06 Mar 4 STAGES OF CONSUMER PURCHASING BEHAVIOUR
Why don’t they buy from me right away? The common question of any emerging fashion boutique owner& There is a simple explanation of it. It’s called CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR.
While buying any type of product a consumer goes through the following stages: Brand Awareness – > Brand Consideration -> First Purchase – > Repeat Purchase.
– First, they need to be aware of the product and brand. It’s called Brand Awareness.
– Second, you need to give them a reason to consider you. And it’s called Brand Consideration.
The third step – you give them an attractive offer to make the First Purchase.
It can take them from 1 day to 1 month to make this step. It depends on how consistently you worked with your customers during first two stages.
– Step #4 –Repeat Purchase – consumers love your product, quality, customer service and want to buy more. Golden mine!
Returning customers are the most precious customers as they already know you, they trust you and it is easier for you to make them purchase from you again.
These people can be advocates of your brand and bring more new customers for you.
Let’s talk about each stage of this journey in details.
Brand Awareness – everybody heard about it but just a few people do know how to get it for their brand or company. Here is the Formula: consistently produce impressions with the relevant message in front of your target audience.Important note: Impressions are not only your posts on IG.
Every time you:
- Launch a new collection and send out a press-release
- Collaborate with editors, bloggers, stylists, celebrities and have mentions on their accounts/magazines
- Hold a pop-up event
- Advertise your brand online/social media
- Send a welcome email blast
You produce impressions that raise awareness about your brand. The bad news here: you need to do it constantly as the noise on the market is huge and consumer’s attention is defocused. To stay on the top of mind you need to remind about your brand every day.
And another important note: please don’t expect that all your impressions will immediately convert into sales. For that, you need to build Brand Consideration.
2. At the stage of Brand Consideration consumers evaluate, hesitate and make their choice. It is well-known that before we make a purchasing decision we need to be in contact with the brand 4-5 times.
Within these contacts, a brand has to deliver its key message, convince us about its unique proposition, charm us with its aesthetics. And overall build trust & likability.
The communication should be clear, appealing and (my fav word) consistent.
CLEAR – no more than 1 message in 1 type of communication. “Don’t try to wear everything at once!”
APPEALING – address the needs of your customers: exclusivity, quality, prices, belonging to some social groups, convenience, appreciation.
CONSISTENT – remember, brands are not formed overnight. A product becomes a brand when 60% of target audience become aware of it.
What activities drive Brand Consideration:
- Wow-Content marketing (Hello, Editorial Calendar!)
- Exciting email marketing
- Significant welcome discounts & really exciting offers
- Testimonials/mentions from fashion bloggers/stylists/TV hosts
- In-store Events & Trunk shows that provide brand experience
3.First Purchase means that thanks to your consistent actions and communication building trust and awareness about your brand, consumers are finally ready to buy from you. Yaya!
How should you be prepared at this stage?
1. Work on your distribution in advance and be accessible
People should easily find out where & how they can buy from you: your own online store, retailers, Etsy, Amazon, Pinterest. “I am ready. Where I can buy?”
2. Manage your inventory
This can be a huge disappointment for a customer and a loss in sales for you, if your products are out of stock.
3. Provide an irresistible offer
Why? Because sometimes to do something we need a final push. Irresistible means highly attractive, a great deal that is limited on time or quantity! You should think of something that even you want to buy right away.
What activities generate First Purchase?
- Email marketing with a structured Sales funnel
- Excellent e-commerce experience (free shipping, free return, options for payments)
- Trunk Shows
- Pitching buyers to get more exposure of your brand
One of the major characteristics of the fashion industry is the absence of switching costs for consumers. What does it mean? It means it’s extremely hard to keep CUSTOMER’S LOYALTY.
4. Why do I even need it you may ask. Because loyal customers make Repeat Purchases. It is the 4th stage of the Consumer purchasing behavior model. ( Look for previous 3 in the early posts).
This stage is the golden mine of every business as you spend fewer efforts (time, money) to activate the consumers and make them purchase from you. They already know, trust and, hopefully, like your product.
What activities drive customer’s loyalty:
1. Excellent customer service (Free delivery, different payment options, convenient returning policy should be by default)
2. A variety of loyalty programs ( Sephora is one of the best examples here).
3. Entertaining & engaging Email Marketing ( Shopbop has one the best email newsletters in my opinion. They always provide with new trends, ready outfits, on a different budget and occasions, recommendations from editors and so on. It’s fun just to look it through.
Ok, now you can ask me – but what is the most important stage? What should I focus my attention and energy right now?
The answer is all stages are equally important and work together providing the effect of synergy. You have to make sure that you have a complex of activities in place to address consumer behavior at every stage.
However, I always suggest this checklist to audit what stage suffers the most in your business:
- You need to have a strong message and tell the story of your brand otherwise consumers will not differentiate you.
- You need to work with influencers and make them your brand ambassadors to generate demand. Minimum 7-10.
- You need to reach out to buyers to build distribution and make sales otherwise your business may die.
- Your customer’s experience should be beyond average expectations (free and quick delivery – by default).
Once you identify the gap, this should be the focus of your highest attention.
Now, let me know if you have any questions.