Customer Adoption: Why It Matters To Your Business

Philip Cleave
May 15, 2024
The customer lifecycle resulting from a successful customer adoption process

When it comes to acquiring customers, have you ever wondered what customer adoption is all about?

Let us try to explain. Customer adoption is essentially the process of attracting new customers when you’re trying to launch a new product or break into a new market with an existing product.

In this piece, we’ll look at every aspect of customer adoption. From engagement strategies to the detailed tactics, you need to ensure success. We’ll also explore the essentials required to nurture a strong connection between your customers and your products or services.

Let’s get started.

What is customer adoption?

When we refer to customer adoption, we are talking about the journey customers take from first hearing about your product to becoming loyal users and advocates.

Customer adoption is about more than just making the sale; it's about nurturing a lasting relationship. This is crucial for businesses who are introducing new products or trying to break into new markets, as well as those trying to strengthen their engagement with existing customers.

Why does customer adoption matter to your business?

When it comes to business growth, customer adoption is more than a buzzword. In fact, it can be the difference between success and failure, helping products become a part of daily life, while others fail.

Customer adoption is about igniting a relationship, which grows over time.

Here’s some key reasons why nurturing this connection is hugely valuable to business success.

Develops brand loyalty

With a seamless adoption experience you can transform first-time users into long-lasting fans, embedding your brand into their daily lives and preferences, and fostering a deep-rooted loyalty that’s hard to dislodge.

Drives revenue growth

Mastering the art of customer adoption can help you to unlock new streams of profitability through upselling and cross-selling, whereby satisfied customers leads to more revenue per customer.

Helps nurture a feedback loop

When you engage customers during the adoption process, it helps open invaluable channels of communication, as their insights become your roadmap for product refinement, innovation and success.

Gives you a competitive advantage

When you meet and exceed customer expectations, it helps differentiate your brand from others in a crowded marketplace, creating a unique value proposition that’s hard for competitors to replicate.

Cuts your churn rate

A smooth customer adoption process can provide the antidote to customer turnover. This is because it not only ensures customers stay but are happy to stay, reducing your churn rate and boosting your business stability.

Key steps in the customer adoption process

So, having read how the customer adoption process can benefit you, we’re sure many of you will be keen to know how to implement it within your business.

Well, the customer adoption process is the journey potential customers will go through before they become loyal users or advocates for your brand, product or service. It’s a critical journey that businesses need to understand and optimise if they’re to significantly influence the success of their products or services in a market.

This process is divided into a number of key stages, each portraying a step closer to full adoption, which we’ve outlined below.

Product awareness

This initial stage is the moment when potential customers first hear about your product or service.

It’s the stage that sits with your marketing and sales teams, who are trying to engage prospects with promotional efforts and other strategies that they think will generate the most interest.

Product interest

After their initial awareness and exposure to the product or service, potential customers enter the interest stage, showing curiosity and seeking more information.

During this stage, marketers can implement more marketing adoption strategies in places where their customers are likely to be looking such as their website, apps, social media accounts, online reviews, testimonials and more.

Product evaluation

By this point, potential customers will be assessing a product’s value and relevance to their needs.

This stage involves comparing your product or service with competitors’ offerings, looking at features, benefits, price and quality. This is a crucial stage, as the evaluation will determine whether they move forward in the adoption process.

Product trial

As long as their evaluation is favourable, potential customers will now proceed to the trial stage, where they will experience the product or service first-hand. This could involve anything from a demo to a free trial or a sample.

The trial experience will be crucial in shaping their perceptions and decision about whether to fully adopt a product or service.

Adoption (purchase)

If the trial meets or exceeds expectations, the customer will most likely go on to purchase and fully adopt the product.

This stage highlights the transition from potential customers to actual customers. And it marks the beginning of their journey of using the product or service as part of their routine or lifestyle.


Having got a customer to adopt a product, the focus then shifts to retaining them.

At this point, positive post-purchase experiences are essential to ensuring customer satisfaction, loyalty and the potential for repeat business. Methods to help retain customers are likely to include exemplary service standards, loyalty programs, and ongoing customer engagement strategies.


The final stage is when satisfied customers become advocates for the product or service.

Here customers are making repeat purchases and are likely to be recommending the product to others, sharing their positive experiences on social media, and offering valuable feedback. Such advocacy is the most powerful form of marketing, as personal recommendations carry significant weight in consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Understanding and facilitating a smooth transition through each stage can greatly increase a business’s ability to attract, satisfy and retain customers. This is really important, as this will ultimately lead to a stronger market position and sustained growth.

Key benefits of customer adoption

There are a lot of benefits to be gained from customer adoption that can significantly impact the sustained growth and success of a business.

Here are some of the key benefits.

A boost to customer satisfaction

When they fully adopt a product or service, customers are more likely to be satisfied with their purchase, as their adoption means they understand how to use it effectively and can fully realise its value. Such satisfaction as this is crucial for building a loyal customer base.

