You almost bought that salad for lunch from a drive-thru, but then you realized you have groceries at home to make a salad. You needed to buy sugar, and you chose the brand with better packaging even though it was thirty cents more.
These are both examples of customer buying behaviors, and we are constantly doing them. We make buying decisions several times a day, every day, and we often don’t even realize it.
But this customer buying behavior is a big part of us and who we are as a consumer—and paying attention to this information can offer a huge boom to your branding.
From the business side of things, understanding your customers’ buying behaviors can help you build a customer journey that matches them, aligns with what they want, and creates a better experience for them.
Ultimately, this puts more dollars in your pocket when you’re able to cater intimately to what your buyers wants and needs.
In this article, I'll explain customer buying behavior and why it matters so much to brands. I'll also share tips on how to learn better from your customers and modify your service to align with their needs.
Ultimately helping you build a better customer journey based on the factors that influence customer buying behavior.
What is a Customer Buying Behavior?
Customer buying behavior is the study of consumers and the processes they rely on to select, consume, and dispose of various services and products. It takes into account all of their responses, whether emotional, behavioral, or mental.
Customer buying behavior is a conglomeration of many different fields of study, including biology, psychology, economics, and even chemistry.
Some of the fundamental characteristics of consumer behavior include:
- Measuring value vs. price
- Changing patterns of consumption due to education or increased standard of living
- The shifting role of women in buying decisions
- The power of complaining
Tips on How You Can Learn from Your Customers
The importance of consumer behavior in marketing cannot be undermined.
Marketing is, essentially, the art of understanding the consumer and convincing them that your product or service is the right solution for them at that time. And if you don’t understand who they are and how they make decisions, how can you provide them with the “right” solution for them?
The first step to improve your marketing strategy through customer buying behavior is to learn from your customers.
How do you do that?
- Let them speak. You can’t listen or learn if you’re the one talking, so make sure your reps remain silent while the customer speaks.
- Stay patient. It can be frustrating working with a new customer or an unhappy one, but without patience, you won’t be able to understand where they are coming from to learn how you can improve.
- Engage on their preferred channels. You’ll get the most information if you listen to where they already spend their time. Social media and chatbot conversations are two great examples of where the younger millennials and Gen Z spend their time and engage with customer service.
- Practice active listening. This means repeating the issue back to the customer to ensure you’re understanding it correctly from their perspective before you try to address it further.
- Pay attention to the person, too. Each person should be dealt with uniquely, so paying attention and noticing how they react and what emotional state they are in can provide highly valuable tactical information.
Modify Your Products or Service to Align With Your Customers Behavior
If your customer buying behaviors aren’t what you want them to be (i.e., you’re not seeing the sales you expect), then it might be time to listen and make some changes to better align your services and products with your customer behavior and decision making.
For example, you may need to optimize your pricing to keep up with changes in brand expectations over time. While your product may have been high-value at one point in time—perhaps while it was trending—it might not be as highly sought-after a year or two down the line.
Being able to see that your product should get a lower price point will remove the price barrier that’s holding customers back and allow you to generate more revenue.
You may also decide to change aspects about the product or service itself, such as adjusting the packaging due to a design flaw that frustrated customers or adding a new feature that you hear a lot of feedback about.
Being agile, flexible, and willing to make these changes is a key part of long-term company success.
Build a Customer Journey That Matches Your Customer Behavior
It’s not just the product and the price that you should consider when using customer behavior data to shape your business offerings. You should also take into account the customer experience you’re creating for everyone that buys your products or services.
You may learn that your marketing emails aren’t nurturing your list in the right ways, creating a change in your email campaigns that instead focus on exclusive offerings and sales.
Another example might be developing relationships with more retail stores rather than focusing solely on e-commerce if you learn that customers are frustrated by not being able to test the products in person before buying.
As long as you’re listening closely, you’ll be able to identify the experiential changes your brand needs to make.
Factors That Influence Customer Buying Behavior
So, what drives customers to make the decisions they do?
The primary factors influencing consumer behavior are:
- Marketing campaigns—yes, their effectiveness matters
- Economic conditions—a healthy economy makes consumers more confident
- Personal values—morals, priorities, and preferences
- Group influence—peer pressure from colleagues, classmates, family, and friends
- Purchasing power—how much money consumers have to spend
Using Customer Buying Behavior Data for the Good of Your Business
With the capabilities to gather data around customer buying behavior, there’s a wealth of knowledge you can access to improve both your products or services and your customer journey.
By listening closely, understanding why people make the decisions they do, and developing insights based on customer feedback and behavior, you’ll be able to create a tailored experience for your customers.
What are you waiting for? Boost your sales by tapping into the power of customer buying behaviors, and improve your business’s revenue and success.
Share with me how you plan on learning from your customers. Use #Customers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
About the Author, James Webster
James Webster, founder and Executive Chairman of ROK Financial has almost two decades of experience within the financial services industry. His passion for helping small business owners and his innovative way of thinking, has allowed him to run multiple successful businesses including National Business Capital & Services. Under the National name, the team was able to help secure over $1 Billion in financing for small businesses nationwide.