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Understanding the factors influencing consumer behavior

Understanding the factors influencing consumer behavior

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Market cultures, social circles, personal preference, and psychology are all factors influencing consumer behavior in the shopping aisle. These factors aren’t static, meaning brands have an opportunity to change the consumer’s mind before they make a purchase decision. By leveraging options like mobile marketing, personalization, user interaction, and virtual greetings, brands can better understand and adjust consumer behavior to grow their market share.

When it comes to CPG purchases, consumers can change their minds very quickly because oftentimes the purchase isn’t seen as something with long-term consequences. The low price point of these products makes consumers more willing to try new things and deviate from their existing purchase patterns. Brands can further drive purchase decisions by offering rewards programs and incentives that encourage consumers to test out new products.

Breaking Down the Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior

Cracking the code to consumer behavior has long been a goal of marketers. By understanding why they purchase, marketers can address those issues and improve advertising. The factors that influence consumer behavior can be broken down into four comprehensive categories.

Market culture:

The culture within the market will determine the consumer’s overall desire for a particular product. For example, a discount baby supply store would not likely do well in a neighborhood populated with millionaire retirees, but would be an excellent addition to a community where a lot of middle-class families live, perhaps near an elementary or nursery school. The market in that particular area would likely be rife with potential consumers, while the retiree's neighborhood wouldn’t have as many.

Social circles:

People are tied together through the individuals they affiliate with, be it family members or just those who share the same hobbies and interests. Within these social circles will be individuals who make purchase decisions, those who influence purchase decisions, and those who follow them. Consider a traditional nuclear family. One parent might request certain products at the store; the other will do the shopping and take their requests into account. Meanwhile, the children in the household will accept the decisions made between the decision maker and influencer, and later on may choose those brands because they were introduced to them by their parents.

Personal preferences:

Personal preferences are the conscious things people choose for themselves, like the brands they’re loyal to as well as the products they avoid. These preferences often change with age and life circumstances. They can also be impacted by consumers social circles, and the culture in the market where they live. Brands that market to niche groups, like challenger brands, often focus strictly on personal preferences as a matter of marketing as this provides a more authentic feel to advertising.

Psychological triggers:

Psychological triggers can tie into personal preference, but really, they’re about subconscious decisions rather than active ones. Things consumers see, hear, taste, touch, and smell, can trigger positive or negative reactions which brands can use to drive sales. Consider how many brands use the color blue prominently in their logos. The color triggers a feeling of trust and security which brands can impart to their products by using it in their advertising.

During the purchase journey, a number of these factors can be in play. As such, it’s best that brands create diverse campaigns that transcend categories.

Catering to a Culture With Location-Based Mobile Marketing

Location-based mobile marketing allows brands to connect with a specific community and engage users based on the culture of that community. Levi’s gave us a prime example of this when they partnered with Disney and Snapchat on a location-based augmented reality campaign.

According to Visit Orlando, the city receives an estimated 70 million tourists on an annual basis. The vast majority of those tourists visit the region due to Walt Disney World or one of the many other themed Disney attractions. The culture in the area is decidedly Disney-centric, and as such, consumer buying behavior is very tied to Disney in this market. Levi’s recognized this and chose to capitalize on it by offering a limited time deal at their Orlando store.

Visitors to the store received a Snapchat notification through which they could access a limited time deal. Through an augmented reality feature, they were able to see and even virtually try on a Disney-themed Levi’s hat while at the location. Additionally, shoppers could order the hat through the Snapchat app and have it delivered to their hotel as a souvenir from their vacation.

While the location-based mobile campaign targeted individuals based on the culture of the market, it also worked on a psychological level by leveraging scarcity. Individuals visiting the store could only access the product for purchase while they were on the premises. Once they left, they lost their chance to receive a limited-edition, Disney-themed item. Since these individuals were on vacation and likely in a spending mindset to begin with, this made it far more likely they’d make a purchase rather than risk missing out on a deal.

Exclusivity and an understanding of the market culture helped to make this campaign a success. This is a strategy other brands can leverage by understanding their unique selling points and how they impact the market where they are available. By providing a location-based, limited-time deal, brands can drive consumers to make purchases and enhance the customer experience.

