A quick Google Image search of the “consumer decision making model” pulls up thousands of graphics, all of which illustrate an ideal journey that consumers take to purchase a product, before becoming loyal customers. But how many of them represent reality? There are a few fundamental aspects of the modern-day consumer journey which are overlooked by many of the models.
Recently, we discussed the widely accepted model developed by McKinsey & Co. It suggests that consumers undergo a period of consideration and evaluation, during which they are exposed to numerous products and brands.
In reality, this equates to standing in a shop, attempting to narrow down the overwhelming number of options, but the model does not give any indication of how this decision is reached.
Different consumers are motivated by different factors such as packaging, product claims, price, usability, recommendations – and it is up to brands to choose the best strategy to appeal to target their consumers – but ultimately, the product has to work.
In a perfect world, the consumer opts to buy your product and enters into the loyalty loop where they become repeat purchasers and loyal advocates of your brand. But what if they don’t like it? What if the packaging is great but the product they chose doesn’t solve their problems and they are left unsatisfied?
Firstly, they are likely to lose trust in your brand and purchase from elsewhere in the future. Secondly, by posting negative reviews online or voicing their opinion on social media, the impact of one unhappy customer can be damaging to potential business from many others. The loyalty loop will never even begin, thus this less than ideal situation should not be overlooked if you hope to win repeat business.
How can you limit how often this happens, better yet prevent it from happening entirely?
The challenge that brands face is providing some form of tool that enables consumers to select the most effective product for them. This tool can come in many forms including direct consultation, a questionnaire, chat bot or digital application. Whatever the method, it must represent an opportunity for consumers to learn about their individual needs before purchasing a product, therefore directing them towards a product that will be effective, rather than taking their best guess. By making an informed purchase decision, consumers are left happy with the product and the results, with trust in the brand and a positive experience to share with others.
Sensory demo tools are another great way to achieve this. Not only do they provide individuals with information about their physical features, they also show how important it is to you that they find their perfect match. Only then will the customer gain confidence in your brand and recognize the value in purchasing from you, thus the loyalty loop will become reality.
Inevitably, the decision journey model will evolve over time as technology develops and consumer priorities change but right now, there are ways to strengthen the loyalty loop and to ensure that the consumer decision journey is not just a model but the reality.