Understanding consumer behaviour and their purchasing decisions
Consumer behaviour is the study of individuals, groups, or organisations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services, including the consumer’s emotional, mental and behavioural responses that precede or follow these activities.
*Content credit: Wikipedia
Today consumers demand increased personalisation and expect products, services, and information that cater to their individual needs and wants.
As marketers we need to adopt to those changes and incorporate more psychology into our processes.
Marketers are always focusing on organic, paid and social strategies. We are trying to get that perfect QS, or that perfect conversion rate, but we rarely start from the consumers point of view. We should start understanding our consumers first; what are their pain points/problems, and what obstacles are they encountering while searching for solutions. Only then we can start focusing on the digital aspect. Understanding our consumers and their decision making process is the most important step in solving their problems.
Every purchase has several decision making stages, and every decision we make as consumers is a response to a problem. Of course the type and the scope of these problems varies from simple priorities such as what am I wearing tomorrow for work, to whether I’ll spend a lot of money on a new laptop or a new car.
When we make rational decisions, we follow a sequence of steps described as problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision and post purchase evaluation.
And there are various factors that come into play when we make our decisions: Environmental factors, Economic factors, Technological factors, Political factors, Cultural factors, Demographic factors, Market factors – 4P’s (Price, Place, Promotion, Product) and Psychological factors.
HOW TO RESEARCH CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR?
Consumer Barometer from Google is an excellent tool that can help us understand customers online behaviour based on the country we are targeting. It literally has everything we could possibly want to know about our consumers online behaviour, from motivations for purchase, online information sources they use while at the researching stage, to actual purchasing behaviour and post purchase activities… This tool can also be used when we are looking to expand to different markets!
Another great tool to research consumer behaviour is a Hofstede country comparison tool which will help you understand more about countries values.
UNDERSTANDING OF BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER PURCHASE PROCESS
Consumer behaviour is constantly changing. Consumers won’t have the same behaviour every time they make a purchase, because during the first purchase they learned something new. They learned how our website works, if our products/services actually delivered what was promised… and they will adopt those learnings into their next purchasing decision.
Therefore, understanding the before (pre-purchase), during (purchase) and after (post-purchase) of the consumption process is vital when formulating marketing strategies.
Consumers are bombarded with different ads and promotions wherever they go, so they already learned how to pay attention to the important things, and how to tune out the irrelevant ones. The trick here is that each consumer will give their own personal spin to our ads based on their previous experiences, their preferences and desires. So the messages can often end up affecting them differently from what we (advertisers) intended. Also a brand recognition plays an important part in consumers purchasing and decision making process. Apple fans will gladly pay a higher amount for a laptop as long as it has a little apple sign on it. 🙂 OK, it’s not so simple, but you get my point!
Below is a cool study made by Brand Watch showing European countries and their brand preference.
*Image credit: Brand Watch
Start exploring your consumer behaviour, use the test groups, find out what drives them to make the purchase, what makes them tick, and then focus on your paid/organic efforts.
Take a closer look at exactly who’s buying what you’re selling. You’ll be more successful if you understand what drives them and align your marketing efforts to their needs.