Understanding consumer behaviour
Have you ever wondered what makes some people choose one type of product and another person choose another? For example, why someone would prefer to buy a designer handbag, whereas someone else is happy with one she bought from a local small business. What drives our choices?
Studying consumer behaviour is fascinating, as I’ve found by researching this article. So, what is consumer behaviour?
It’s the study of how people buy, use, acquire and dispose of goods and services. It’s not just about buying either, it could be they acquire goods through bartering, lending or leasing. Behaviour can be affected by how much they use the goods they buy. For example, if someone buys a can of drink, it is consumed just the once, but if they buy a laptop or tablet, it would be used over a period of time. Buying behaviour depends on how much that product is used.
Consumers are also influenced by others, through reviews. If a product has great reviews, or if a consumer’s friends are raving about how good a product is, they are likely to buy it. But, if their friends are really slating a product, or it gets negative reviews, they probably wouldn’t buy it.
There are several factors that influence how consumers make their buying choices. In this blog post, I’m going to talk about five of them…
All of these factors can be split down further.
How someone feels about a particular product when they are presented with it will depend on their state of mind. Their state of mind will determine not just how they feel about the item itself, but also about the brand as a whole.
Most of us want to be accepted socially, and this can affect buying habits. In order to be socially accepted, some people will mimic others, including copying what they buy.
Family, friends, work colleagues or other groups will play an important part in the way people see different products or services. These groups all help to influence buying behaviours.
Culture is not just defined by a person’s nationality. It can also be defined by who they associate with, religious beliefs or even people living in the same geographical location.
Personal factors include age, occupation, marital status, budget, personal beliefs, values and morals.
Consumers are affected by the economic condition of a country. This is evident at the moment with inflation at an all time high – people can’t afford to buy too many luxuries, as they have to concentrate on paying the bills, putting fuel in the car and buying food.
Economic factors include personal income and how much disposable income is left after everything has been paid each month. It also includes family income – again, what’s left over that the family can enjoy.
Consumer credit is another factor. People have credit cards so can buy goods when they want to. Consumers are more likely to buy luxury and comfort goods if they have access to higher credit, or can pay through a credit card, easy instalments or bank loans. I’m not saying this is good – it’s just a factor.
The Five stages of the consumer buying process
Now you understand the factors that influence the buying process, lets look at the five stages people go through when deciding to buy.
- The problem. A consumer notices they have a problem they want to solve. This could be anything from needing to get a new outfit for a special event, to buying a new tap for their sink.
- Research – the next stage is to research how to fix their problem. This might be trawling the internet for recommendations, or to look at various sites that sell what they’re after. It might be talking to a friend or family member for their advice.
- Find a solution – once they have all the information they need, they can start comparing brands and looking at reviews to help them decide on a solution.
- Buy a product – the consumer makes a decision and decides to spend their money on the solution they’ve chosen.
- Review the product – some consumers will leave a review about the product they’ve bought – some won’t. Either way, they will still personally review the product and decide whether they would recommend it to others…and whether they’d buy from that brand again.
The four types of buyers
It’s also worth knowing about the four different types of buyers, so you can market your products or services accordingly. The four types are different, based on what motivates them to buy.
- The analytical buyer – this person is motivated by logic and needs to have lots of information. They want to look at all the data on the different brands and different types of products available before making an informed decision.
- The amiable buyer – this person is warm and friendly and just wants everyone to be happy. They can often be stumped by having to make big decisions, especially if there is a perception of a win/lose outcome.
- The driver buyer – this type of buyer is really concerned with how others view them, and whether they should follow the trend setters. Drivers are most concerned with their appearance rather than the relationships that are formed during a transaction.
- The expressive buyer – this buyer is driven by relationships. They hate the feeling of isolation and don’t like being ignored during a transaction. They like to feel as though they are your most important asset.
This being said about the four types of buyer, it’s difficult to put everyone into one category – people will often fall into a combination of the four.
As you can see, consumer behaviour is influenced by many things; psychological, social, cultural, personal and economic.
It’s also worth knowing the buying process and the types of buyers – this can help you figure out how you can reach and influence the people that are most likely to buy your products.
If you’d like to take a more in-depth look at your customers and target market, get in touch for a free discovery call.