What Is Consumer Behavior?

It may be difficult to believe, but the cup noodles you usually purchase, the extra books you haven't read, and the chocolates you place in your basket seconds before checking out all tell a narrative — the tale of your consumer behavior.

Consumer behavior is such an essential component of marketing that businesses have begun to form specialized teams to study it. Customer behavior, also known as buyer behavior, relates to an individual's purchasing patterns as influenced by their personal beliefs, social status, and mental process when making a purchase.

Let's take a closer look at what consumer behavior is and some of the models that may be used to explain it.

What is the definition of consumer behavior?

It's no longer only about coming up with catchy slogans in marketing. Businesses must be more analytical and careful in their judgments in today's society. As a consequence of that careful approach, these firms are paying attention to customer behavior.

Simply defined, consumer behavior is the study of how individuals decide what they have to purchase, need to buy, and should buy in terms of the company's goods and services. Businesses may forecast how their target audience will react to a new product or service by studying consumer behavior. Not only that, but it also assists them in discovering unmet wants and possibilities.

Consumer behavior is always one of the five Ps of your marketing mix, namely People. People are always taken for granted out of all the P's of marketing (People, Product, Place, Price, and Promotion). It is critical for companies to recognize that each customer's cognitive process and attitude toward purchasing a product or service is unique. And if the organization fails to address the particular characteristics of its target market, product failure is more likely.

Models of consumer behavior

Following different investigations and research, a few models have been established to explain why customers make the choices they do and how they effect companies. We'll go through five customer behavior models and how they may be utilized to create customer-centric experiences in this article. Traditional and modern models are the two types of models available.

Models of traditional behavior

Economists developed various conventional consumer behavior models in order to better understand economic systems. Economists think that understanding how finite resources are distributed among endless desires, needs, and demands can be achieved via economics.

The typical behavior models that follow concentrate on the buyer's emotional purchase behavior.

Model of instruction

Regardless of who the client is, they all have basic requirements like as clothing, food, shelter, and so on, and consumer behavior, according to the learning model, is driven by the desire to meet these needs. Customers decide whether or not to purchase a thing based on whether or not they need it. Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs has impacted this paradigm to some degree.

Maslow's hierarchy suggests that people should first address low-level deficiency requirements (basic needs, at the bottom of the hierarchy) before moving on to higher-level growth needs. As we rise up the ranks, we have a sense of self-fulfillment.

In simple words, the learning model states that no consumer will go on to satisfy learnt demands until their fundamental needs have been met first. For example, if you are a hungry consumer, your first priority will always be to obtain some meal before deciding on any stylish accessories.

The learning approach may be used in any industry, although it works best with internet firms. Customers would be more inclined to purchase if online firms could quickly create AI to propose the correct goods at the right moment. Furthermore, online retailers may employ SEO report software to examine how it affects the consumer experience; after all, customer experience and behavior are inextricably linked.

Although there are several tools available for this purpose on the market, the most of them are difficult to use. Businesses, on the other hand, may quickly develop visual SEO reports using Whatagraph.

Model of psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud, and everything that originates from him should be taken seriously. The conscious and unconscious minds both influence consumer behavior, according to Freud's psychoanalytical concept.

ID, ego, and superego are three main ideas explained by this theory. ID may be thought of as the iceberg's submarine, since it is an individual's unconscious mind that seeks happiness and pleasure rather than stress. The ego, on the other hand, is a component of the conscious mind that is responsible for the reality principle's operation.

Finally, the superego is the ethical and moral component of the human psyche that regulates ID's wants. Because the subconscious mind is also at work under the psychoanalytical paradigm, clients may not understand why a specific product appeals to them.

This model is a bit different from others in terms of applicability. It is especially successful for companies that are marketing a certain picture of society. Let's imagine your service or product is eyewear.

We now know that glasses are a sign of intellect because of the context in which they are most often utilized. As a result, you may request that your advertising team utilize images of individuals wearing glasses in a classroom or workplace scenario. You'll be able to appeal to the desires of your clients this manner.

Model of sociology

Every consumer, according to this paradigm, is a member of society, an institution or community that plays a significant role in an individual's growth path. Customers must fulfill a variety of official and informal roles in their lives, including those of a family member, a company employee, a professional forum member, and an active member of an informal cultural group.

All of the interactions that occur in each of these positions have an impact on the customer's purchasing habit.

Each client is identified based on their employment, income, and location of residence, among other factors. These criteria place them in a social class bracket.

Varied classes have different levels of status and reputation. Furthermore, these classes have established their way of life, causing consumers to feel compelled to conform. As a result, it has an impact on client purchasing behavior since they will acquire items that make them seem to be a member of that certain class.

Models of modern behavior

Contemporary models, in contrast to conventional models, place a greater emphasis on intentional and intellectual decision-making rather than emotions and instinctual impulses. Let's take a look at three of the most popular behavior models nowadays.

Stern, Hawkins impulse purchases

The impulse purchasing hypothesis, like the learning model, asserts that logical considerations are not required in the purchase of a product. When it comes to impulsive purchases, many people think of picking up candy bars just before paying or adding an extra item to the basket right before checking out on an eCommerce website.

This is a buy made on the spur of the moment. Hawking Stern, on the other hand, divides impulsive purchase into four categories.

  • Pure Impulse Buy: It's also known as an escape purchase. Consumers buy things that aren't even on their shopping list. They are more likely to acquire more things if the graphics are appealing.
  • Reminder Purchase: Consumers never intend to purchase these things, but they do so after being reminded of their existence. For example, an ice cream scoop strategically put in the store's transparent refrigerator.
  • Suggested Purchase: These purchases occur when a buyer becomes aware of a product as a result of an internet algorithm's recommendation or a salesperson's suggestion.
  • Planned Purchases: These are the polar opposite of impulsive purchases, since clients are aware that they must acquire a certain item. They don't do so, though, unless they can locate deals on the merchandise.

Model by Engel-Kollat-Blackwell (EKB)

The primary motivation for developing this model was to address issues with customer behavior knowledge. To arrive at a judgment regarding consumer behavior, it primarily evaluates two factors: market information and data about the customers.

Before customers make a purchase, this model illustrates a five-stage decision-making process. Awareness, information processing, appraisal, purchase choice, and result analysis are the five steps.

This strategy works well for companies that have a lot of rivals offering comparable goods or services.

Consumer behavior modeling challenges

For all of the advantages it may give, there is just one drawback: creating consumer behavior models is difficult and costly. Customer analytics professionals are one of the main reasons for this, since there aren't many individuals who can perform the work for you because there are so many difficult and dangerous mathematical formulae involved.

Furthermore, even if you have succeeded to create a consumer behavior model, manipulating it for marketing objectives is difficult. And their mission is to figure out what the optimal course of action is for each set of clients. Consumer behavior models, on the other hand, if properly designed, may make customer targeting a breeze.

Final thoughts

The customer's reaction to a product is referred to as consumer behavior. It might be a single person, a group of people, or perhaps the whole civilization that determines the answer.

Customers' requirements aren't always the driving force behind purchasing decisions. That's a key component of marketing, and these models clearly demonstrate it.

We hope you now have a better understanding of the consumer behavior model and how it influences marketing choices.

Thanks to Dinesh Agarwal at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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