Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
Customer buying process for new products
How do customers approach the process of buying a new product?
How does this differ from the process for buying a product which the customer
has bought before? What is meant by a “new product”?
A new product can be defined as:
"A good, service or idea that is “perceived”
by some potential customers as new. It may have been available for some time,
but many potential customers have not yet adopted the product nor decided
to become a regular user of the product"
Research suggests that customers go through five stages
in the process of adopting a new product or service: these are summarised
(1) Awareness - the customer becomes aware
of the new product, but lacks information about it
(2) Interest - the customer seeks information
about the new product
(3) Evaluation - the customer considers
whether trying the new product makes sense
(4) Trial - the customer tries the new
product on a limited or small scale to assess the value of the product
(5) Adoption - the customer decides to
make full and/or regular use of the new product
What is the role of marketing in the process of new-product adoption?
A marketing team looking to successfully introduce a new product or service
should think about how to help customers move through the five stages.
For example, what kind of advertising or other promotional campaign can be
employed to build customer awareness? If customers show a desire to trial
or sample a product, how can this be arranged effectively?
Research also suggests that customers can be divided into groups according
to the speed with which they adopt new products.
Rogers, in his influential work on the diffusion of innovations, suggested
the following classification:
The “innovators” (those who adopt new products
first) are usually relatively young, lively, intelligent, socially and geographically
mobile. They are often of a high socioeconomic group (“AB’s”).
Conversely, the “laggards” (those who adopt last, if at all) tend
to be older, less intelligent, less well-off and lower on the socioeconomic
It follows from the above model that when a business launches a new product
or service, the customers who buy first are likely to be significantly different
from those who buy the product much later. This needs to be borne in mind
when developing the marketing mix.