Engaging Social Circles With Interactive Campaigns

Many brands choose to work with influencers to reach a wider audience. However, such relationships don’t always pay off, as influencers may not have the capacity to inspire people to make purchases. It’s far more likely that individuals will be interested in the opinions of those they know. In fact, nearly half of consumers say that recommendations from friends and family members have driven their decision to make purchases.

Interactive content acts as a way to drive this word of mouth without leveraging costly influencer campaigns. Brands can leverage content that encourages consumers to participate when creating campaigns to drive awareness of products.

This is something that Kellogg’s leveraged with their Super Bowl LIII ad for their chip brand Pringles. The brand ran an interactive, livestreaming connected TV (CTV) campaign during the Super Bowl. The campaign served two versions of shoppable experiences, allowing viewers to interact with them via the CBS Sports app on Apple TV. One version of the campaign, which changed a city name based on a user's geography and revealed different Pringles chip combinations upon swiping, generated over 6.4% engagement.  

Another creative element for the campaign included a shoppable experience with a QR code linked to Pringles' online store on Amazon. Viewers could lift their phones to the screen and "connect" with the code, generating an automatic link to the storefront.

This strategy helped consumers remember the brand and participate, which also drove them to discuss it with friends and family who could be influenced by the second-hand knowledge. Additionally, the campaign reached consumers on a personal level. Such personalization humanizes brands and creates a connection which can drive purchases.

Using Personalization to Connect With Consumers

Personalization is a bit of a buzzword in the marketing space, and there are many definitions of what qualifies as “personalized.”  For some brands, it may mean merely adding the recipient's name to the beginning of an email. To others, it might include targeted messages that take into account their favorite brands and previous search history.

Walmart is one company creating its own slant on personalization. The retailer chose to update its baby registry service with a unique feature which offers personalized advice via Hoo the Owl, an intelligent chatbot capable of providing recommendations based on the user's questions. This type of information, explicitly aimed at expectant parents, creates a personal connection with the retailer which makes consumers more likely to choose Walmart for selecting items for their new family member.

This strategy allows the company to connect with expectant parents on a personal level. It also connects to their social circles by encouraging them to send their Walmart registry details to friends and family. It expands on the intimate connection by encouraging word of mouth advertising for the brand by keeping consumers on their site.

Registries are an excellent opportunity to both connect with consumers and gain the attention of their friends and family members. By adding an intelligent chatbot, Walmart made themselves stand out in a competitive space.

Creating a Positive Consumer Experience Through Virtual Greetings

One of the final factors influencing consumer behavior comes from psychological triggers. Colors, smells, and even feelings can put consumers in a positive purchase mindset which drives them to make purchases.

This is a strategy that Shopkick leverages in many of its campaigns, by using branded entrance messages to create both a positive experience for the consumers and top-of-mind awareness for brands. Bomb Pop chose to partner with Shopkick for such a campaign in the lead up to the Fourth of July.

On arrival, consumers visiting partnering stores were greeted with a Bomb Pop branded message which reminded them of their offerings while also putting them in a positive purchase mindset. Consumers were further incentivized to seek out the company’s products through additional rewards which encouraged them to find and scan product UPCs. The process of merely holding the product created a sense of ownership, which urged consumers to make purchases. Overall, Bomb Pop saw strong incremental results, with 68% of purchasers choosing to buy the products due to influence from Shopkick.

Mobile marketing strategies which provide incentives for purchase are in-store sales drivers because they casually remind consumers of products and encourage them to seek them out, even if they weren’t planning on purchasing them before their visit. These strategies also reach shoppers on a personal level, as the rewards are delivered to consumers based on their locations and shopping behaviors.

It's possible to leverage multiple factors influencing consumer behavior to drive sales through a single campaign. Often, in attempting to target one of these factors, brands cross over into other areas. As such, these strategies are ideal for reaching consumers on multiple fronts, whether brands want to trigger certain psychological behaviors or connect to an entire market. By reviewing some successful marketing campaigns related to these factors, brands can better understand consumer purchase behaviors to improve their sales overall.

Shopkick guides our partners through the in-store factors influencing consumer behaviors through the use of our innovative mobile app. To see how brands have leveraged this for the best results, check out our success stories.