Social Media Has Changed the Way People Make Purchase Decisions

Social Media Changed Purchase Decisions

Not too long ago, consumers would visit local businesses, browse their products and make a decision to buy based on what they saw at the store. Sometimes a consumer would be influenced by an advertisement in a newspaper or on radio or television. But generally most shopping involved a visit to a store with very little up-front knowledge about the products or options that were available.

Today most consumers are very different in their purchasing process. The majority of consumers will use online tools to research and compare products before making the purchase decision. Social media plays an integral part in the purchase process for today’s consumer. When navigating this new territory, your business may benefit from a social media consultant, who can help you to assemble the right marketing strategy.

According to McKinsey Quarterly there is a defined process for consumers in the use of social media for purchase decisions. This process includes these steps:

Consideration – The potential buyer is determining whether or not they really need or want to make a purchase. The idea might have been sparked from a social media post or corresponding advertisement.

Evaluation – Once the decision has been made, there are choices and options to review. The prospect may research, read reviews and ask others in the social network on their opinions.

Purchase experience – At the time of purchase the buyer can have a positive experience or a negative one. While the product itself might be right, the buyer may feel slighted with a cumbersome experience or insufficient customer service.

Advocate – If the experience is positive the buyer can boast about the purchase online and provide links to the business website so that friends can also take advantage of the experience.

Loyalty – The buyer returns again to the business to make additional purchases, which can in turn result in more referrals and positive reviews to be read online by others. This starts the process for another potential buyer, and the cycle continues.

Every step in the purchase process can be influenced by social media. Businesses should take full advantage of these opportunities by working with a social media consultant who can assist in generating leads and increasing sales. With a thorough evaluation of your current purchase process for your customers, you can gain insights on ways to improve the buying experience and how to link to social media for increased visibility and opportunities.

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