The conventional thought is purchase engagement ends when a product finally gets to the buyers hand, the era of digital marketing completely flawed that position, as engagement becomes even stronger after sales has been made in today’s digital age. Let’s look at the stages involved in customer engagement in this article.
- The Need Stage
This forms the ultimate decider of any form of engagement between a consumer and the service or product provider. This is because demand will always precedes, and determine to a large extent supply. The need stage could also be referred to as the problem stage, impelling an individual to act or to buy your product or use your service.
A need could be hunger, thirst, companionship, or comfort; which could manifest in various forms, or the need could also be stirred by external factors. For instance, an individual can develop interest for a smartphone after seeing the TV commercial of the latest iPhone product.
This is a big clue for marketers to watch out for especially those in the digital space, to collect the buyer’s persona, to be able to trigger this need in consumers in cases where the need is not internal, and to strategically position themselves to meet this need.
- The Inquiry Stage
Interested consumer starts to seek information from various mediums like using search engines to search for relevant information, to reading newspapers and magazines, watching television, even share problem with friends and relatives.
The consumer could also take it further in learning about relevant product and service by engaging some practical steps like handling, examining, testing, or using the product. This gives the consumer a firsthand experience on the product or service being deliberated upon. As a digital marketer, this could turn out to be a gold mine by giving out free test services or products. This help to build your brand authenticity, and genuine in delivering result, ones you have a lead.
However, in a recent Digital Communication Roundtable organized by BusinessPlus Services, a forum for business executives, the CEO Dayo Ayeni stated that, “you must note that the mere fact that your product or service is out there, do not automatically mean that consumer will see you during their process of inquiring. Therefore, deliberate and frantic effort must be made to boost ones presence online, by taking advantage of platforms like relevant blog, google Ad, twitter Ad, optimizing your brand search using SEO, retargeting using google ads, Facebook ads, email marketing, among others”. Basically, you must not fail in positioning to suit your consumer persona, when they scrutinize you and your competitors in making a choice.
- Weighing options base on preference
Now the consumer has collected information regarding you and your competitors as a service or product providers (that is if you were well optimized to be seen on their online radar), he or she begins to undergo evaluation of your brands, because they cannot buy from all the brands. He or she starts to selects base on criteria personal to them, ranging from benefits offered, advantages, price, availability, accessibility, and then move to features, brand history, popularity, reputation of brands, and product-related services offered by the brands, such as after-sales services, warrantee, and free installation.
The brand that meets most of the above conditions reasonably is more likely to be preferred.
- Making their Decision
Most times at this point, the brand that answers most of the questions as stated in the point above get to seal the deal.
However, we must note that consumer position here may change at this point due to factors like loss of job, price hike, unavoidable medical expenses, or when the choice brand goes out of stock, among other factors.
- After purchase experiences
This stage is perhaps the most critical aspect in sales, but most marketers seems to be coming a bit late to this realization. Infact, not until recently most consumers have less confidence with online purchase. Their complains are that they get disappointed when the product purchased online get delivered, because they end up not meeting their expectations. Every individuals pays for a service or product with certain expectations in their mind. The possibility of variation between the expected level of satisfaction and the actual satisfaction, must be taken to cognizance especially as a product providers on the digital platform. This is very important, because one satisfied customer will surely come back again and again to buy more, and refer you to more customers, while an unsatisfied customer can ruin a business with negative talks.
A reliable feedback system should also be integrated into your business. With digital communication, you are able to get consumers feedback on your products, do follow up and attend to them accordingly. A prompt online response to consumers goes a long way in the brand image of any organisation. And there is no better way to manage this, than a strong online presence, as information whether positive or negative can spread around the world via the digital space in a matter of minutes.