What is customer behavior?
Imagine starting a normal day.
You stop the alarm from your smartphone, then you drag yourself to the bathroom. Here, you will brush your teeth with that new fluorine toothpaste, then have a shower with a vanilla-scented shampoo.
Then you have your breakfast: a cup of your favorite coffee blend with a couple of those new cereal cookies.
What happened here?
Every single action you have made was once a buying decision. You picked your favorite shampoo, coffee, shirt, and even furniture amongst a wide variety of objects. You acted as a customer by choosing certain things for several reasons.
However, what causes these decisions?
Your behavior as a customer!
Even if you are a marketer or the owner of doesn’t-matter-which brand, you are a customer as well.
As you, even having worked for years with brands to promote their products and services, we are still amazed by how the most insignificant decision affects an entire buying process.
I always want to discover more. Human psychology is fascinating and dramatically affects the customer journey, people’s intents, and expectations.
I want to share with you some of my best pics along the time.
Customer behavior: what is it and why is it important?
The definition of customer behavior is “the study of consumers and the processes they use to choose, use (consume), and dispose of products and services, including consumers’ emotional, mental, and behavioral responses”.
It covers several disciplines, like sociology, psychology, economics, and many more.
Generally speaking, it tries to understand why and how people make buying decisions.
It may look pretty plain and obvious, but there are several aspects of this discipline.
Some of those aspects include:
- Feeling of the customers for certain brands or products
- Motivations that made them choose between several alternatives
- The behavior of the customers while they are shopping
- Factors in the daily environment that may affect the buying purchase
- The difference in decision-making, from groups to a single buyer.
- How marketers can adapt marketing campaigns for higher efficiency and influence
Multiple factors can make people change their minds before they take action.
In particular, three main factors influence people’s buying journey:
Personal factor. Customers’ interests and opinions that change also with different age, gender, culture, and other demographic aspects.
Psychological factor. How customers feel about the marketing message they receive.
Social factor. How people in our social group think and act, and how their choices affect us.
We have biases, and many factors can completely change the result marketers could imagine.
A Salesforce study reports that 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.
Knowing people’s insights and understanding why people act as they do, helps marketers to better understand how customers react to advertising messages. It will help them understand users’ tastes, preferences, and habits.
Creating a product from a single girl with a dog in Florida can be quite different from imagining a campaign for a family with a teenager and a toddler in Wisconsin!
In this way, experts can understand what moves people’s decisions and why.
This will also lead to the definition of target and buyer personas.
Five reasons why you should care about customers’ behavior
Here we have five reasons – amongst the others – why customer behavior is a game-changer for marketers.
Understand customer differentiation.
Even if you have targeted your customers in distinct clusters, this is not enough. Other and more personal habits will help you for a deeper breakdown.
The more you know your customers -, the more you can understand their journey, needs and desires.
In marketing, the one-size-fits-all is dangerous and useless. Be curious and discover something more!
The more you know, the more successful you will be.
Do you want to know if something new is happening in the market scenario?
Study your customers’ behavior.
They will be the first ones to shift their behavior and knowing what they are doing will be a marketing advantage you should not underestimate. In this way, you can come first and before your competitors, and you will always be aware of how the market is going.
For example, lots of restaurants or brands of food started adding vegetarian and vegan options to their menu, because customers were showing interest in a more healthy way of eating.
Even the cosmetics producers are catching this trend! See the vegan toothpaste and mouth products here below. Vegan and with recyclable packaging.
What is the lesson here? Doesn’t matter what you sell, the most important thing is what the customer is looking for.
Create customers’ retention
One of the first marketing rules that students learn is that “it is easier to keep a customer than get a new one”. This means that you have to take care of the customers that already chose you!
Here, customer behavior can give you great help.
Usually, when a client is happy with a product, they will tend to repeat the purchase. In this, marketing and customer service can help him to keep buying.
However, how do you know if your client is happy about the choice he made? It’s easy – you study his behavior and adapt marketing campaigns by consequence!
The subscription boxes are a perfect example of this phenomenon. Customers can start a monthly subscription to the brand they prefer. Once a month, usually, the brand will send a box with some products.
They are usually themed: there are tea ones, hygge ones and even cookie ones!
