Have you ever had that lecture from your parents or grandparents where they say “In my days, there was no such thing as the internet!”? Nowadays, it’s almost impossible for businesses to not use the internet every day; it has become an essential part of our lives and most of us would be at a loss without it. In todays society, the online world of business does not use human analysis to understand the people we are selling to, we use tools to analyse customer buying behaviour and their motivations, preferences, and purchasing strategies. Indeed, this is very useful to know… but how do we do it?
Know the buying behaviours
According to research, there are four typical types of buying behaviours which influence when and how customers purchase their products:
1) Impulse purchases – we’re all guilty of this one once in a while! This involves almost no planning and often occurs when items are convenient places; for instance, chocolates by the checkout tills, or with one-click advertising suggestions online.
2) Routine purchases – this would be your weekly shop or other things that replenish your customers stock. It is a habit-formed purchase that customers have developed over time.
3) Limited decision making – generally not a huge investment for the customer, this would be decisions informed by word-of-mouth or a swift internet search.
4) Extensive Decision making – think about if you want to buy a new car, or put a deposit down on a house, your customer will spend a lot more time on researching the product before making the purchase.
A lot of companies are often surprised by the way that users move around their webpage. Naturally, when designing their website, they would have envisaged the user flow to go from ‘x to y to z’, yet this is not always the case. It’s important to understand how your visitors use your web pages, so you need to track their mouse movements (which generally corresponds to where their eyes are looking) that reflect this. One practical and cost-effective way of doing this is to generate heat-maps using software such as HotJar which shows page by page activity on your website. You may be very surprised!
It could be argued that there is no tool more useful that data analytics. An easy one to use is Google Analytics, which gives you a vast amount of information about your customers' behaviour that you didn’t even know existed! There are clues inside your data as to how your customers behave on your website, and regular analysis of this data will help you gain a greater picture of your customers. For instance, take a look at the flow charts to see where your customers go for the landing page, where they tend to travel after that, and where a lot of them drop off. If they’re all dropping off at the homepage, perhaps this is a point that you need to work on.
Ultimately, understanding your customers’ behaviour is all about measuring their movements and analysing the data. If that fails, get out and talk to people! Go back to the ‘olden days’ and get to know your customers in real life, if you can.