Knowing buyer behavior is the most important element of business success. Without such knowledge, acquiring and maintaining a strong customer base can be quite difficult.
The Consumer Thought Process
The decision to make a purchase depends greatly on where the shopper is in his or her life and the basic needs that must be fulfilled. First, the consumer will identify a need or problem. Then, they will search for relevant information toward a viable solution.
They will search their memory as well as external sources to determine the best way to meet their needs and an estimated cost. Once they have evaluated all of the alternatives, they choose the product or service they believe is best and make a purchase. After the purchase, the consumer will evaluate the decision they made to determine if the purchase was good. This is also when they decide if they will make additional similar purchases in the future.
What Drives a Consumer to Make a Purchase?
Customers are driven to make purchases on two different levels. Of course, there are the rational reasons to buy. However, the most important area of focus is consumers’ emotional reasons for making a purchase.
While some people may rationalize the purchase of a $100 blouse by referring to the thread count and quality seams, the real reason for the purchase is the way it makes them feel. While some purchases will be on the basis of logic, most will be due to emotional intent.
Understanding Their Needs and Wants
If you were to ask a random shopper their reason for choosing a particular store, they are likely to claim low prices and good products. However, the experience of the shopper is critical to the success of the store. Once you understand that shoppers are buying the experience of your product and not just the product itself, you have unlocked a major key to increased sales and revenue.
How Life Stages and Occurrences Affect Purchases
The personal reasons for making a purchase are unique to each individual. These are determined by a number of different factors, such as age, race, and sex. Young shoppers are going to be interested in different things and have different needs than an older shopper.
For example, a teenage coming to spend the money he made from his after school job is likely to invest in a new pair of jeans or the hottest video game releases. A mom will likely be shopping for quick food items, toys, diapers and school supplies.
Knowing buyer behavior and training your employees to pick up on these cues is key to having customers return. When a customer feels like they were treated with respect and have a more personal shopping experience, they are more likely to think positively when determining whether their expectations were properly met. Thus, they will decide it was a good purchase and come back for more. Likewise, if consumers needs are not met with personal interaction and respect, they are less likely to return.