A buying funnel is a term to describe the entire buying process for a consumer. It is a description that involves all the steps in the purchasing process, and also goes by the names of buying cycle, buyer decision cycle, and sales cycle. The buying funnel is an important concept because it helps online businesses understand the way visitors think, so that they can tailor dynamic web pages to be more appealing and have a better conversion on visitors to purchasers. A buying funnel can be different for any business, depending upon what the business is currently selling, and continued studies on the buying funnel for a particular business can help web pages become more user-friendly and attractive.
A buying funnel pertains to the steps of the buying process for the consumer. As there are many different products and many different consumers in the world of online business, there can be any number of different steps in a particular buying funnel. Yet, there are a few steps that are universal to any purchasing process, and may include:
Problem recognition – The consumer recognizing that they have a need or problem that needs to be solved or fulfilled by a particular product
Information search – Research that a consumer will perform to find the best solution to the problem that has been recognized
Alternative evaluation – A time period where a consumer evaluates and determines which out of many choices are the best solution to the problem
Purchase decision – An important step that involves the consumer making a final decision on the purchase
Purchasing – The actual purchase is made
Post-purchase reflection – The consumer reevaluates whether the right decision was made and whether the problem was solved with the purchase