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How people make buying decisions

I love this industry. There is always something new to be learnt and being on the agency side of the business I am always learning about diverse sectors, brands and consumer segments and buying behaviours. The truth is that our clients are also always teaching me new things. The most poignant of late is that the most important customer is the second purchase.
How people make buying decisions

A second-time buyer is at least twice as likely to return and buy again as a first-time buyer.

So how do you transform a one-time buyer to become a two-time buyer?

Typically, this involves a combination of good customer service and a good perceived value. A good sense of value is achieved when a customer feels as though they're getting more from your product or service than they paid for.

For example, a Vespa is almost twice as expensive as any other scooter on the road. Given that, you might assume that Vespa's market share would be significantly less than the cheaper, more inferior brands, but it's not. Vespa has almost the highest scooter penetration in South Africa.

The reason is that paying a premium creates the perception in the consumer's mind that they are getting is 2 - 3 times more value than they would if they purchased a cheaper scooter. Obviously Vespa's intrinsic product quality and customer service experience helps to deliver on the premium pricing.

This is an important example for thinking about how people make their buying decisions and this should impact on your marketing, brand and communication strategies.

Remember, most people make buying decisions in one of three ways,
  1. With their gut
  2. With their heart
  3. With their mind
People who make decisions with their gut are intuitive, non-linear thinkers, much like my wife. They don't analyse a purchase in a structured "A...B...C" way as much as they analyse a purchase in a less-structured "B...Z...D...adore the colour" kind of way.

People who make decisions with their heart are driven by emotion. If your target market is driven by emotion, you'll want to work extra hard on establishing a strong, meaningful brand.

People who make decisions with their mind are logical, linear thinkers. If that's your target market, you'll want a feature-oriented, benefits-based marketing campaign.

To conclude
  • The most important purchase is the second purchase because those customers are twice as likely to purchase again
  • Customer service and perceived value are two of the key drivers for repeat purchases
  • Most people make buying decisions in one of three ways: their gut, their heart or their mind so make sure your communications reflects your target market's buying behaviours.

15 Feb 2011 11:43