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Conversion Optimization by Ayat Shukairy, Khalid Saleh

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Chapter 5. Understanding the Buying Stages

ALTHOUGH YOU HOPE YOUR WEBSITE VISITORS will buy eventually, many of them aren’t ready to buy today.

Many website visitors are browsing, looking for information, comparing products, or simply killing time. The same applies offline. Not every consumer who walks into a store will end up buying something. Some people might be window shopping with no particular item in mind, while others might be looking for a good deal. And then there are those people who are ready to buy. Consumers typically go through these five stages before making a buying decision:

  1. Need recognition

  2. Information search

  3. Evaluation of alternatives

  4. Purchase

  5. Post-purchase evaluation

Not every buying decision will go through these five distinct stages. If you get hungry in the middle of the night (need recognition), you might skip the information search and evaluation phases and move right to the purchase stage. The length of time it takes a consumer to go through these stages will vary based on a mix of internal and external factors.

Visitors in different buying stages require different sets of information and different styles of presentation to persuade them to convert. Visitors at the need recognition or information search stage are in the beginning of the buying funnel. They have not invested the time to determine the best solution for their need. The evaluation stage indicates that visitors are in the middle of the conversion funnel. Finally, visitors in the purchase stage are ...

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