On the day of a match, as you whisk past that busy road, you will find a crowd surrounding an electronic store. Common sight? Similarly, as you browse through Flipkart to find the product you are looking for, several times you will also hover over similar products to see how you can compare the two. Caught your eye? That’s exactly what brands want to do. Reach you at the moments that will most influence your purchase decisions. That is why, the electronic store you whisked through not only had in-house televisions for display, but also had vivid HD displayed through a glass door to catch your attention. But how do you predict that exact moment the customer is ready to make a purchase?

In a normal scenario, we take for granted that the consumer starts his purchase by narrowing down his choices from many to one. So, are the number of the steps the only consideration? Think again. The infinite number of product/service choices coupled with geographical preferences and the digital boom and a well-researched, discerning customers craves for a sophisticated approach to guide them with their purchases in a less linear fashion than the normal purchase funnel.

Considering the Consumer

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Now, instead of a linear approach which earlier involved awareness, familiarity, consideration and then purchase, recent research has shown that the decision making process is now 360 degrees with four steps. These steps precisely include initial consideration, research, purchase and post purchase. Let’s give you a good example where post purchase plays an integral role. Have you considered insurance where fear & uncertainty dominate emotions? Here, customers are asked to part with large sums for something they have minimal understanding of. Not only do you need to build trust before one makes a purchase, but also win the customer’s loyalty to ensure they continue paying those insurance installments.

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Although, following up with your customer increases loyalty, not all types of loyalty are equal. Some of them might actively participate and recommend others to your brand while others might be passive and continue to stick to your brand without bringing anybody new. Despite this, there is always a chance that the customer might switch from based on your brand from competitors who give him a reason to switch.

However, how do consumers make these decisions?

Case 1:

Take the example of purchasing an air conditioner. Usually you would assume that a customer makes an informed purchase after they have read through the length & breath of technical information that you have provided them with.

Wrong.

In most cases, the customer skips through all of that. However, what they would like to do is interact and hop directly into anything that helps them with their choices and pricing guidance. Not only do they want a clear picture on the pricing, but they’d also like to believe that they are always in control.

In that case, would it be better to provide context to your technical details? How does the nitty gritty technical details actually benefit them? In case of the air conditioner, while you list out the details of the capacity and power requirement, maybe you can also mention how this would benefit an office or an individual room respectively. This gives them a better picture and context to what they are looking for.

Case 2:

Take the example of an e-commerce clothing brand. The consideration I would think is not too complex. Yet at the same time, it is not simple. Here the customer wants to take an informed decision not just with an initial evaluation of products, but also a thorough research to identify if the product is worth every penny. The best experience to assist this is to allow the customer to ‘interact’ while educating and answer questions along the way. Eg: What if you assisted your customer with a style  which will survey your customer’s needs to customize various products. A more flexible funnel gives the customer more breathing space with commitment as they learn along the way.

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Photo Credit: www.tailor4less.com

Let the customer have the Remote

In today’s purchase decisions, it is extremely integral that the customer is in power of his purchase remote control. Give them the space to pull out information and actively evaluate. This can be done with the assistance of user-reviews, product interaction and comparisons among many others.

Also, provide them a clear picture. Customers get a better idea of things when they are presented with something visually rather than explained in a verbose manner. Another thing to keep in mind the time taken to make the purchase. Eg: Take the instance of a customer buying a mobile phone. Seldom is it an instant purchase. Usually, what happens is that the customer reviews the products, gets several comparisons done, gets advice word-of-mouth and then complete the consideration process on their own. Here, it is integral to support to ability to track and save what the customer has done and you should be providing him to option of picking up where he left off the last time. Take the example of Amazon Kindle. You can sample a book on one device and when the app is opened on another device, the user is provided when the sample on the page he left off. How cool is that?

Accommodative Interaction

Many high consideration purchases require a thorough thought after estimate. Even at Kuliza we follow a structured process to facilitate this. In essence, we tend to consider three main factors:

Persona: How can we classify that will enable us focus on a type rather than random selection of people? This helps us differentiate our design process for different kinds of people and create for a specific somebody, rather than a generic everybody

Motivation: Once we define the different types of personas, what are their individual motivations? We might go out to eat as a celebration. We might buy an air-conditioner to beat the heat or an insurance to save cost in case on a mishap. This helps us to a great extent to define the kind of information that should reach our target audience

Consideration: Getting a good picture of the above, we then set out to lay out the consideration funnel. What more can be done to satisfy these conditions? How best can we ensure that the customer gets the best information while he interacts with the brand?

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Once we have identified the three factors, we then put the pieces of the puzzle together. For example, on the payment page, how responsive the elements are when one of the items are added or deleted. Do they change real time? Other questions that cross our mind include – if the experience is optimized for customer engagement? Should the navigation button be top panel or left?

Once we fixate on the changes, we then sit down to implement them. We then make a wireframe to identify if the changes are compatible with the design. Then comes testing the entire process, ensuring process and functionality.

Well, that’s how we get our job done. Are there specific steps you follow on your e-commerce store? Feel free to share your thoughts.