The retail customer can be understood by examining the behaviour of the retailers with respect to their buying habits in the retail stores. This concept is essential to understand who buys what, when and why. To all the promotions made by the sales person, it is important to examine how a customer responds to that particular sales promotion. For the business to survive and prosper it is essential to understand the consumer of the retail sector.
Identifying a Customer
At some instances, when the customer enters the shop along with somebody else then it is not possible to make out who exactly is the decision maker. Therefore, whoever enters the shop is considered as the customer. In spite it is important to identify the origin of the customers.
Composition of Customers: Customers are of different gender, age, different education status, economic status, religion, nationality and occupation.
Origin of Customer: Origin of the customer include the place from where the customer comes from, the distance travelled by the customer to reach the shop and the area in which the customer lives.
Objective of Customer: It is essential to understand what is the objective of the customer whether to buy or to shop. Buying includes the actual purchase of the product and shopping includes looking out for some of the new products.
Different buying behaviour Patterns
It pertains to what items and how many units of items the customer purchases. The customer purchases a product depending upon the following:
- Availability/Shortage of product
- Requirement/Choice of product
- Perishability of product
- Storage requirements
- Purchasing power of oneself
Place of Purchase
Customers divide their place of purchase. Even if all the products they want are available at a shop, they prefer to visit various shops and compare them in terms of prices. When the customers have a choice of which shop to buy from, their loyalty does not remain permanent to a single shop.
Time and Frequency of Purchase
Retailers need to keep their working time tuned with customer’s availability. The time of purchase is influenced by:
- Location of customer
The frequency of purchase mainly depends on the following factors:
- Type of commodity
- Degree of necessity involved
- Lifestyle of customers
- Festivals and customs
- Influence of the person accompanying the customer.
Method of Purchase
It is the way a customer purchases. It involves factors such as:
- Is the customer purchasing alone or is accompanied by someone?
- How does the customer pay: by cash or by credit?
- What is the mode of travel for the customer?
Response to Sales Promotion Methods
The more the customer visits a retail shop, the more (s)he is exposed to the sales promotion methods. The use of sales promotional devices increases the number of shop visitors-turned-impulsive buyers.
The promotional methods include:
Displays: Consumer products are packaged and displayed with aesthetics while on display. Shape, size, colour, and decoration create appeal.
Demonstrations: Consumers are influenced by giving away sample product or by showing how to use the product and its benefits.
Special pricing: Unit’s special price under some scheme or during festive season, coupons, contests, prizes, etc.
Sales talks: It is verbal or printed advertisement conducted by the salesperson in the shop.