The Customer Purchasing Cycle – How Can We Sync Up With It?

The Customer Purchasing Cycle
affiliate marketing
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Do You Know How Your Customers Buy?

As a new blogger who is trying to become a successful blogger, and by successful I mean by earning a living with my blog, I have to be careful not to fall into the trap of believing that everybody who visits my website is ready to buy something from me. It’s easy to give a “call to action” and then wonder why nobody is acting. It can get discouraging if we let it.

The key to becoming an online success is to learn the buying cycle of online customers, and work to match our offers to their buying decisions.

So How Does The Average Online Shopper Act?

It would sure be nice if people who get online to buy something bought right away, wouldn’t it? I’m not so sure. If everyone bought from the first site they visited, chances are that they wouldn’t find my site and buy from me. There are a lot of shopping sites, and shoppers usually don’t think about going to a blog site to purchase a product. They just jump to Amazon, or Overstock, or a place like that. I’ve done it myself.

That kind of behavior pretty much squeezes me out of the shopper experience.

The Typical Online Shopper Visits 7 Times Before Buying.

The good news is that online shoppers rarely buy on their first contact with a product they are looking for. Lets take buying a bicycle helmet as an example, since I’ve personally bought one online myself.

Since most of us don’t buy on the first visit, how long does it take, or how many visits does it take, before the typical customer buys something? On average it takes around seven visits before a purchase is made.

When I was looking for that bicycle helmet, I of course typed in “bicycle helmets” as my keyword. I got options like “bicycle helmets on sale,” which grabbed my attention. I clicked on that one. Here’s what came up. This is a screenshot of part of the list.

Customer purchasing cycle
There was also the “shop for bicycle helmets on Google.” That was off to the right side of the ranked list.

Customer purchasing cycle
I found lots of helmets, from lots of places. I found some with brand names I knew, and some that I didn’t know.

Well, I started looking around. I tried several websites, and looked at several helmets. I Logged out.

I came back the next day and looked around again. I re-checked on some helmets that I liked, and compared prices. Style was an important factor for me, and color. Brand name was secondary.

I read some reviews, and finally made up my mind. Believe it or not, I ended up purchasing from a website that was advertised as a swim gear outlet. It’s the third listing on the screenshot above. They had the helmet I liked and it was on sale.

It got here fine, and I’ve been very happy with it.

Trust Is Important.

People won’t buy products from websites that they don’t trust. People are pretty smart, and they get leery when the alarms go off. Building trust is essential.

Your site has to be professional. You need to have good spelling and grammar. Your chances of making a sale go up if your site has some comments on it, the more the better. If you can, add some positive reviews.

Customers can see through scammy promotions. They turn them off, and If you market that way, you won’t make very many sales.

Building trust is a major requirement in the sales cycle with your customers.

With my bicycle helmet search, I trusted the swim outlet website enough to buy, even though it was my first transaction with them.

People Buy When They Have A Perceived Need.

We are all trying to improve our lives. If we decide that something is going to improve our situation, then from that point on we “need” it, and are willing to make a purchase. The need outweighs the cost. It was that way with my helmet. My old one was cracked, and looking around town at the local bike shops, they seemed to like to jack up their prices, and my ego wouldn’t let me buy from Walmart.

So I bought online. That’s a reason a lot of people buy online, better prices and the convenience of buying from their homes. If a customer can wait for the product to be shipped, and doesn’t have a problem with not being able to physically see and perhaps handle or try on the product, then buying online is a positive option.

Product Reviews Are Important.

I have formed the habit of reading reviews for just about everything that I buy online, if they are available. It’s good to read what actual people who have bought the product say about it. The star rating is helpful too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not that big of a follower and I like to make up my own mind, but the experiences of others helps.

One good thing about reviews is that people are getting comfortable writing them. There are more reviews on products than ever before. There is more product information available too, to help customers make informed decisions.

How Does A Blogger Compete?

So, how does a blogger who is trying to market niche products compete with the big boys? Look at the screenshots of the listings above. The sponsored links are from companies like REI, The Clymb, and Sierra Trading Post. Some of those “big boys” are listed in the top of the rankings too.

That’s why a blogger HAS to build trust. Your readers will come to trust you if you provide good, helpful information in your posts on a regular basis. Once you are perceived as an expert in your niche, you will be able to compete because your readers will trust what you tell them, and they will feel comfortable purchasing what you are marketing.

Provide a good, honest review of any product that you have placed on your site. That will establish your credibility, and when a visitor is ready to become a customer you have the advantage of trust and have a good chance to make the sale.

Can We Predict When The Customer Will Buy?

The Customer Purchasing Cycle

Shoppers live in their own little worlds. Basically there is no way to predict when they are going to stop shopping and start buying. Our task is to position ourselves so that we are at least on their minds when that decision comes. As I said above, we do that with quality content, and keeping the customer’s needs in mind.

If you’re not sure how to do that, there is excellent training on affiliate marketing available at Wealthy Affiliate. It’s the number one training platform for online marketers to be found on the web. If you are a blogger and are looking to improve your ability to attract visitors, or if you are just thinking about starting your own online business, YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF to take a look at Wealthy Affiliate. You can kick the tires for free.

Disclosure: If you end up joining Wealthy Affiliate and decide sometime in the future to sign up for the paid Premium training, I will earn a commission. The FTC tells me I have to tell you this, but I don’t mind. That’s why I blog in the first place.

Thanks for reading my post. Please leave a comment below.

I’m Grant.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hey, a really nice article with a lot of information. It really makes sense when you think about this circle. I never used to think like that, but I have a blog where I will try to use this strategy. I think it is a very smart move to get viewer on to your site with a review when he is already thinking about buying. thank you very much for that article.

Hi Grant!
I loved reading your post, it’s easy to read with many useful informations!
I have heard a lot about the consumer’s cycle, especially about the fact that people can visit a website up to 7 times before purchasing!
I completly agree with you when you mention that trust is a crucial aspect consumers are looking for! Building trust might make your potential customers come 7 times to YOUR website before purchasing!
In fact, like you mentioned, creating intresting and relevant reviews will definetely help your potential customers have trust in your website.
I can only agree with your last recommendation, I have visited wealthy affiliate and seems like the perfect place to strat an online business!
One question though, how long did you have to wait for before making your first sale?
Thank you for sharing!

Hello Grant!

I agree that as bloggers, we have to keep the customer purchasing cycle in mind. I think every entrepreneur has to learn this.

I think you mentioned some great solutions for understanding where a customer is in their lifecycle. Some people enjoy “window shopping” without a perceived need. While others will gain a perceived need if you articulate the problem your product or service solves well.

This was a great article! Something to think more about.

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