Cassandra Brighter· Author
Understanding consumer behavior is crucial for any business, and it’s important to consider a number of factors that influence purchasing decisions. In this post, we’ll explore each of these categories and share how you can tailor your ecommerce business to better serve your customers’ needs.
One key psychological factor is motivation. What motivates the consumer to purchase your item? At what point of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs does your product line engage with the user’s needs? Is it about something as fundamental as safety, or something higher, such as self-actualization?
This will also be guided by Perception – how the consumer interprets your product, how you choose to present it.
Another factor is Learning. Consumers are constantly engaging in comparative shopping, listening to word-of-mouth, and organizing data in their heads that structures their understanding of the market and its offerings. They learn about indispensable features, about potential advantages and disadvantages, and they read google reviews – which inform them of positive and negative outcomes.
Even more entrenched than any learning are Attitudes and Beliefs. If the consumer has been indoctrinated to think of expensive sneakers as a sign of a weak character, no list of features will move them. If, on the contrary, the consumer understands expensive sneakers as a status symbol, as something that proves their achievement, then they’ll naturally gravitate towards that purchase.
We are all social beings, and therefore the majority of our purchases are exposed to social scrutiny from family and reference groups. Our role in those groups is influenced to some degree by the way those purchasing decisions are judged by our peers. This is where “keeping up with the Joneses” becomes deeply relevant. This is where having a newer, more advanced barbecue than their parents becomes a symbol of a certain position within the family ecosystem. The same goes for reference groups such as the local Church, the local Union, the bowling team, the group of friends of the ladies who lunch. Will the new purse be perceived as a sign of dominance and higher status? Or will it be perceived as a selfish, frivolous purchase? Such social factors may prove decisive in purchasing decisions.
People are usually exposed to a larger, mainstream culture – the zeitgeist composed of mass media, passersby during commutes, co-workers and academic peers, etc. – and the inner subculture, composed of the ethnicity, religion, language and customs one inherits through family and upbringing, by marriage or by close friendships. These cultures influence what car one might purchase, what clothing one might wear, and other core factors of how a person presents themselves in the world.
While societal and psychological factors weigh heavily on purchasing decisions, all of this gets filtered by age, income, occupation, lifestyle and other personal factors. A middle aged consumer might greatly admire snowboarders, but feel constrained by their age and perceived athletic ability. A user will filter activities and purchases by how well they fit into the lifestyle and living paradigm they’ve chosen to construct. A high-rise dweller will have different buying patterns than a suburban homeowner.
Ultimately of course, a lot of decisions come down to money factors. Consumers evaluate their discretionary income, their disposable income, their savings, their credit and their future earning potential to make the best decisions. When speaking to this factor, a merchant may opt for highlighting a product’s durability, the warranty, the combined savings that result from product use, etc.
Tailoring Your Ecommerce To Your Consumer
Based on what industry you choose and what product line you sell, you are likely to attract different types of consumers. Learning about your customers’ needs will help you tailor the shopping experience. Our voice-of-customer (VoC) solutions allow you to learn the level of satisfaction of your clientele – and beyond that, our tools give you demographic information and unique insights into the mindset of your audience.
Our Online Buyer Survey provides actionable insights, including real-time buyer data and comments, benchmarking data comparative to other merchants in your vertical, net promoter score. Bizrate Insights processes over 25 million surveys a year, with the industry’s highest response rate.
Reach out to us today to learn how you can begin gathering key insights about your customers at no cost to you!