prominently present in various search engines, blogs, articles, directories for general search terms in the RESEARCH PHASE. In this phase the customer is looking for reviews, service and price comparisons, testimonials and more information on the product or service required.
The customer’s search is now specific in the Purchase Phase and he or she will be looking for product pages, price, shipping rates, discounts, delivery details etc. Have a process on your website to guide the customer from the research phase to the purchase phase by way of unique offers and an easy automated buying process.
In short, always start your SEO or online marketing after thoroughly understanding/researching the buying cycle of your kind of products/services on the internet. Your optimization process should focus on lead generation, conversion, constant communication and retention of the customer in totality.
The very first step of SEO is to define what is unique in your website, long list of keywords and the content (sales pitch) of your website. The unique feature of your site should be defined in a short statement as to why the customer should buy from you, what is so unique about your website, what is so different than your competitors. Dont just write what is unique about you, but focus on what is unique for the customer to buy from you. For e.g. Your site offers 60 days money back guarantee as opposed to your competitors who offer only 30 days money back guarantee.
This article is purely focusing on organic traffic generation through SEO friendly pages. We will also discuss about impact of Social Media on the Buying Cycle of Online Shoppers.