5 Types of Customer Behaviors That Ecommerce Owners Should Know

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Ecommerce has become one of the go-to avenues for people to purchase goods and services. 

Pandemic restrictions that limited peoples’ physical movements have contributed to its popularity. Why go out and buy from physical stores when you can stay home and wait for your purchases to arrive?

In 2021, retail ecommerce sales reached $5.2 trillion. This number is expected to reach $8.1 trillion worldwide by 2026.

Aside from selling good products or services, understanding your customers is essential for ecommerce success. 

Customer behavior is a significant factor that determines how people make purchasing decisions. Read on to understand customer behavior and how it can affect ecommerce businesses.

What is customer behavior?

Customer behavior, also known as consumer behavior, involves a customer’s buying habits, as affected by the factors that influence them. 

It covers behaviors a customer exhibits in all stages of the buying process. It begins as the buyer searches for a product to the actual purchase, evaluation, and disposal of the item.

Various factors influence customer behavior, such as the following:

  • Personality traits. A customer’s personality and background can influence the way a customer acts when considering or making a purchase. Some may be more outgoing and direct than others.
  • Social trends. This factor covers various external influences on the customer’s behavior, such as peer recommendations or fads. Some influences are temporary, while others can have long-lasting effects.
  • Psychological responses. This factor can be challenging to predict, as it can also be influenced by perception, attitude, and external events. One person can be calm and level-headed one day, while circumstances might cause them to be irritable on future occasions.

Customer behavior analysis involves quantitative and qualitative studies of customer interactions with your ecommerce business. It can help you understand your customers better and create more effective sales and marketing strategies.

Customer behavior analysis can offer the following benefits to ecommerce businesses:

  • Improving customer retention. Customers are more likely to stick with a brand that understands and caters to their needs.
  • Predicting customer value. You can optimize your operations and address the needs of your most profitable customer segments.
  • Personalizing customer experience. From your ecommerce website to shipping and customer service, customer behavior analysis can improve each step of the sales process.

5 Types of Customer Behaviors for Ecommerce Owners

Customer behaviors are influenced mainly by the type of product the customer buys. For example, a buyer’s behavior could be completely different when buying a diamond ring than when buying a loaf of bread.

There are four general types of customer behavior. These types consider two dimensions: the degree of involvement and the perceived differences among brands. 

Alongside the main four are more specific offshoots coming from commonly-observed behaviors. Learning these five types of customer behaviors can help businesses tailor their strategies to achieve company goals.

1. Habitual buying behavior

Customers often exhibit habitual buying behavior when there is low involvement and little difference among brands. They buy these products frequently but aren’t too attached to the brand name.

Familiarity and availability of the product are the main drivers of the purchase, not necessarily brand loyalty. Promotions for these products are often simple. Think toothpaste, salt, or sugar.

Brands would do well to stage advertising or marketing campaigns that help customers form an attachment to the brand.

2. Variety-seeking buying behavior

Variety-seeking buying behavior often arises when there is low customer involvement, but there are significant differences among brands. 

There is little cost or consequence to switching products, so customers may do so out of boredom or curiosity. Examples of products that may attract this behavior include desserts, breakfast cereals, and cosmetics.

To retain customers better, brands must establish familiarity with them. Dominant brands could encourage habitual purchases. Less prevalent brands could bring attention to their product through promotions and discounts.

3. Dissonance-reducing buying behavior

A customer may exhibit dissonance-reducing buying behavior if there is high involvement but little differentiation among brands. 

The product may be expensive. It can also be difficult to find significant differences among brands. Common examples include diamond rings, paint, or floor tiles.

Customers want to avoid regret or dissonance with their purchase. To do this, they conduct thorough research to support their purchase decision.

4. Complex buying behavior

This behavior often manifests when the customer is highly involved in the purchase and there are significant differences between brands. 

Customers can exhibit complex buying behavior when purchasing new homes, computers, and other similar items. The item itself is expensive and can differ extensively from what another agent or brand can offer.

These purchases are often considered significant, so buyers are more likely to take their time in deciding. They want to gather enough information and carefully evaluate their options.

5. Impulsive buying behavior

Although not included in the four main customer behavior types, impulse buying has become a widespread phenomenon, especially in ecommerce.

Impulse buying is when a customer makes unplanned purchases. These purchase decisions are often made in the spur of the moment, mostly influenced by emotional factors.

Leverage Customer Behavior Analysis for Ecommerce Success

A business’ sales, marketing, and advertising strategies can all benefit from a deeper understanding of its customers.

Customers are the lifeblood of any ecommerce company. Understanding what makes them tick through customer behavior analysis can help business owners make more informed decisions.

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