Originally published 7/10/19 - Updated 11/10/22
What thoughts run through your mind when you’re deciding whether or not to purchase something? Even something simple, like a loaf of bread from the grocery store? You likely consider the quality, the cost, the expiration date, the ingredients, the nutritional facts, and the other options on nearby shelves.
Even if this decision is a quick one, there’s a psychological process that occurs: You feel the desire to take multiple things into account because obviously, you want to purchase something that makes the most sense for you!
But this concept is applicable to much more than groceries. The same is true in the business world. That’s why business owners and marketers must seek to get inside the minds of consumers. The truth is that there are six key factors that ultimately influence all consumer buying decisions. Check them out below and determine whether or not your business is passing the ultimate test taking place in consumers’ minds.
So, you probably guessed this one, right? Of course, consumers are thinking money! It’s no secret that people want to shop wisely and save where they can. However, it’s also important to point out that consumers understand that cheaper isn’t always better if it means sacrificing quality.
That’s right. If your business can’t boast that your products and services are the lowest prices in your industry, then you’re not necessarily doomed. If that’s the case, be sure that your business addresses your reasoning for your prices. For example, you may not have Business X’s lower cost. Still, you can prove that your products are of higher quality, you provide better customer service, you have a more reputable staff, or your services come with added features that other companies’ versions don’t.
When it comes to delivery, consumers like choices. They may want your product or service as soon as possible. They may want it delivered in a specialized way. Work with your prospects and customers, allowing them to feel like your delivery process was custom-tailored to fit their unique needs. Maybe this means offering free delivery if applicable. Or maybe it means that your business will host a training workshop upon delivery to ensure that your customers understand how to get the most out of their purchase.
Bottom line: Remove any friction that delivery could cause by making it as easy and as user-friendly as possible for customers to receive your products or services after purchasing.
Returns? But we’re talking about making sales here, right? Sure, no business wants to see a dissatisfied customer who returns a product or requests a refund for a service. However, having an easy-to-understand and convenient return policy can ultimately influence whether or not a purchase is ever made in the first place. It’s crucial, even in these unfortunate situations, for businesses to remain professional and provide an exceptional customer experience. Set a precedent that doing business with you (and ultimately, “breaking up” with you) is a convenient process that is centered around the well-being of your customers.
That being said, your business can attempt to avoid returns altogether by being proactive. Strive to apologize when you start to see hints of a problem. Provide alternate options and suggestions for your customers when their original purchases don’t seem to be going the way they planned. But in all of this, remember: if things just don’t seem to be working out, it’s never a good idea to “lock” consumers in. Make it easy for them to “break up with you,” even if it hurts. This will promote positive word of mouth and can even promote new business if consumers see that you handle defeat well.
Are you seeing a theme here? We are: Consumers love convenience! This even translates into the methods by which they pay you for your products and services. Providing ample payment options makes money exchange seamless and is a key factor in influencing consumer purchase decisions.
Add more payment options to your business portfolio by adding digital payment options. If you've been holding out on digital options for any reason, it's time to jump into the deep end. Offer online bill-paying options when able. Appeal to younger generations by offering PayPal and Venmo options if applicable to your business. A plethora of payment options can make bill paying much less of a headache!
Great demand can lead to great sales! Sometimes adding a sense of urgency to the sales process can positively impact a consumer’s final buying decision; however, when used carelessly, a sense of urgency can also come across as a major turnoff.
Invoke urgency by modestly implementing some of the following tactics:
While these tactics can often lead to an increased chance of a sale, it’s crucial for businesses to be careful here! Don’t accidentally turn consumers off by making them feel too hurried or too rushed. This strategy really is more of an art than a science.
Keep in mind: If you’re going to utilize a sense of urgency in your sales process, you must provide unambiguous follow-up instructions for consumers, making it easy and convenient for them to react to your offer.
Businesses that offer informative content are perceived as experts who care more about educating consumers than making a buck. It goes without saying that this greatly increases the chance of making a sale. This practice is called inbound marketing and can be defined as: Using strategic content to educate consumers and move them further down the buying funnel and closer to making a purchase with your business.
Your business can offer information on your products and services by implementing an inbound marketing strategy of your own, complete with blog posts, eBooks, videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, and more. Make sure that consumers know that you want them to be educated when deciding whether or not to do business with you.
There you have it: The six key factors influencing consumer buying decisions. So, how does your business stack up? Think about things from the eyes of your prospects and customers. Are your current business practices passing their tests and making doing business with you a no-brainer? We hope so! But if not, commit to making necessary adjustments. Eventually, your revenue report will be glad you did!