Why Do Customers Buy? How to Identify Customer Buying Habits

In order for your small business to thrive, you need to find the right customers for your business. Selling to the appropriate customers may be obvious, but many business owners struggle to find the right way to convert their audience to customers. Identifying customer buying habits is an essential part of marketing and growing your business. So, how do you figure out why customers buy your products or use your service? This post will explain customer buying habits to help you figure out what turns people into customers.

Why Do Customers Buy- How to Identify Customer Buying Habits

Without looking closely into buying habits, you could be wasting thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising efforts that don’t work. Figuring out why customers buy your product or service is the first step in increasing sales. You don’t need to be psychic to understand why customers make a purchase—an unbiased look into your current customers’ buying habits can provide valuable insight.  

What are Buying Habits?

Buying habits are the tendencies customers have when purchasing products and services. These tendencies come from a variety of different factors, many of which seem obvious and unimportant. When examining buying habits, take into account both physical and mental factors that make up your customer or client base. By examining the buying habits of your customers, you’ll be better able to build a marketing plan that taps into the buying habits of your target customer and drives more sales.   

Finding the Right Audience

The target audience for your business is the group of people that are the intended consumers of your product. Your audience might be young professionals, business owners, parents, travelers, etc. The target audience of your business depends on your products and services.

To find and build the right audience for your business, look at your current loyal customers. What do they have in common? Why are they using your business? What made them choose to make a purchase? Use this information about what makes someone buy to encourage more people to become customers.

If you’re just starting out or don’t have a loyal customer base, examine previous customer purchase history in order to see who has purchased from you in the past. Look for similarities and trends among your customers—this will give you an idea of how to find more of these people.

What influences consumer purchases?

There are two types of influences that significantly affect the buying habits of customers and are the ultimate factors that will sway customers to purchase your product or service. These two types of influences are internal and external.

Internal Influences

Internal influences are the factors that affect customer purchases that come from the customers themselves. Customer wants, needs, desires, and preferences are internal influences that drive purchasing decisions. Hunger, health reasons, boredom, or a desire to travel are all internal influences. 

Customers make buying decisions based on their gender, age, location, education level, and family, among many other factors. Less obvious influences that may be affecting your customers can include mood, social status, time of day, and cognitive functioning.  What are the internal influences that impact your customers? Identifying these internal influences will enable you to reach customers who are already looking to use a product or service like the one you offer.

External Influences

External influences are the things that influence buying habits outside of individual wants and needs. Billboards, Facebook ads, celebrities, customer testimonials, and current trends are all external factors that influence customer buying decisions.

Signage and branding are also external influences that drive buying decisions. Does your business’s brand align with your target customer? For example, a cutesy brand with doodles is more fitting for a preschool than a financial services firm. Use external influences to encourage customers to make a purchase—identify what influences your target customers and use these external forces to get more sales.

Leveraging Influences to Reach More Customers

Marketing is only effective if it reaches the right people. Identifying the things that influence buying decisions enables you to leverage these factors to reach more customers. For example, if your target audience is men over 65 who make morning purchases, your most effective marketing method may be in newspaper or print ads that will reach your audience when they’re alert and ready to make a purchase. On the other hand, if your target audience is teenage girls, an advertisement at a local mall or Facebook ads might be a more effective means of advertising. Aligning your long term marketing goals with your customers’ buying habits can impact your sales.

Related: 6 Sample Marketing Plans

Tracking Customer Buying Habits

Now that you know what can influence customer behavior, you may need some help in tracking these various factors. Website analytics can help you track customer search queries—the searches people use that brings them to your website. Knowing what brought someone to your business’s website puts you into the mindset of the customer and can give you valuable insight into the influences that drive sales.

Another way to track customer buying habits is through the use of loyalty programs. Loyalty programs offer an incentive to get return customers, which can show patterns in sales and help you build a rapport with customers and get to know them better. The better you know your customers, the more effectively you can sell to them. 

Now that we have hopefully demystified what consumer buying habits are and how you can identify and leverage them to reach more of the right customers, you can use this information to hone in on your target audience, which should produce good results!

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