The traditional buying cycle is typically presented with four stages: awareness, outreach, selection and purchase. However, the modern world and new technologies have impacted buyer behavior, hatching three additional stages. Get to know the seven stages of the new consumer buying cycle.
Stage 1: Awareness
In the awareness stage, the consumer becomes aware of a challenge he's facing or a need he has. As the consumer becomes aware of your product or service, he discovers that it has the potential to solve his problem, and purchase becomes a possibility.
Stage 2: Research
In this important new stage of the buying cycle, buyers harness the power of research to learn all they can about the potential vendors and their products or services. Consumers use online tools to research companies, and this is the stage of the game when a company's customer service initiatives should focus on capturing new buyers by connecting through social media and making company information easy to access.
Stage 3: Outreach
In the outreach stage of the buying cycle, consumers make contact with potential vendors, learning more about the products and services. As the consumer develops a deeper understanding, he's better able to determine which vendor's product or service best suits his individual needs.
Stage 4: Collaboration
Another new addition to the buying cycle, the collaboration stage, exists as more of a conversation between the consumer and the vendor. Rather than employing tired sales tactics, sellers should act as consultants, interacting with buyers to determine how both parties can work together to create a solution that works for the consumer.
Stage 5: Selection
During the selection stage, the consumer moves closer to a purchasing decision, typically developing a preference for one supplier, product or service over all others. The buyer's motivations may be driven by logic, emotion or a combination of the two factors.
Stage 6: Negotiation
The last of the new stages, negotiation, occurs when the consumer and the vendor work out a deal. Everything may be negotiable, from contract terms and price to product delivery. Procurement may step in during this stage of the buying cycle to help close a deal that best suits the firm's needs.
Stage 7: Purchase
During the final stage of the buying cycle, the actual purchase takes place. At this point, the product or service is acquired and the consumer is able to address or solve the need or challenge identified in step one.
With the advent of new technology, the consumer buying cycle has undergone changes. While consumers have more power than they did previously, sellers can gain the upper hand by getting to know the seven stages of the buying cycle and reaching their target audience throughout each step.
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