How businesses can help customers make better buying decisions

| October 26, 2016

There are many different things that businesses can do to ensure that customers remain on track with their spending. Here’s how to keep them focused and help them out when they aren’t.

When it comes to shopping there’s no doubt us Aussies are spoilt for choice – and it may not necessarily be a good thing.

A recent study by Choosi and Core Data found that 90 per cent of Australians believe there is far more choice today which is making decisions harder. Almost one in three Aussies have made a large purchasing decision they have come to regret.

When it comes to shopping blunders, there are certain times people are likely to buy out of impulse.

Shopping online
When you have worldwide shipping, 3 hour delivery windows and discounted retail goods available at the click of a button, it’s hardly surprising that many Australians tend to let loose online. Research found that 21 per cent of Australians believe shopping online is when they are most frivolous with their money.

Impulsive shoppers may add to your bottom line short term but to create loyal and returning customers, it is best to create a shopping experience they will love from the moment they click on your website to the moment they zip up the back of their new dress.

Action point:
To help customers find products they will truly love, get to know them. Establish customer personas and tailor the way you market your brand to each persona. Personalisation will be an emerging trend as people want to feel like their chosen brands/stores know and remember them. If you have an e-commerce store, segment your customers by their buying or browsing behavior to deliver products they’re likely to buy.

Shopping based on emotion
The heart still has the ability to hurt the hip pocket when it wants to. Research shows that 41 per cent of Australians have admitted that their regrettable purchases were driven by emotion. The proof is in the pudding for this statistic, with 70 per cent of respondents conceding they have bought items that have never been used, concluding that we’re quite an emotional bunch indeed.

Emotional transactions are born out of split second desires. I need that dress, my kidswant that toy or my partner would love that gift. But with desire comes the dreaded buyer’s remorse.

Action point:
While you can’t control a customer’s emotions, you can setup a framework that doesn’t capitalise on emotional buyers. Always employ trained staff to offer superior customer service to your competitors. If your business is online, consider implementing a live chat to answer customer queries. Where possible, offer a friendly returns policy and cooling off periods. A friendly returns policy could include free postage on returns and pre-paid envelopes for a hassle free experience. The goal is to create a great customer experience regardless of where shoppers are in the buying journey.

Shopping while traveling
When in holiday mode, there’s no doubt that Aussies tend to be more relaxed with their finances. Research indicates 49.7 per cent of Aussies surveyed are most likely to indulge when traveling. It’s not surprising, we are more likely to ‘treat ourselves’ and splurge on a holiday. And when most purchases are made with credit cards or in a foreign currency you aren’t familiar with, it’s easy to forget you’re spending your hard earned Australian dollars.

Action point:
Whilst you can’t help every customer avoid a purchase they may regret you can make their buying journey a little easier by creating content that adds value, for example travel budget apps to help track their expenses in their home currency, souvenir gift guides per destination, blog posts on what you can and can’t bring through customs. This will help establish a relationship with prospective and existing customers and create an experience they’ll want to share with their friends and family.

Shopping while hungry
Second to shopping while traveling, Aussies are more likely to buy things they don’t need when they are food shopping on an empty stomach. Your eyes tend to be bigger than your stomach when hungry, leaving you with baskets full of things you may not need.

Action point:
Partner with suppliers to offer sampling stations for shoppers who visit during mealtimes. Sampling stations are not only a great way to help curb hunger, they also encourage customers to trial new products. In fact, there have been case studies where sampling has boosted sales by as much as 2000 per cent.

There’s no doubt that Aussies are facing analysis paralysis with the plethora of options in the market. Brands and companies that will win the hearts of the customers will be those who truly make an effort to provide tailored solutions that will help them make better purchasing decisions.

How is your business creating the best buying experience for existing and prospective customers?