Retail Consultant Tip: 4 Stages of A Customer's Buying Cycle

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As a retail consultant, I've examined how your customer's buying cycle is predictable.

As the economy has gotten stronger, I've been called on to share the Bob Phibbs Experience with more luxury brands with average tickets in the thousands.

Why is that?

Because many were frustrated with the "old school" selling about manipulation and maneuvers.

Many brands and businesses cling to these sales tactics because they haven't explored their own buying cycle.

Not sure what one is? Here's your primer:

A Retail Customer's Four-Stage Buying Cycle

When I am called on as a retail consultant to do business makeovers, I explain the four stages of a customer buying cycle:

  • Inspiration
  • Hunter-gatherer
  • Critical Parent
  • Joy of Purchase

A customer, say - you - sees an ad for a beautiful diamond watch, a product in a movie, a leather jacket on someone's back, a motorcycle racing past you, or a cool TV adorning someone's living room.

customer service tipsThis is the inspiration for the purchase. It is a childlike wonder. It is the best place to buy from, "Wouldn't it be neat for me/us to have/use/wear that?"

Never forget their original feeling about the product or service...childlike wonder.

Next, they let that hunter-gatherer come out to find what they are looking for. In the old days, they might shop several stores to find that item or something that would do the same job. Nowadays, they probably start with their computer or smartphone. This is simply the "looking" stage.

Next comes their critical parent stage; once they find the item or one like it, they come forward to answer all the critical/analytical questions. I call it the Aunt Jean phase, where the subconscious asks, "Can you trust this person?" "Can you afford this?" "Will it do what you want?" "Is there a cheaper deal?" and the kicker, "Be careful -you don't want to be taken advantage of."

Finally comes the joy of purchase. If you have a great sales team, they are carefully trained to heighten the childlike wonder and lessen the Aunt Jean voice. The customer leaves happy with what they were looking for and tells their friends about it.


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