When serious cash is involved, people rarely go out and buy something without any thought. Customers think deeply, do lots of research, ask themselves questions, and get to the decision stage at their own pace. This is known as a customer journey.
Every sector and industry has a slightly different customer journey. B2B customers often need to get decisions past other stakeholders, so need to know all the benefits and potential problems up front. B2C customers are motivated by various different things too – price, convenience, accessibility – but ultimately, the decision is all theirs.
For the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom industry, it’s particularly important to know what your customers care about when they’re deciding whether to buy or not.
How do they make their decisions? What steps do they take along the way? What are their major concerns, worries, and goals?
Once you understand customer journey, you can influence it with your marketing strategy and the KBB Sales Engine.
At each stage, it’s crucial to understand:
- What the customer’s thinking
Their preferences and priorities. Buying is a big decision, so customers have a lot to think about.
- What the customer’s feeling
Are they apprehensive, calm, excited, impatient? A big purchase can involve a lot of mixed feelings, and they’ll keep changing as the buying process moves forward.
- What the customer’s doing
Where are they browsing? What are they looking for? Customers care about the practicalities.
If you can answer those three questions, you’ll be able to create marketing communication that really speaks to them and encourage them to go to the next stage with you. That means more happy, committed customers, and more referrals.
Stage 1 – Awareness
The first thing a potential customer becomes aware of is problems with their existing kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom. Its age, design, practicalities, and how well it fits with their home, can turn into “I think I might start looking at new kitchens.”
It’s really difficult to influence this first stage, but it’s what you do with the initial spark that matters.
Thinking? The seed of an idea has been planted. Your potential customers will start thinking about what kind of improvements they want to make in their kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom.
Feeling? They’re dissatisfied with their current product/situation. Old kitchen units will start to look tired, the bathroom they’ve had for 10 years will irritate them. They’re craving change.
Doing? Probably not much right now. They’re just becoming aware of the problems that exist.
Stage 2 – Research
After the customer becomes problem-aware, they start thinking about what they’re going to do about it. They’re now interested in inspiration and ideas – styles, trends, design choices, and features. This is the fun stage for a lot of people because they’re playing around with different options.
The research stage can take any amount of time, depending on how much information and inspiration the customer wants to collect.
Thinking? The customer’s working out what they want, including colours, themes, and designs. There are lots of options to consider.
Feeling? Inspired, positive, encouraged. For design enthusiasts, this is the fun stage. Others might feel overwhelmed by choice though.
Doing? Online research, social media, magazines. Inspiration can be found anywhere, and your soon-to-be customers will start seeking it out. Their camera roll is probably full of other people’s kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms!
Stage 3 – Consideration
Consideration and research might sound fairly similar, but stage 3 involves a mental shift. After browsing, some will be ready to start seriously committing to the project, so their thought process becomes more specific and direct.
Thinking? Measurements and practicalities are crucial now. They’re interested in tangible information that will help them narrow down their options and choices even further.
Feeling? Still excited, but potentially a bit nervous about the cost and time involved. The project’s getting serious now…
Doing? More detailed research. They might start asking around and quizzing their friends too – personal recommendations are powerful.
Stage 4 – Choice Reduction
The customer has thought about their preferences a lot and taken measurements, now they want to know who can help them make it happen. This is when people start to search locally and narrow the options down.
Thinking? Who’s the best fit for the job? Potential customers will start thinking about which companies they like and trust. This is where those recommendations from stage 3 really make an impact.
Feeling? They’re still apprehensive, but much more invested because they’re starting to understand what they want.
Doing? They’re coming to your showroom (and your competitors’ showrooms!) to find out who they want to buy from. Choice reduction is about crossing options off the list, so it’s time to impress!
Stage 5 – Purchase Decision
This is the goal of the whole journey – the customer’s final decision.
Surprisingly, it’s not uncommon for people to have a bit of buyer’s remorse at this stage. Even after doing all that research! Once the customer has committed, they’ll start to worry about how reliable you are, if you’re going to do a good job, and if this purchase is going to be value for money.
Your job clearly isn’t done yet. The customer wants to feel comfortable and know they’ve made the right decision in choosing you, so it’s important to be communicative and reassuring.
Thinking? Considering the potential problems. When will it be done? What’s their role as the customer? How much disruption will it create?
Feeling? Still a mix of nervous and excited. Customers will naturally be concerned about the end result, so they’re looking to you for reassurance and trust signals.
Doing? It’s all go! They’ll be preparing their information, arranging delivery dates, and booking any time off work they might need.
After the sale…
The ideal end result is a happy customer who’s ready to refer you. You want your customer to tell their friends about how much they love their kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom. This can help other people in the Research and Consideration stage start to narrow down their choices too.
There’s a lot I could say about this after sale process, so I’m going to save that for another post. Keep an eye on our updates to be the first to check it out!
Customer journey is everything. Your job is taking customers from the Awareness stage through to the Purchase Decision stage, and helping them through each part of the process. That’s what the KBB Sales Engine marketing tools are designed to do.
What do you think of these five stages? If you’ve got anything important to add, or have some insights from your own marketing strategy, comment below or get in touch.
If you want to refine your KBB sales and marketing, and get more potential customers to that essential decision-making stage, give us a shout to book a live demo.