Understanding Buying Behaviour
Psychological factors, such as brand loyalty, can be a major driving force when it comes to consumer behavior. Consumers may have a strong, emotional connection with a certain brand, even if there are other products of superior quality and better value. This connection can be based on personal experiences, such as the advertising campaigns of a certain brand or the customer service they’ve received in the past. Many are loyal to their favorite brands without fully considering the quality or value of the product compared to others on the market. If a consumer prefers one brand, even though another is of better quality and better value, this may seem counter-productive; however, there are many reasons for this type of buying behavior, such as psychological, social, and cultural factors. This is just one small example of consumer psychology at play. As a business owner, identifying and understanding consumer behavior can be incredibly lucrative, providing a wide range of benefits for businesses.
Think back to the last time you bought something. What was the purpose? Did you make the purchase purely out of impulse? The need for social status? Did you want to look or feel in a certain way? Or was it simply to make your life easier or solve a problem? Regardless of the reason for your purchase, and regardless of what it was, there is one common denominator among all purchases, including yours that’s right, I said every purchase. That common denominator is: Motivation. Regardless of who, when or what, motivation meant the difference between putting the item back on the shelf and acting on a purchase decision. We’ll talk more about how consumers ultimately come to the decision of make a purchase a little later on in this post.
A belief that a
|Brand loyalty, association of previous positive experiences
with the product, or brand recognition can contribute to a
belief that a specific brand or product is needed. Consumers
who value specific brands or products may be motivated to
purchase these products because they believe that they
offer superior quality, performance or other desirable
|Consumers that value self-expression may make purchases
that reflect their unique style and make them stand out from
the crowd. This could include buying custom-made clothing,
accessories and jewelry, unique art pieces, handmade items,
DIY materials or products that can be personalized with
their own name, initials, design or message. Buying these
items allows them to express their individual sense of style,
personality and creativity.
|Consumers who value convenience and time-saving are more
likely to purchase products and services make life that little
bit easier, they’ll likely be interested in home delivery
services, smart home technology and fast food.
|Cost-conscious consumers will place emphasis on the
value-for-money of the products and services they buy,
they might research product quality against price to
determine the best-value options.
Buying behavior is affected by how consumers perceive products and services through their own unique set of experiences, beliefs, and attitudes. This applies to how consumers feel on an individual level about brands, products, and services, and this may be based on first or second-hand experiences of products. Whereas one consumer may perceive a brand as being high-quality and trustworthy based on their prior experience with the brand, another consumer may have a completely different perception based on a negative one. These perceptions can be influenced by various factors, including the way products are advertised, word-of-mouth reviews, and social media management, and can have a significant impact on consumer perception of brands.
An individual’s perception of a brand, business, or advertising campaign can influence consumer buying behavior:
- Brand Image: A positive perception of a brand can lead to increased brand loyalty and repeat purchases. By contrast, consumers will take less interest in less trustworthy and credible brands.
- Product Features: An individual’s perception of the features of a product can influence their purchasing decision.
- Advertising Campaign: An effective advertising campaign can create a positive perception of a brand and its products.
- Personal Values and Beliefs: An individual’s personal values and beliefs can also impact their perception of a brand or business.
Social and Cultural Factors
Social and cultural factors have a significant impact on shaping consumer and buying behavior. Consumers are generally influenced by the opinions, attitudes, and previous experiences of their family, friends, and other social groups. For example, if a consumer’s family values environmental consciousness, they may be more likely to seek out eco-friendly and organic products.
In addition to the opinions and attitudes of social groups, cultural values, perceived ‘norms’, and beliefs also play a part in shaping consumer purchasing habits. Due to the diversity in cultures, people have varying attitudes towards consumerism, materialism, value and quality which impacts consumer buying decisions. In some cultures, consumerism is highly valued and people are encouraged to buy the latest and greatest products to demonstrate their wealth and status. In contrast, other cultures may value simplicity and minimalism, causing individuals to prioritise experiences and relationships over material possessions and status.
|An individual's personal values shape many aspects of their life
and this includes their purchasing decisions. For example,
someone who is passionate about sustainability may choose
to buy products that are made with recycled materials and
are designed to last, or they may opt for secondhand items
instead of buying new with an emphasis on upcycled and
recycled products. Similarly, someone who values health
may choose to buy organic produce, natural cleaning products,
and other products that are free of harmful chemicals.
By making buying decisions that reflect their own personal
values, individuals can ensure that their money is being
used to support causes that they care about.
|Attitudes and perceptions about certain products or brands
influence purchasing behaviour with consumers more likely
to purchase from brands they can relate to or that share the
same values as them. Social media management can be critical
to shaping a brand’s identity online as it can shape a consumer’s
perception of the business throught the brand’s social media
|Culture has shown to shape consumer values, beliefs, and
behaviors, as well as influence preferences for certain
products and brands.
values of a
|Family members, particularly parents and spouses, can have a
significant impact on an individual's purchasing decisions
through their opinions, experiences and values.
Ultimately, consumer behavior is influenced by the consumer’s decision-making process. The five-stage decision-making process is a widely accepted framework for understanding consumer behavior and it provides a high-level view of the different factors that have an impact on a consumer’s purchasing decisions.
- Problem Recognition: This decision-making process is initiated when a consumer realises that they have a need or desire for a product or service. This need can be triggered by internal factors, such as a change in life circumstances, or as a result of external factors, such as a targeted marketing campaigns or based on a recommendation from a friend, family member of colleague.
- Information Search: In this stage, the consumer seeks out information to help satisfy the identified need or desire.
- Evaluation of Alternatives: Once the consumer has gathered information, they may evaluate the different options available to them, considering factors such as price, quality, and features.
- Purchase Decision: At this stage, the consumer makes a final decision about what to buy, when to buy it, and where or who to buy it from. The decision will be based on the consumer’s motivation to buy, the information found regarding the product and subsequent to any evaluation of potential alternatives.
- Post-Purchase Evaluation: After making the purchase, the consumer evaluates their satisfaction with the product or service. Whether this is done internally or through expression of public product or service feedback.
Understanding the five-stage decision-making process in consumer buying behavior can help businesses and marketers develop effective marketing strategies that cater to each stage of the process. For example, businesses can use advertising and promotional tactics to trigger problem recognition and provide detailed product information, assisting consumers with two of the five-stage process, improving the likelihood of a purchase.
Leveraging Consumer Psychology and Buying Behaviour
Consumer psychology and buying behaviour are closely linked and understanding how shoppers think, feel and act is an incredibly useful tool that businesses can use for leverage when reaching out to their target market. By leveraging consumer psychology and buying behaviour, businesses can create targeted marketing campaigns, product offerings, and pricing strategies that appeal to their target market, all contributing to a greater sales volume and improved bottom-line. Understanding how consumers think and feel about products, brands and ads allows businesses to create compelling marketing messages and campaigns that will resonate with and engage their target market. By understanding the emotions and motivations associated with certain products, businesses can tailor their messaging to engage their target market in a way that speaks to their needs which can help to trigger the start of consumer decision-making process.