Concept image of a hand pressing a button and engaging users
Shifting Focus from Buyers to Users
Successful businesses create users instead of buyers. Understand the customer journey, and how your digital experience can turn buyers into users.

They say that the best sales clerk will sell you gloves in the summer and sun hats in the winter. The key is not in the selling of the merchandise, but in instilling the need for the merchandise. In short, create a user for your goods and you will never have trouble finding buyers. When you focus on the creating users rather than buyers, you will develop loyal customers that stick with you for the long term. In this blog, we are going to explore how to create users instead of buyers, allowing you to grow your business in a sustainable way.

The Buyer

The traditional way of doing business focuses more on the buyer, whether physical or digital. This is best illustrated on retail store shelves where success is measured by the number of goods sold rather than if they will actually be used. Selling your goods or services is a great start, but you need to understand the customer journey to create users. What are the steps that lead the buyer to a purchase? What does the buyer do once they buy your product? How can you get them to come back and buy again? Once you understand these, you can turn buyers into users.

The User

To understand why you want to create a user, look at the difference between Apple and PC. There are dozens of PC manufacturers, and even more accessory manufacturers. When you buy a PC, you are a PC user, but not a user of a specific brand. Your accessories come from many different manufacturers, and the PC manufacturer has no incentive to encourage you to purchase these third-party accessories.

The difference with an Apple user is that they are more than just a buyer. Someone who buys an Apple device becomes a user of Apple products. They are encouraged to purchase hardware and software products from the same manufacturer. A user is loyal to a brand, allowing the company to grow their sales with the individual. So how does Apple achieve this? They understand the customer journey.

The Customer Journey

The customer journey starts when a customer becomes aware of your brand. Many businesses think that the journey ends when the customer buys your product. Once you understand that the customer journey never truly ends, you understand the difference between a user and a buyer. A user is engaged with your organization at every stage of their journey, even after purchase. This gives you the ability to influence their decisions and provide them with the information necessary to make a purchase. Engaging with them after they make a purchase can encourage users to buy accessories, upgrade their products, and most importantly, consider your company when it comes time for their next big purchase. This is the advantage of turning your buyers into users.

Taking the First Steps

The first step to turning your buyers into users is to understand their journeys. Wherever you have customer touchpoints, you need to understand when, why and how they engage with you. What are they trying to learn? What content is valuable to them? How close are they to a purchase decision? Creating a unified digital experience to address the needs of your customers is necessary to create users. If your website only encourages visitors to make a purchase, you miss opportunities with everyone at every other stage than the purchase stage. A properly designed website enables you to engage with visitors at every stage of their journey, turning them into users and preparing them for an eventual purchase decision.

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Chris is OPIN's resident marketing scientist. Obsessed with testing and tweaking, he is constantly uncovering new patterns. His obsession with testing helps the agency gain insights for internal marketing campaigns and client projects. His unconventional methods help our readers look at business and marketing concepts in new ways.