The Online Buying Process

Understanding the online buying process is important in providing website visitors with everything they need to make an informed decision regarding their purchase. The online buying process is not very different from a person’s natural buying process and is often thought to be easier to understand. There are essentially three main steps to the online buying process:

1. Research

The online buying process begins with research. A person will initially research the product they are looking for, in order to decide which version of the product is best for them.

For example, if a person has decided to buy a laptop computer, a great deal of research needs to be done and many factors influence the end decision. If the person does a lot of traveling, it is important that the laptop be light weight and if the person uses a lot of large applications it is imperative that the laptop have a large amount of memory and a high processor speed. Additional decision affecting factors could include price, screen size, and additional features.

Understand the depth of this part of the online buying process can allow you, the website owner, to provide additional tools and applications on your website to make the website visitors research a little easier This makes for an informed buyer, which leads to a happy repetitive buyer.

2. Comparison

The next step in the online buying process is comparison. After a buyer has done the necessary research on the product they wish to purchase, they must compare all of the products that meet their criteria.

Let’s return to the example above. Our buyer has decided that they need a light weight laptop, with a lot of memory, and under $2500. After doing the research they want to compare three computers to see what additional components they each have that will increase their likelihood of buying that particular brand.

Adding a product comparison element to your website, can be a huge value add in the eyes of your customers, and can in turn create more repeat customers for your company.

3. Purchase

The last portion of the online buying process is the actual purchase. Even this part is very important. The buyer will often look to purchase the product from a website that is user friendly, easily navigated and secure. You want to ensure that your website visitors can quickly and easily locate the product they are searching for, find additional specifications about that product and then be able to purchase the product with little to on effort. Often this step is the most frustrating for customers, because many websites on the Internet today are difficult to navigate and do not have the necessary information about the product that the buyer needs. Also, websites have long checkout processes that are unnecessary and confusing.

Addressing all three of these steps in the online buying process can have a positive affect on the reputation of your website and may increase your website traffic, in turn increasing your company’s profit from online sales.

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