Consumer Behavior Studies: How and Why People Buy?

Why people buy things and what makes them buy that product or service? This is a question that often haunts marketing professionals who are constantly working hard to meet consumer expectations and increase sales. Marketers believe once they have the answers to these questions that have a good chance of better products and communicating appropriately to help people looking to buy. This is all what we can call as a consumer behavior study.

The consumer behavior study mainly considers the following attributes or reasons behind a purchase-

1. Personal

2. Situational

3. Psychological and

4. Social

Organizations spend thousands of dollars annually to study to what ‘ticks’. A simple example is that of the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo monitor your web browsing and keep a track of the sites you search. Another good example is that of a retail brand that in association with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) conducted a study by tracking consumers in retail stores when they dwell or stop to see the merchandise. This was done using tracking consumer’s mobile phones data that gets transmitted to towers. The study discovered that the sales happen more during the dwell times.

Consumer behavior studies — a few examples

Some market researchers have even studied consumers’ brains by telling them to lie in scanners and asking them questions about various products. The answers given by the people were then compared to the brain scans output, that is the real thought going in their mind. It might sound over ambiguous to scan people’s brain for marketing purpose. But this is the reality, and we can see how important it has become for the brands to understand consumer behavior in today’s times.

We have often seen that 8 out 10 products fail, though they were thoroughly market tested. It could possibly be due to the fact that what people talk about a potential new product differs from what they really think in the brain. This is exactly what marketers are trying to dig deep in and discover what brain thinks and why.

Studying consumer’s buying habits is no more for just large organizations. Small, medium and micro organizations too can easily do a consumer behavior studies. A simple example, in this case, would be finding out in what zip code the maximum customers are located and opening a store in that location. Consumer surveys and behavior studies provide insights on what consumers bought, why they bought, how they bought and what is their experience after buying it. A good example in this case would be a hotel using coupon codes. A hotel can share different coupon codes for online, newspapers, or first-time visitors. They can then track which coupon codes were redeemed maximum, to figure out which medium works best and has the best impact on sales.

There are different stages in the consumer’s buying process. However, consumers do not necessarily pass through all the necessary buying stages. Impulse buying is often considered to be as the biggest challenge when conducting consumer behavior studies and brands are still trying to understand the reasons behind these kinds of purchases.