Retention, variety and feedback that helps the future marketing activities.
Innovate and stay relevant to the market
If you do not innovate or stay relevant for your customers, you risk dying as a brand.
To avoid this, customer behavior can help twice.
At first, you can create campaigns and strategies that fit your clients perfectly, because you learned who they are, what they want, and how they want it. You can retarget, know what different kinds of people desire, and the reason beneath their choice.
On the other hand, it can help your brand to innovate itself – or even not doing it.
What does it mean?
It means that you may even have the most incredible idea for a new product since the birth of the brand, but if people – your customers – don’t like it or don’t need it, you wasted time, effort, and money.
Not the best idea, right?
Customer first philosophy brings to success.
However, if you know your clients, listen to them and know exactly what kind of user you have, you can minimize the risks.
For example, if you produce kitchen robots, you could imagine a line with products that are professionals but not too high-end, for amateurs that still want to cook with a more sophisticated feeling without spending on chefs’ equipment.
Design relevant marketing strategies
This is probably one of the most important things you can do – use the knowledge you gained from customer behavior to adapt your marketing strategies.
In this way, you will make them more efficient and precise. You can cluster your customers even more and adapt every campaign to the specific segment you want to reach.
Someone said that knowledge is power, but it is something even better.
Knowledge gives you the ability to plan by segmenting people, according to their interests, their environment, and their desires. In this way, you could even create the perfect advertising campaign, only by looking at how your clients behave.
Customer behavior: 5 kinds of customers
No one-size-fits-all kind of behavior, it depends on several factors, but, as a general rule, The higher the perceived value, the more the decisions are complex.
Let’s see how typically a customer handles complexity on a five-level scale for a mid-spending person.
They are the most important kind of customer to find and keep. They may be not so much, usually around 20% of the total, but they are extremely loyal to the brand, and they are a game changer in sales.
These customers are the perfect brand ambassador: they love the brand and buy the same products because of habits and sincere affection.
Loyal customers appreciate the brand so much that they can spontaneously suggest it to family and friends, explaining how good a certain product is and why they keep buying that specific shower gel, lipstick or even furniture piece since 2012.
Moreover, this kind of clients can be really precious if your brand needs any suggestion or if it’s looking for sincere feedback.
Keep them close and happy!
Have you ever been in a supermarket and decided to buy chewing gum right before paying for your groceries?
That was an impulse buy.
If they have not a specific affection for a brand nor a shopping list they follow carefully, it is easy to upsell.
They listen to recommendations from several sources, and they can be adventurous, trying other products and being curious about something new.
They may be less predictable than loyal customers, but they are as important as them when it comes to sales.
If impulse customers are the perfect ones for upselling, this does not happen with discount customers.
These kinds of clients usually look for the best deal possible: they don’t buy products full price, and they spend quite a lot of time inside the supermarket.
They may not be the most profitable kind of customers, but they surely help for products’ turnover.
It is hardest to upsell. The need-based customer works following a strict plan. He needs to buy some things, he has his shopping list, he enters the supermarket, he buys his stuff, pays and goes away.
End of story.
No impulse buying, no indecision or thoughts on trying a new brand of pasta, no interest for discount or low prices.
If something he needs isn’t in this store, he will try the next one.
There is no loyalty, but it is important to retain them, and the way to do it are not products, but interaction. This kind of customer is the one that could benefit the most from a personalized and caring customer experience.
Last but not least, we have the wandering customers. The opposite of the need-based customers, in a certain way.
They are a lot, and spend a lot of time in the store, but they don’t purchase as much. This kind of customers enjoy more the sociable part of the shopping experience, and they care more about the location than the products. Therefore, they are not the most profitable customers, but they can provide a lot of data about customers’ behavior.
Customer behavior is a complex set of patterns that many disciplines study.
For marketers, it is precious because it can help to better how customers act and react to advertising, and teaches more about tastes, preferences, and habits.
There are several reasons why you should care about customer experience, from a better knowledge of the market to create loyal customers.
And don’t forget – not all customers are the same!
Now that you know more about customers’ behavior, you are ready to improve your marketing strategy.
Do you already use any technique to study how people behave?