The Customer Journey
Stage 1: Need Recognition
The customer journey for a tile consumer starts long before a store threshold is crossed or a single web page is browsed. It starts with recognition. The consumer discovers an unmet need that must be fulfilled. They recognise that they want to make a new purchase, influenced by the following factors:
- Fashion trends
- A need to repair
- Peer group
- Interior refresh
A tile consumer, whether homeowner, landlord or tenant, is an inexperienced shopper, meaning they do not have fully formed needs. Prior to purchase they need research, advice, style inspiration and guidance.
At this stage it not even be clear to the consumer whether tiles are the right material to use. This will be decided during the research stage.
Stage 2: Research
The consumer begins to gather information on different ways that their newly discovered need can be met. The research stage can be carried out in a number of ways. Help is sought from friends, family or sales staff, specialist publications, social media or product-rating review sites in order to prepare them for the buying decision.
Most types of research can be split into two categories:
- Home Research – E.g. Online blogs, mood boards, share sites, friends, family or neighbours (peers)
- Store Research – E.g. Samples, swatch cards, brochures, visualisers.
Many will fall under both of these categories at some stage of the journey. A common trend in the tile sector is for consumers to start firstly with some home research and then move on to store research. Tiles are typically considered to be a major purchase; most consumers will want to see them for real. After all, you can’t assess texture, size or weight online.
If you fail to meet the consumer’s requirements at the research stage, you won’t even be a consideration during the next stage, the buying decision.
Stage 3: The Buying Decision
The consumer has finished their research. They now know that tiles are the material they want to use, and they even have a good idea of where they’re going to buy from.
The tile customer decision at point of purchase (in-store or online), depends on a number of factors. In order of importance:
- Stock availability
- Delivery options
Meeting each of these requirements is key to securing the actual purchase.
Stage 4: Post Purchase Review
Some of you might be wondering why you’re still reading, after all, the sale has been made! Job done, right? Wrong. The experience the consumer has after making their purchase is just as important as the decision to make the purchase in the first place.
Happy or sad, the vast majority of consumers will go on to review their purchase in some way. In the same way that the research phase can be split into two categories, so too can the review phase:
- Online – Blogs, review sites, social media etc.
- Offline – In-store, to friends, family or neighbours (peers)
A consumer who is filled with regret at their purchase is likely to make their feelings known in some way. Similarly, a consumer who is happy with their purchase is also likely to express their joy at their new purchase.
Either way, a consumer’s stage 4 can significantly affect someone else’s stage 2. A negative review might see your company completely dismissed from someone else’s research stage. Whereas, a positive review could see your company put at the forefront of a new consumer’s research.