“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.” – W. Edwards Deming
No two individuals are the same. Even twins, who are born of the same mother at the same time, have been known to have vastly different personalities, likes, and dislikes. As a company trying to sell the same product to more than one customer, it is important to figure out what the customer wants. Understanding regular customers can be a challenge if the demographics of the population are wide. For instance a personal hygiene company can cater for products that will be used by infants, teenagers, single people, and married adults. These are the end users of the products, but are they really the company’s customers? Not all of them. The infant does not choose i brand of baby wash, the mother of the infant does. The mother does not pick up the deodorant, the teenager does. The person who actually buys the product is the customer that the company is trying to woo.
The final decision of a customer to buy a product is dependent on a variety of triggers. These could be cultural, personal, religious, or social. Understanding regular customers, and their triggers, can be very helpful to providing them with an experience that fosters brand loyalty. Some people pay more attention to quality of the product as they are focused on good health. Others may be looking for sales and discounts of known brands, as they not only want quality, but financial savings as well. Unfortunately, while it is possible to study how a test group of customers is triggered to buy things easily, it is more demanding to find ways to decode the triggers of a much larger customer base. For this purpose, it would be easier to monitor actual sales that have been made by the company. It would add more in depth knowledge about the buying behaviour of customers, if it were possible to analyse all the routine items that a customer usually buys. This is a regular part of market research, which can help with customer relationship management.
Harnessing the power of technology and apps can make it easy to monitor what customers tend to buy regularly. When a customer downloads an app from a company and regularly uses it to make repeat purchases, the customer is supplying the company with a clear buying history. Certain strategy firms obtain data on existing customer spending patterns, which are then studied to help in understanding regular customers purchasing triggers. Many credit card companies are known to data mine their customer’s buying patterns and offer them for companies that require marketing research done. The customers may be buying things that are unique, or have some novelty to them on special occasions. Such as a monogrammed pen may be a special birthday gift. However, the majority of the time, they will buy things that are economical and dependable. Things they use on a daily basis and need to replace constantly. These are repeat purchases, and as any marketing guru worth their salt would agree, a repeat customer is a powerful success story for the company’s bottom line of profits.
Even in these everyday purchases, lies a story behind their individual choices. Behind the choice for buying a loaf of bread, there is an emotional connection to the product. Why does the customer pick that particular brand of bread? Is it because that is the brand that the customer has seen being bought even as a child and the trigger is brand loyalty based on years of association? Or does the quality and nutrition promised by that brand of bread, seem more in tune with the personal health goals of the customer? What about the bread that comes fresh from a bakery? Here the customer may be triggered by social needs to be accepted as part of the community when buying locally and supporting the bakery owners. Such behaviour may be seen in a customer who has recently moved to a new location and is trying to make friends and a mark socially speaking. Understanding regular customers, triggers decision-making, and can be the key to providing the customer with a tailor made product that will naturally trigger the purchase response for them.
One of the most powerful triggers for customers making routine purchases is savings. Not everyone has money to spare. In fact, most customers want their hard-earned money to be spent judiciously. Say a customer regularly buys a particular product, such as a shaving gel or soap. When they go to the store to buy it, they find that the product is on a discount sale. They are much more likely to buy more numbers of the product, as they know that it is something routinely utilised and not a product that would spoil while sitting on the shelf. It would represent a substantial financial saving for the customer and such behaviour makes sense and is logical. However understanding regular customers is not always so easy. The customer may use a different brand of shaving gel, but may be persuaded to buy the one on discount disregarding brand loyalty. It is therefore, never possible to predict with exact precision how the customer will react.
Understanding the triggers for regular customers is only part of the journey. Following this understanding is the application of the marketing mix to the product with special attention to the triggers. It is important to understand what problem of the customer, the product is solving. Care should be taken to price the products in a manner that the customer finds acceptable. After all the customer may spend exorbitantly on an exclusive, vintage dress, but will definitely choose a pair of jeans that are durable and cheap. The place where the customer is likely to shop and make a purchase is also important. It has to be convenient for the customer to access and shop from, on a regular basis. Final part of the marketing mix is the promotions that the seller runs. This is a direct communication addressed to the customer and can either make or break the sale. By taking a proactive approach, it is possible for the company to meet all the checks that a customer may set up in their mind before buying a product.
The customer will not consider very in depth research for products that they buy often. At the same time for a product that is expensive, and may not be bought again for a few years, a lot more research will be undertaken. Very often it is the easy availability of a product that makes it popular for regular use. While it is the promise of good and lasting quality that will sway the deal for a more expensive product. However, understanding regular customers through their routine purchases requires that the company pay attention to the internal factors that affect their buying behaviour. Their attitude, self-image, level of learning, perception of brand, and semiotics, all provide motivation for the final purchase. It is up to the company to understand that while external factors such as socio-economic class, cultural preferences and geographical availability, all play a part in the customer’s decision-making matrix it is essentially what triggers an emotional connection with the customer, that will make the sale.