Customer buying process

Attracting & retaining customers   |   Jump to Video   |   Jump to Tools

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Looking at what people do when they make a purchase reveals some common steps in the buying process. Understanding these steps, and the process the customer goes through at each, will help you market your product more effectively.

The customer buying process is the method by which individuals search for, select, purchase, use and dispose of goods and services, in satisfaction of their needs and wants. Effectively, it’s a detailed look at what every customer does when they buy something.

The customer buying process is really just a series of steps that are followed when making a purchase. The same steps are followed for both personal and business buying decisions. The more complex the ‘buy’, the more steps or more in-depth the analysis may be. Some businesses have a set process and some do not, just as some customers will buy on impulse and some will not. Generally speaking, the more expensive the purchase, the more care that is taken in analysing the various steps in the process.

In this video, Bill explains what the customer buying process is and how each stage factors into a purchase. Understanding what customers are doing when deciding to buy will help you market your product or service more effectively. Through the 5 steps of the buying process, the customer:

  1. Recognises a need
  2. Seeks out information about how to meet that need
  3. Compares and evaluates a number of options
  4. Makes a decision and purchases the product or service
  5. Makes a post-purchase evaluation – was it the right product or service?

Business tools

Customer buying process worksheet

Download the resource document to learn more about the customer buying process. Included in the document is an activity that helps you apply what you have learnt about the buying process to your business’s marketing, which will help you target your customers more effectively.

Buyer persona template

Buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) are fictional, generalised representations of your ideal customers. Use this template to develop your own buyer persona

Buyer personas help us all – in marketing, sales, product, and services – internalise the ideal customer we’re trying to attract, and relate to our customers as real humans. Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.

The following template will get you thinking about your target customers and get a clearer understanding of the type of people they are. This will help you engage with them in all stages of the customer buying process.