Consumer Psychology During the Checkout Process

Consumer Psychology During the Checkout Process

The success of your business hinges on numerous variables. Of course, the products and services you sell need to be relevant, compelling, competitive and available to customers when they want them. The sales environment, whether virtual or brick and mortar, should be welcoming, and you and your staff need to be both knowledgeable and customer-focused. In order for that to happen, it is essential that you understand what motivates customers to make purchases as well as what can stop them.

Problem/Need Recognition

People do not part with their hard-earned money without a reason. As a business owner, it is up to you to understand what motivates your customers to buy your goods and services. Your job as an effective salesperson is to help your customer understand the nature of their need and see that you have the solution in what you are selling. Whether what brings your customer to your store or website is a physical need such as hunger or an external stimulus such as a recommendation, you can bring home the sale if you communicate to your patron that you have exactly what is needed to meet the need or needs at hand.

Information Search

When a new customer walks into your store or visits your website for the first time, this is the end of a process that you should carefully analyze. A potential customer with an unmet need will use various methods to search for ways to solve their problem. They might ask friends for recommendations, conduct an online search or drive through the town’s business district to locate a vendor. The more you can put your store or website at the forefront of these processes, the more likely it will be that new customers will purchase what you have to offer. Take the time to market your business on social media as well as on internet search engines. In addition, take advantage of the positive experiences of your current customers by providing them with incentives to review your business on sites such as Yelp and Instagram.

Evaluation of Alternatives

Savvy customers already know that you are not the only provider of the goods and services they want. They may even recognize that your prices are at times higher than those of some of your rivals. In and of itself, that is not usually enough to send a potential sale to your competitors as long as you have cultivated your customer’s trust. One way to establish a “team member” relationship with your customer is to be honest. If your prices are higher, come out in the open and explain why. Perhaps your quality is higher or you provide additional after-purchase services or guarantees that your rivals do not. The key is to help your potential buyer feel good about the idea of purchasing their products and services from you.

Purchase Decisions

The process of making a sale is often compared to fishing. It involves attracting a customer, convincing them to commit and then completing the process. At any point, as with reeling in a fish, the purchase can be interrupted by the customer. As a business owner, your job is to keep that perfect balance between explaining the benefits of your product and applying too much pressure. Throughout the sale, it is imperative that your customer is convinced that the purchase was well-researched and is both economical and intelligent. Finding ways to remind the customer of why they came to you in the first place can often provide the focus that is needed to seal the deal. From your end, it is crucial that all aspects of the purchase process are as seamless as possible since even the most committed customer can leave or click away in frustration if mechanical or logistical problems with the purchase transaction process become too frustrating. Therefore, make it a priority to understand your point-of-sale equipment, and be sure all staff members are trained to do so as well. In addition, make sure your website is mobile-friendly to ensure that purchases can be easily made on tablets, phones and other devices. If, in spite of all of your hard work, a customer should leave without consummating the sale, use targeted emails and product discounts to convince them to return.

Post-Purchase Behavior

Even after money has changed hands and the customer either clicks away or walks out the door, your work is not done. What happens after the sale is, in fact, just as important as are all of the preparations that made it possible in the first place. If a person purchased your goods or services, chances are excellent that they have a positive view of your business. Now it’s time to accentuate that by thanking them for their purchase either in person, via email or both. Requesting feedback can also be a great way to market your operations while simultaneously giving your valued customer a platform to spread positive messages about what they bought and from whom. Even if someone inserts a negative comment or two, you should view this as an opportunity to respond promptly and take steps to immediately address the problem. After all, no one is perfect, and most customers are quite tolerant of mistakes or oversights if they know you are willing to make amends.

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