Higher customer retention

When customers who’ve successfully adopted your product or service, see its value in their daily lives or businesses, they’re more likely to stick with your brand over time. This is important as high customer retention rates are essential for long-term revenue stability and growth.

Increased product usage

When you have effective customer adoption strategies in place, your customers become more engaged with your product or service, which helps increase its usage. Such heightened engagement can also lead to more opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.

Lower support costs

When your customer adoption processes are competently carried out it can help reduce your number of support requests. This is because those customers will have a better understanding of how to use that product or service from the outset.

Valuable insights lead to improvements

As we’ve already touched on, engaged customers who have already adopted your product, are more likely to provide feedback. This can be invaluable to identifying product improvements, addressing issues and the innovation of new features to better meet customer needs.

Increase in word-of-mouth referrals

When they’re engaged and satisfied, your customers are more likely to recommend your product or service to others. Such word-of-mouth referrals are a powerful marketing tool because they come with the endorsement of the referrer, which makes it easier and more cost-effective to acquire customers.

Competitive advantage

Focusing on customer adoption helps you to differentiate your business from competitors. This is because a strong focus on customer success can often be a key selling point and a competitive advantage when products in a market are very similar.

Increased lifetime value

When customers fully adopt and integrate your product or service into their workflows or lives, it’s more likely they’ll continue using it for a longer period. Such increased lifetime value (LTV) is vital in maximising the return on investment for customer acquisition costs.

Enhanced resource allocation

Increased recognition of how customers adopt and use your products can provide valuable insights into where to allocate resources more effectively, whether in product development, customer support or marketing.

Prioritising customer adoption can help businesses improve their relationship with current customers and establish a strong foundation for growth and resilience in competitive markets.

Understanding the customer adoption rate

While it’s important to know what the key steps are in the customer adoption process, as well as the benefits you can gain, it’s valuable to know how quickly new customers are starting to use your product or service. This is where the customer adoption rate is such a useful metric, as it can help you to understand how effectively your business is attracting new users and converting them into active customers.

The customer adoption rate can be especially useful when you’re launching a new product or entering a new market. This because its insights help you to gauge your initial success and identify areas for improvement in your marketing, product offerings, or customer service.

How to calculate customer adoption rate

You can calculate your customer adoption rate by dividing your number of new customers who have begun using your product or service over a specified timeframe by the total target market size, then multiplying this by 100 to give you a percentage.

Using this formula can clearly indicate your product’s penetration into the target market.

Yet this isn’t the only way you can measure your success, as there are some additional metrics you can use to see how well you’re doing with customer adoption, which we will look at next.

Key customer adoption metrics and KPIs

To measure customer adoption effectively requires tracking various metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that offer an insight into how well customers integrate and use a product or service.

Here are four key customer adoption metrics and KPIs:

Activation rate

With the activation rate metric, you’ll get a measure of the percentage of your customers that take a specific, desired action within a certain period after signing up to or purchasing your product or service.

Generally, it helps indicate where a customer finds value, such as in the completion of an onboarding process, making a first transaction, or using a key product feature. A high activation rate suggests that customers are successfully beginning to adopt a product.

Feature usage

By tracking how often and extensively customers use various product features, it can help you assess how deeply they have adopted it.

Feature usage can be measured in a number of ways including the number of active users for a particular feature, frequency of use, and the diversity of features used. This metric helps identify which features drive value for users and those which may need improvement.

Customer retention rate

When it comes to understanding your long-term customer adoption and satisfaction, your retention rate is really valuable.

Your retention rate helps you measure the percentage of customers who continue to use your product or service over time, typically calculated monthly or annually. High retention rates demonstrate successful customer adoption and satisfaction, in contrast to low retention rates that may indicate problems with the product or its adoption process.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Although NPS is traditionally viewed as a measure for customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, it can also be used to assess how well a customer adopts a product or service.

This can be achieved by asking your customers the following question, which is used to calculate your NPS.

“On a scale from 0 – 10, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague? (given that 0 represents not likely and 10 very likely)”

In the context of adoption, those customers who fully adopt and find value in your product are more likely to be your promoters who score you a 9 or 10.

By running regular customer surveys to monitor your NPS over time, you can provide insights into how your adoption efforts are impacting customer satisfaction and advocacy. In addition, when you combine all these metrics together it will give you a comprehensive view of how well your customers are adopting a product or service.

Wrapping up

Having explored the customer adoption process in detail, we hope you will feel better informed about what it is and its value to your business.

The key thing to take away is that if you can get the customer adoption process right, you’ll deliver stronger and longer-lasting relationships relationship with your customers that make your business more successful as a result. And that in itself makes the customer adoption process well worth implementing as part of your overall business strategy.

Delivering great experiences boosts customer adoption too

While it’s important to take the right steps if you're to get customers to fully adopt your products or services, delivering great experiences for them is also crucial, if they're to become long-term advocates for your brand. Yet, if you’re to achieve the best results, you’ll also need the right survey tools.

Find out more