Buying decisions continue to be made after the actual purchase.
Marketers of high-end brands understand Plato’s description of emotion and reason as two horses pulling us in different directions. After all, it can be painful when you’ve carefully helped a customer along the path to purchase, only to have her return the product the following week.
We sometimes forget that buying decisions are made with the head and the heart. At the high end of the market, it’s tempting sometimes to over-play the emotional component and ignore the rational. But that’s dangerous. Marketers need to provide customers and prospects with emotional and rational reasons to buy – not only along the path to purchase, but after the sale, as well.
I had a fascinating visit recently with Celia Lehrman, an editor at Consumer Reports. We were talking about the ways that consumers handle research as they evaluate products – especially high-end brands. I’ve always thought of Consumer Reports as a great research tool for people to utilize as they are narrowing down their consideration set: they consult Consumer Reports, make their decision, then buy.
Celia surprised me when she told me that Monday is the busiest day on the Consumer Reports website. Why? Because consumers are validating the purchases they made over the weekend. They are not only utilizing Consumer Reports before the sale, but afterwards, too.
That’s an important insight for marketers, because if the rational component of a consumer’s decision-making process can remain active after the sale, you may need to adjust accordingly. Ask yourself three simple questions:
– Are we doing everything we can to help ensure that our customer is delighted with her purchase when she gets home?
– Have we supported her rational and emotional needs throughout (and beyond) the path to purchase?
– What might we do to cement her loyalty right away?
By broadening your marketing efforts to include the post-purchase moment of truth, you stand a better chance of driving loyalty and profits.