You might wonder why it’s called a funnel. This is because in any consumer purchase or ownership process, there will be people who choose not to buy a given product or service for some reason. Maybe it doesn’t meet their needs, or it is too expensive. Maybe the process of buying it is cumbersome and clunky (think badly designed online retail websites), so they give up. Maybe an associate was unhelpful, poorly trained, or downright rude. Maybe the product they want doesn’t come in the size or color they need. There are countless potential reasons why people undergo the first several phases of the purchase process and then exit without purchasing. The funnel analogy works because there will always be more people who research, look at, or shop your product or service than who actually buy it. In other words, the top stages of the purchase funnel will always have more people in them than the bottom stages.
Figure 3.1 is an example of the purchase funnel. Although there are a number of versions and variations out there, I like this one because it shows that the customer experience doesn’t end with the purchase. The customer experience encompasses the entire process, from the initial stage of awareness, all the way through to the ownership experience and hopefully, the repurchase stage. Let me provide an overview on how to think about this model and illustrate how the customer experience exists during each and every stage.