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What Is Consumer Behavior? Complete Guide + Examples

Elliott Poulter - 25/08/2020

What is consumer behavior?

We all know the phrase ‘consumer ‘behavior, but what is it? It can be split into two simple parts – the consumers are the individuals and organizations involved in the purchasing and use of a company’s products or services. The behavior is how they perceive and interact with these products or services. This may be either physically or psychologically.

 

Ways of understanding consumer behavior?

Consumer behavior is a multifaceted concept and can be broken down into different elements. The first step is to look at how consumers perceive a product or service and its alternatives and how they choose between their options.

This then manifests itself in how consumers act in-store, weighing up, and researching their options or purchasing the product or service. It also considers how the consumer is affected by their environment, mainly focusing on three pillars: culturepeers, and media

Their culture can completely change their view of a product and how they value it; this could be simply between countries and the social norms in various nations or even from a religious point of view with differences in core beliefs and values.

As well as societal influence, there is an enormous impact from a consumer’s more immediate surroundings: their friends and families. The people we are close to and trust, form a lot of our views and beliefs and consequently affect behavior. This may be from inheriting an opinion or belief from a parent or following a trend in a friendship group.

Naturally, the media plays an inescapable role in forming our views and opinions. We are faced with stimuli from every direction: on your phone, TV, and the daily commute, but how does this affect consumer behavior? As you’d expect, much of this is advertising. With the billions of dollars pushed in front of us every year, the reinforced messages we see undoubtedly impact our purchasing behavior, consciously or not. Similarly, sponsored content and product placement in film and TV impact behavior significantly, with viewed repetition creating social norms for consumers.

 

What can you do with an understanding of consumer behavior?

As you would expect, understanding what their consumers are thinking and feeling is every business’ dream; however, the reality is that it’s unsurprisingly difficult to have a complete understanding of this, hence the value that is placed upon exploring consumer behavior.

So once you start to get actionable data around consumer behavior, what can you do with it?

 


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Retail

Retailers can benefit from insights into consumer behavior in several ways by capitalizing on a sound understanding of how consumers choose to spend their time. 

Firstly, the instore activity of customers is crucial; the customer journey can be significantly influenced by store layout, product placement, and in-store advertising. All of the factors must be considered in relation to customer behavior and how they may react differently. Data into how consumers behave can help to inform these decisions and give retailers the upper hand. 

A retailer can also analyze how long consumers are spending in-store, cross-referencing their spending habits, whether a purchase has been made, and how any changes they make may affect these factors. Heightening the customer’s experience in-store reaps many benefits, such as driving brand loyalty, forcing repeat business, increasing purchase amount, and increasing profits.

 

Real estate

Insights into consumer behavior relating to real estate may seem odd at first. However, be it personal or corporate real estate, consumers’ understanding can open up comprehensive insights for the industry.

On the buyer side, if someone is looking to buy a house, they naturally weigh the pros and cons of the property while assessing the property’s financial feasibility. 

However, much more is going on in their head. Through a sound understanding of consumer behavior, real estate can understand the decisions that a buyer will make in greater detail. This allows them to shift the sales focus to accommodate this for different buyers, consequently maximizing sales.

From a corporate perspective, decisions can be primarily based on data around consumer behavior. It can help to answer questions such as:

  • Where are consumers congregating, and why?
  • Who are the consumers?
  • How long do they spend in this area, and why?

Without detailed data and insights into consumer behavior, it can be hard to quantify these factors. However, with data and analytics, we can measure how consumers behave and start to understand the reasons behind these questions and then to gain actionable information.

 

Hospitality, travel, and tourism

For the hospitality and the travel and tourism sector, their clientele is their key focus. This means that large amounts of effort are given to understanding who their customers are and tailoring their value proposition accordingly. 

As we’ve already mentioned, understanding the consumer’s thoughts, motivations, and perceptions are essential to grasp consumer behavior. This is because it will have a significant effect on whether they consider their stay with the business a success or a failure.

 

Marketing

When you look at how a business communicates with its customers, it is evident that you must be very careful in your messages to maximize your reach. By understanding what your customer wants and why they want it, a business can get the very bottom of what drives their customers. 

Furthermore, marketing teams must work out how they are going to target their consumer effectively. Part of that process understands where their target customers are and what would attract them to the proposition. 

A complete understanding of consumer behavior through data and analytics can help to paint this picture. Applying this to a marketing strategy allows marketers to produce better campaigns, fine-tune targeting, and understand what truly drives their customers to make a purchase.

 

Conclusion 

Understanding consumer behavior has far-reaching and practical applications for several different industries. It is an integral part of understanding how consumers think and act, and is vital for planning and getting ahead of the competition. 

Almanac helps companies understand what drives consumers. It allows businesses to look forward and get comprehensive insights into consumer behavior. Sign up here.

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Elliott Poulter

Elliott is the Marketing Executive at Olvin.

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