Consumer Journey Process – The Decision

Recently, I was scrolling on one of my social media feeds and I noticed an event that might interest me in a sponsored post. I took a screen capture of the post and kept scrolling as I didn’t have time in that moment to click through, look at more information and fill out a registration form. I forgot about it. Then a week later, a conversation with a colleague triggered my memory of the event. I went to look for date, pricing and registration information and could not find it despite my screen shot of the basic information. The event was not posted on the poster’s website, nor on the poster’s social media page. I private messaged the poster who explained that the link was incorporated into the original sponsored post that I had seen. This did me no good because my screen capture was an image and there was no link to click.

In retrospect, the event presented to me in my social media feed was one that interested me. Unfortunately, even the person responding to my private message did not send me the link for more information. Rather he simply explained that the link had been originally connected to the post that I had screen captured. By the time that another “clickable” sponsored post for the same event floated across my feed it was too late. My calendar was full for that event date, and I could not attend. The event did not sell out and they could have sold two more tickets had their team created a more seamless, frictionless way to book a reservation when I was moving from the interest stage to the decision stage.

How many sales does your business lose when a prospect has done their research, would buy from you, yet an alternative source is easier to find, offers a more attractive deal, frictionless experience, or somehow makes an emotional connection?

During the consumer decision journey our prospects explore and evaluate alternative products and services during the interest phase, research results blend with experience, memory and learned preferences. These and other influences shape their behavior and determine a choice of one product over all of the others. Both past Google and McKinsey research indicates that each consumer creates their own unique path to making a purchase decision. The below customer journey diagram resulting from Google research in 2020 expresses this dynamic just prior to making a purchase.

Google Insight Team Diagram of Consumer Decision Journey

In the same study, Google researchers observed six promotional tactics by sellers that that commonly impact final decisions by buyers. These tactics are:

  1. Category heuristics: Concise product descriptions simplify purchase decisions.
  2. Power of now: The longer you wait for a product, the weaker the offer becomes.
  3. Social proof: Reviews from others are persuasive.
  4. Scarcity bias: As availability decreases, the more desirable a product becomes.
  5. Authority bias: Decision influenced by an expert or trusted source.
  6. Power of free: Free gift with a purchase, may be a powerful motivator.
Google Insight Team graphic of seller tactics to influence buyers

At purchase decision time Google researchers concluded that each of these tactics are powerful influences over the buyer. Also, when more than one or maybe even all six are aligned and used together they can become irresistible in closing the deal with the buyer.