Who is your client, your customer, your consumer? And what things have the impact on their behavior, choices, and decisions? Market researchers and marketing specialists have been looking for the answers to these questions for several decades. What for? We need to know to whom we can sell our products, in which way and which are the motives that drive us to do so. In present times, while we-the members of modern societies and industries-climb the Maslow pyramid, our purchasing needs are starting to be more and more complex and sophisticated. That’s another reason why the knowledge about the consumer or the “shopper” is becoming a basis of operating in a competitive market.
Let’s start from the beginning. The Latin-based word-“consumer”-describes a person that is acquiring certain goods, articles, services, mostly for himself to satisfy his own needs. We can find a wide range of products and their accessibility a variety of producers and suppliers. This phenomenon caused the choice of one product amongst hundreds of others to be not so easy. At the same time, the consumer is becoming more exigent and better educated. The development of Internet armed him with an extremely powerful tool for providing information and exchange of reviews. Even though we already know that the decision process could be rational or driven by emotions (a rational choice is most commonly due to a bigger purchase preceded by analysis, though the emotionally driven one appears more often in the beauty and fashion brands) we still need to know more about consumer’s behavior and needs.
We can find many ways to get to know the customer. New platforms and research forms are constantly created, and there is a great need for customer reviews. Those are possible to obtain thanks to companies investigating those reviews online (sometimes for Software Houses in particular). They provide honest reviews and useful product evaluation. For example, they give the consumer a possibility to rate the product using a 5-star range.
What happens after the purchase is equally important. The client can be satisfied and that is the ideal state for the producer, but post-purchase dissonance can appear. That meaning a negative emotional state evoked after the customer reveals the negative aspects of a product(or the effect of the purchase) or a situation when he realizes the existence of more attractive value propositions. Marketing leaders are striving to prevent this kind of reaction at all costs.
Already in 1970 Hirschman characterized different kinds of consumer’s reaction to dissatisfaction with his product. The first one is the “exit” reaction, where there is no will to buy any other product (e.g. ” I will never buy a Dell computer again”) or service of a particular brand (e.g. ” I will never go to this barber shop again “). The second one is a verbal reaction. In this case, the consumer starts popularizing its negative opinion of a brand amongst other people or filing complaints. There is a third category, where there is no reaction at all. It can be caused by realizing that it’s too much of an effort to effectuate this procedure (most commonly the case of small damage), trouble with verbal or written communication – filing complaints (that is possibly why less educated consumers file complaints less commonly), the consumer’s character(he can be passive or shy) or finally the external circumstances like an unpleasant experience with the customer service.
The first country to run yearly customer satisfaction measurements is Sweden. For this cause, researchers have created the Swedish Customer Satisfaction Barometer on a national level. The research included information from over 100 companies and over 30 industry branches. There was a special index created for this purpose. It was a national index indicating to what extent the companies and business branches satisfy their clients as a whole.
Along these lines, in 1995, Bloemer and Kasper run a research about the correlation between purchase satisfaction and brand loyalty. Turns out that brand loyalty was effectively depending on customer’s satisfaction with their product. Though it was extremely important to have awareness of that satisfaction because only the consumers that are aware of their satisfaction with the product have shown loyalty to the brand. That is why it is important to stimulate consumers to think about the brand and to review it.
Discounts, new products, loyalty programs…in our days this is not enough. Producers and sellers, to win the battle for the customer and maintain good sales levels, they have to think deeply and adjust the product in a way that it will come up to the expectations of a consumer, his needs and his style of decision making. It is also important to remember the base on which relationship marketing stands. You have to cooperate with the client already on the level of constructing the offer. It has to be built on his opinions and advice.
But how can this be executed? The global business giants pay for huge research, that only the biggest companies can afford. Does it mean that the small and medium companies, that are willing to get to know their clients and potential shoppers are doomed to failure? Not necessarily. The newest technologies can come in handy.
The modern possibilities of analyzing the behavior of customers, shoppers, users of products, are almost unlimited and we can track their different stages. Because the shopper is a consumer concentrated on purchasing, it is understandable that his insight is the one that we need to know the most about. It would be great to profit from the shopper’s presence in a particular store or service point.
The solution consists of an application that offers this exact analysis of the customer’s behavior and experience. Why would it be so useful?
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