Buying Behaviour Patterns of Customers

For understanding the buying behaviour of the customers in retail stores it is very important to analyze the customer psychology, the factors which influence a customer for buying certain products/services from the stores and also an analysis of the customer’s response towards a sales promotion is very critical.

Before analyzing the customer’s buying behaviour, let us first understand the basic differences between a customer and a consumer. A consumer is the ultimate user/beneficiary of the product/service whereas a customer is the one who purchases the product or a service. For example, a mother buys a chocolate for her son, the mother, in this case, will be considered as the customer as she has purchased the product and the son will the consumer as he will be using the product. In certain cases, a customer also becomes the consumer of a product, and their purchasing decisions are based on a number of factors like personal need or requirement, buying capacity, etc.

Analyzing and Identifying the Actual Customer

A lot of times it is nearly impossible to identify the actual customer or the real decision maker who will be going ahead with the purchase of a product/service. Hence, all who enter the retail store are considered as the customers. An understanding of the composition or the origin of the actual customers will help in the analysis of the customer’s buying behaviour in a much better manner:

  • Analysis of the customer composition: This includes analysis of the demographic factors like gender, age group, occupation, religion, economic & social status and nationality.

  • Understanding the Origin of the Customers: This involves an analysis of the place or location from where the customer reaches the retail store, travel time spent by the customer for reaching the retail store and the type of area in which the customer lives.

  • Assessment of the Customer Objective: An analysis of the objective of the customer is very crucial whether a customer is actually in the mood for buying a product or simply is engaged in a shopping endeavor.

Customer Buying Behaviour and Patterns

A customer’s buying behaviour is largely governed by the needs, preferences, and tastes of the consumers for whom the product/service is ultimately purchased. Numerous patterns influence the buying behaviour of the customers:

  • Place or the Location of Purchase: Lot of customers prefer to purchase their preferred products by visiting various stores in different locations for comparing the prices and the offers. Hence, a customer does not remain loyal to a single store for a very long period. A retail store should pay a lot of importance to the store location, identifying a distributor in the closer vicinity and also the nature of merchandise and the ready availability of stocks.

  • Type of Products to be Purchased and Quantity of Purchase: This essentially implies an analysis of the type of product which a customer will want to purchase and in how much quantity. This will depend on the following factors like:

    1. Buying capacity of the customer

    2. Product Perishability or durability

    3. Availability of the product choices

    4. Customer requirement of the product

    5. Whether the product is available in abundance or there is a shortage of the product

    6. Product storage

Frequency of Purchase and the Time During When a Product is Purchased

Retailers should adjust their work hours as per the peak time availability of the customers, which includes giving adequate consideration to various factors such as weather, seasonal variations, and the customer location. The product purchase frequency will largely depend upon the following factors:

  • The product type

  • Customer Lifestyle

  • How essential or necessary the product is

  • Festivals, Rituals, and Customs

  • The extent of influence of the individual who accompanies the ultimate buyer of the product.

For example, an average middle-income group Indian customer may have the capacity of going ahead with the decision of purchasing a car for not more than three times across his/her lifetime, whereas an average middle-class customer of USA will buy cars and replace it more frequently.

Purchase Methods

This involves an analysis of the following factors such as:

  • Whether the customer is buying the product alone or is accompanied by someone else.

  • Whether a customer makes the payment by cash or by way of debit/credit cards, net banking or on a credit basis.

  • An analysis of the mode of conveyance of the customer.

Customers Response towards the Sales Promotional Techniques

Various sales promotion methods increase the impulsive buying behaviour of a customer as and when a customer enters the shop. The retailers depend upon the following sales promotion techniques for influencing the buying behaviour of their customers:

  • Product Displays: Product display create an aesthetic appeal and hence influence the buying behaviour of the customer.

  • Demonstration: Product demonstrations help a lot in motivating the customer for buying the product by making them aware of the usage of the products and or by distributing a product sample.

  • Special Schemes and Pricing: Various product schemes, offers, special prices during festive seasons or off season, coupons, special offers, contests, etc. play a crucial role in moulding the customer buying behaviour.

  • Sales talks delivered verbally by the sales reps at the store or printed advertisements also influence the buying behaviour of the customers.

It is believed an urban customer will have a different buying pattern as opposed to a rural customer. Urban customers have a fast lifestyle as a result of which they will have a preference for electronic gadgets or appliances such as Microwave ovens, mixer grinders, etc. for cooking the food faster. They will naturally be opting for ready to cook food over the raw food, but the rural customers usually come from a relaxed and a laid-back background, they have self-sufficiency in farming and would definitely prefer raw food or food grains.

Similarly, past few researches have proven that if a couple visits a store for shopping, they will usually be tending towards buying more than what is required as they will spend more time in the store, compare prices and look for the substitute/alternatives and find out newer products as well.

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