Changes to the customer buying journey


There are no longer any questions about how customer expectations have changed the way people shop, and in turn, the way businesses sell.

In previous past times, consumers were limited in their options when researching what to buy, relying on the more traditional forms of advertisements such as TV adverts, brochures, telephone enquiries and showroom visits.

Things changed somewhat throughout the 20th century, but it was the widespread adoption of the internet that brought considerable change, alongside the recent covid pandemic. Consumers now have a wealth of information available to them at the click of a button.

In this blog, we look at the changes to the customer journey and how retailers can take an active role in the way customers make a purchase online.

But first it’s important to define a buying journey and why there is a need for businesses to be conscious of it.

So what exactly is a buying journey?

A buyer’s journey is a person’s path to purchase, it contains every step, big or small, that a customer takes on their way to the point of purchase.

The journey is made up of three phases: awareness, consideration and decision. Each step can be defined as follows:

1. Awareness

This is the first step on the buying journey, where the buyer recognises there is a problem or need, and they begin to discover the products you offer as a potential solution.

2. Consideration

During this stage, buyers become aware of what their problem or need is. They have researched enough to know what options are out there and are considering which path to follow to fulfil their solution. This stage is key as the buyer is now weighing up their options. This is where they find additional information such as the value on offer that takes them to the final stage, the decision.

3. Decision

In the final stage, the customer is ready to buy. They are fully aware of your products on offer, and more than likely that of your competitors, and are making the decision on the right retailer to choose. At this stage, the main goal should be to minimise the hesitations felt by the buyer. This could come in many forms. For example, how clear is their next step, how easy is it to progress the journey to purchase with you over your competitors, and what additional value is offered.

How does this relate to the automotive industry?

Our CEO, Jackie Lawton, says: “One of the very positive areas that has come out of the pandemic, is that the online customer experience has now changed forever, as more consumers choose to research and buy online more than they ever did prior to Covid. The automotive industry is no exception. The world has now significantly opened its doors to shopping online across all cultures and industries.”

So, how should established dealers react?

Jackie continued: “Dealers need to acknowledge that car buyer behaviour has evolved and in order to meet customer buyer expectations there is pressure to provide the best online user experience possible.”

“By providing the best digital user experience, dealers can compete against any other automotive retailer. With the right digital platform, dealers can thrive and can do so using the features that are inclusive of the Geronimo Programme”.

Implementing the right digital platform for your business can help you generate the data required to accurately measure and analyse consumer behaviour, dynamically provide the search results for which the modern buyer is looking for, reassure them they are dealing with a reputable, honest and helpful business, and simplify the overall online user journey that matches their digital expectation.

What role does the Geronimo Programme play in this?

The Geronimo Programme is designed to interact with consumers at every stage of the buyer's journey. Our native-speaking Digital Content Managers act as your consultants who work directly with you on a 1-2-1 basis to provide bespoke marketing consultancy unique to your market and culture. They provide the analysis, strategy and support to ensure that the customer expectation is met.

Our lead management & CRM platform helps capture consumers during their consideration phase when they’ve found the vehicle they’re interested in, and want to consider the options available to them, such as affordability, and finance eligibility. Convert progresses the buying journey even further, giving you pre-qualified leads that have a higher chance of converting into a sale.

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