Why do we even study behavior, any behavior? Behavior studies, when done correctly, provide an abundance of insight and useful knowledge that can take your strategies to the next level. When you study how people behave in certain situations, you begin to see trends and patterns, correlations and causations, connections and associations.
You begin to see why people do certain things in certain circumstances, why they make decisions, what influences their decision-making processes. You begin to see what makes them tick.
And this is extremely powerful knowledge. When you understand behavior, you can predict people’s actions with a fair degree of confidence. And when you do that, you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
Consumer behavior follows the same principles. By studying how your consumers behave in certain situations, you are trying to find answers to core questions:
- Why do people buy this and don’t buy that?
- How do they make their choices?
- What influences their shopping decisions?
- How can I use consumer behavior knowledge to convert more customers?
Let’s dig a bit deeper.
What is Consumer Behavior?
Consumer behavior is a process that leads to making purchase decisions. While it sounds simple, consumer behavior study is, in fact, a complex research discipline that taps into a number of fields of science, such as psychology, biology, statistics, marketing, and more.
Studying consumer behavior involves research and analysis of multiple related factors – personal, demographic, business, lifestyle – to drill down to the motivations that drive people to make purchases. When you understand what makes them buy things they buy, you can build your sales and marketing strategy upon that knowledge.
Who can benefit from consumer behavior study? Any business, whether well-established or just about to start an online store, can boost conversions once it understands why its customers behave this particular way. Read on to learn how to use your consumer behavior studies to raise your conversion rate.
Which Factors influence consumer behavior?
Consumer behavior is a complex phenomenon influenced by both the consumer’s personality and external factors. Typically, people make purchase decisions under the influence of the following factors:
- Personal (age, gender, education)
- Lifestyle (profession, income, status)
- Social (belonging to certain social groups and media, family influence)
- Geographic (country, region)
- Psychological (purchase triggers and motives)
- Situational (social and physical conditions at the moment of purchase)
- Marketing (advertising, targeting, design, pricing).
How Can Studying Consumer Behavior Help Conversions?
Now, let’s get from theory to practice. What can you do to increase conversions based on the knowledge you gain from studying consumer behavior?
Gain insights about customers’ decision-making process
Whatever we buy, be it a bottle of water or a car, it is the result of a buyer decision process, which consists of the same stages. Of course, with water, the whole process can take a few minutes, while for cars it can take weeks, but, in essence, the buyer goes through the same sequence:
- Problem recognition. For example, “I need a microwave to warm my meals”.
- Information search. Once you decide you need a microwave, you start looking up information online, research different models, browse reviews and comparisons, ask friends and relatives.
- Evaluation of alternatives. When you have collected all the information you can get your hands on, you start evaluating your options. “This one is great but too expensive. This one is OK, but it is white and I want silver. That brand I have never heard of. Here is a special offer but only two days left. And that may be a bit pricey but has lots of great reviews and I know two people who recommend it”.
- Purchase decision. Based on the evaluation of alternatives, you decide which of the available offerings you choose to buy.
- Post-purchase behavior. At this stage, you compare your expectations to the actual experience of your purchase.
Studying consumer behavior can help businesses adjust their marketing strategies to steer decision-making towards their brands.
Improve targeting by identifying consumer groups
Through consumer behavior study, you can identify groups within your customer audience. Such groups have common decision-influencing factors. Some buy most often from local businesses, others rely on social media, yet others will look for special offers and promotions.
If you can segment your audience into smaller groups with common buyer behavior, you can target them better and make them choose you over the competition. Launch several lines within your marketing campaign to aim at different audience groups.
If, for example, you notice that customers pay a lot of attention to social media advertising, give your SMM a boost. If, on the other hand, your customers tend to trust peer reviews, offer unpacking or referral bonuses to encourage people to rate and review your products.
Build loyalty through customer satisfaction
A loyal customer is a customer that repeatedly does business with you. Having loyal customers may be every businessman’s dream. However, to make it come true, you need to work hard, and studying consumer behavior can help you here, too.
What can make a customer come back to you? Lots of things – the quality of your product, the convenience of purchase, the great customer service. However, you can go one step further – you can anticipate your customers’ needs and take proactive actions to meet them.
Based on your consumer behavior knowledge, you can start creating fabulous experiences from the first contact with the customer. If in your line of business customers prefer companies that offer self-service resources – as 67% of customers do – a good idea may be to provide a comprehensive knowledge base consisting of FAQs, tutorials, how-to’s, and useful articles. Find a reliable provider to host a knowledge base with to make it as effective as possible. If you see many customers using personalized special offers, lean on email marketing.
Such tactics will help you build customers’ loyalty towards your brand. Just don’t forget to run customer satisfaction surveys regularly to validate your ideas.
Form and sustain consumer habits
Did you know that you can not only observe consumer behavior but shape it, too? When you identify certain trends in your customers’ buying behavior, you can take steps to reinforce them and turn them into habits that will be beneficial both for you and your customers.
This approach has become especially widespread in the Covid-19 era. Lots of usual buying processes and habits were disrupted to be replaced with new ones. People turn to at-home fitness, DIY cooking, remote businesses.
You can help customers enjoy such new trends more and develop new habits. For example, promote online shopping with delivery over offline stores. If you are in a software business, think about what you can offer to remote teams, which are becoming the new normal.
This way, you not only adapt to the rapidly changing world but also make your customers form habits that fit your business strategies.
Coordinate brand communication with customers’ mindset
Your product is not just a product. It’s your message to your customer audience that needs to be consistent across all channels. Knowing your consumer behavior can help you form that message so that it resonates with the majority of your customers and creates a positive brand image.
If, for example, you see that your customers are mostly focused on adopting a healthier lifestyle, you can start promoting healthy living in your production and communication, too. Use organic products, energy-saving technologies, environment-friendly packaging. And, of course, let your customers know about it.
Another point worth mentioning is the concerns customers might have about their online privacy. Today, cybercrime is a hot topic, and people worry about their personal data being compromised. Take appropriate measures and make sure to communicate them to customers.
If your products and services match their mindset, customers will be more willing to consider your brand over your competitors.
Adjust production in accordance with customers’ reaction
Studying your customers’ behavior can hint at what you can improve in your product to meet their expectations better. With this knowledge, you can have more than one way to bring your offering closer to what your customers want:
- If your customers prefer to shop locally and support local businesses, consider opening stores in the vicinity or using local materials or services.
- If your research shows that customers generally see price as the main criterion, think about adjusting your pricing policy to make it more attractive.
- If your customers are looking for advanced technological solutions rather than traditional methods, consider upgrading your products or implementing innovations.
Consumer Behavior Study Empowers
Analyzing the behavior of your customers brings huge benefits to businesses. On the one hand, it allows adapting your flows and processes to meet customers’ expectations and bring more conversions. On the other hand, it gives you the power to influence how customers shop and, again, bring more conversions.
Invest in consumer behavior study and you will see new opportunities to take your business to the next level.
Julia Serdiuk is an Outreach Specialist at HelpCrunch, an innovative platform to build relationships with customers. She is a seasoned traveler and yoga enthusiast who appreciates life and believes in the cloudless future of our planet.