Why do people buy?
When it comes to consumer behaviour, it’s not just about what people are buying, but also why and how they decide to make a purchase. Is it out of routine or impulse? Are they influenced by others or are they strictly brand-loyal? Perhaps it’s a complex decision involving several different factors, or maybe it’s as simple as needing a convenient solution to an immediate problem. With today’s consumers being more informed and spoilt for choice, businesses must decipher the ‘how,’ ‘what,’ and ‘why’ behind consumer choices to create, and fine-tune marketing strategies that resonate, connect and convert.
Here are eight different types of consumer buying behaviours to know about when creating your marketing strategies:
1. ROUTINE / HABITUAL BUYING
In industries like coffee shops or dry cleaners, consumers often exhibit routine or habitual buying behaviour. These are services where the client’s engagement is frequent but involves minimal research and decision-making effort. Once they find a service that meets their basic needs, they often stick to it out of habit. The decision-making process becomes almost automatic, relying less on the brand’s unique selling points and more on factors like location, ease of scheduling, or even the simple inertia of routine.
To influence this kind of buying behaviour in service-oriented businesses, you can employ strategies such as loyalty rewards programs, convenience-focused features like easy online booking, and personalised customer service. The objective is to subtly interrupt the consumer’s habitual cycle long enough to make them consider whether a switch to your service could offer them an enhanced experience.
2. IMPULSE BUYING
Impulse buying behaviour is typically associated with spontaneous, unplanned decisions to purchase, often triggered by emotional stimuli. This can occur in scenarios such as last-minute bookings for a weekend getaway or adding a hotel upgrade that is only available at the time of booking. The consumer makes a quick decision without much thought or research.
Marketing strategies could include flash sales, time-limited offers, or prominently displaying promotional banners on your websites. Upselling and adding low-cost items at point of sale is also a good way to capture impulse shoppers. The key is to create a sense of urgency that triggers an immediate response from the consumer.
Fun fact: Did you know that the shelves at the supermarket checkouts filled with chocolates, mints, magazines etc are called impulse bars and contribute to $100,000s of sales every year.
3. INFLUENCED BUYING
Consumers can be influenced by recommendations, reviews, word-of-mouth, or society in general. What other people are saying and doing impact their choices and heavily sway their decisions as to whether they buy or not. A (2023) Nielsen report found:
- 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.
- 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.
- 41% of customers discover new products through influencers weekly
- 42% of people discover new brands through search engines, and 38% through word-of-mouth recommendations.
You can tap into this buying behaviour by collaborating with (genuine) influencers, user generated content on social media, collecting reviews and testimonials, showcasing case studies, and incentivising through referral programs.
4. RELATIONSHIP-BASED BUYING
Relationship-Based Buying Behaviour emphasises the long-term interaction between the consumer and the service provider, where the consumer is not just buying a product or service, they’re investing in a relationship. We see this a lot with hairstylists, personal trainers, bank managers, healthcare providers, the butcher etc… where a level of trust and rapport has been built over time.
The key to this type of buying behaviour is trust, communication, and personalised service and should focus on consumer engagement and high-quality service. Strategies you could use include assigning personal customer/client relationship managers, creating customer/client profiles to tailor offerings, and setting up automated but personalised communication channels like newsletters or notification systems that offer genuine value.
Also getting to know your client on a personal level (we don’t mean the intimate details), but knowing the names of their kids so you can ask about them next time you see them, when their birthday is, asking how their recent holiday was etc, so you can add that level or personalisation to your service and build trust.
5. VARIETY-SEEKING BUYING
In industries like entertainment or restaurants, consumers may seek variety and try different options. They are open to new experiences, not necessarily because they are unhappy with their choices but often for the sake of trying something different or a change of pace.
To capitalise on consumers seeking variety, marketing strategies could include limited-time promotional offers, bundled service, or even partnerships with other brands to provide a new, unique service experience. Not only do you catch the eye of consumers looking for something new but you can also convert these ‘variety-seekers’ into habitual customers by exceeding their expectations and providing a uniquely satisfying experience.
6. COMPLEX BUYING
Consumers engage in complex buying behaviour when they are highly involved in the purchase and when there are significant differences between brands. This situation is most common for expensive, infrequently purchased, or highly self-expressive products, like cars or houses. Consumers take a lot of time to decide on these purchases, carefully weighing the pros and cons and actively seeking out information to help with their decisions.
You can tap into this type of buying behaviour by offering detailed comparisons, expert reviews, and exceptional service to help the consumer make an informed decision. Storytelling is also a powerful technique as it appeals to the consumer’s emotional needs and aspirations, thus influencing their choice positively.
7. BRAND LOYALTY BUYING
Brand Loyalty Buying Behaviour is a sought-after trait in consumers, and its importance cannot be overstated in any business. Once consumers are loyal to a brand, they not only continue using its services due to trust, positive experiences, and perceived value, but often become ambassadors who promote the brand voluntarily. Industries like airlines with their frequent flyer programs or brands like Apple, who over time, have carefully orchestrated strategies that go beyond simple transactional interactions and have create a fan base so loyal they will buy anything the brand releases.
Building brand loyalty requires a consistent, high-quality service experience. Businesses can also nurture brand loyalty through customer appreciation initiatives like exclusive previews, members-only events / offerings, or personalised discounts.
8. CONVENIENCE BUYING
Convenience is a major factor in consumer decisions, especially in today’s fast-paced world. This type of buying behaviour is characterised by the consumer’s desire to make the purchase as quickly and effortlessly as possible. This is especially prevalent in services like food delivery, online shopping / services, and home services.
To tap into convenience-oriented consumers, businesses should focus on streamlining their booking process, offering multiple payment and delivery options, and providing speedy services. Features like one-click ordering or automatic renewals or giving the consumer the option to save their details (so they don’t have to enter them every time), can make the service more appealing to this type of consumer and get them over the line… time and time again.
Understanding these different types of buying behaviours provides you with a broader toolkit for attracting and retaining customers. By recognising the motivations and triggers behind these behaviours, you can tailor your services, marketing strategies, and consumer’s experience to better meet the diverse needs and preferences of your target market, and not only attract but also retain customers in meaningful ways.
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