Factors That Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions: Rethinking the Marketing Funnel

In order to continue attracting your target audience, it’s crucial to firstly understand “what is a consumer need?” and then keep up with the wants and needs of customers. Consumer behavior is influenced by many things, such as price, product features, brand image, and recommendations from friends or family, all playing a vital role in what people decide to purchase. This can be a real challenge if you don’t understand the factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions. Those factors are a lot different than what they used to be, which means that the customer journey has changed a lot as well. This updated journey is referred to by many as the consumer decision journey (CDJ). What makes the CDJ so different than traditional marketing funnels is that each consumer’s CDJ is unique. Keeping that in mind, the following are three of the biggest factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions in today’s digital age:

Factors That Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions

Product/Service Reviews

Very few consumers are going to blindly buy a product or service based on the content they’ve come across on your website. It doesn’t matter how effective you say it is, how clear your demonstration videos are, or what kind of accolades you’ve received. Customers are going to look up reviews first. Online reviews are easy to find — and many consumers aren’t going to feel comfortable buying a product or service unless it has good reviews.

There are tons of different websites where customers leave reviews. In fact, a company having reviews on their website has now become so commonplace that not having the option to leave or see reviews can leave a bad taste in consumers’ mouths. Reviews are not always only about one specific product or service. Angi, Yelp, and Amazon all allow customers to leave feedback on products and services, as well as overall customer experiences. Reviews come in many forms. Gone are the days of a simple, written review. Now, many companies give consumers the option to upload pictures and even videos with their review.

In addition to consumer reviews, consumers also seek out professional reviews. For example, Consumer Reports provides not only professional reviews of certain products, but they offer comparisons between different products as well.

Encouraging customers, as well as professionals, to review your products and services can be hugely beneficial. Doing so (as long as the reviews are mostly positive) can help improve your reputation and build trust with consumers who are in the evaluation stage of their journey.

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Peer Recommendations

More often than not, consumers will initially become aware of brands or their products and services through peer recommendations. They may ask someone in person for a recommendation or ask online, via social media, online chat, or email. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to continue targeting existing customers. The journey doesn’t end when someone makes a purchase. You want to continue marketing to those customers to turn them into repeat customers. This allows you to build brand loyalty, which will turn them into brand ambassadors that will recommend your products or services to their peers.

 Social Media

Having a social media presence is incredibly important because so many consumers will turn to social media as a way to do research. They’ll look up brands, ask them direct questions, ask their social groups about their thoughts on your products or services, and look at your social interactions in general. This means that they will look at how you engage with your followers, as well as with users in general, to get a sense of how you carry yourself and whether they can relate to you. A brand with no social presence, or one that doesn’t regularly engage with the community is not going to make as good of an impression on consumers.

It’s important not to become over-reliant on the traditional marketing funnel. Consumers have so much power when it comes to doing their own research about different brands and their products and services, that it’s important to understand how unique the CDJ is. These are three very important factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions in this day and age that you need to make sure you address.

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