28 February 2019

How a new view on the purchase decision spectrum can drive better market research outcomes

Remember when you wanted to hail a taxi cab and had to stand on the corner and flag a cab down? It seems like it was just yesterday that Uber disrupted consumers’ traditional routine to form a new habit (grabbing your smartphone to “call” one). What started out as a deliberate new choice to use a rideshare app, quickly turned into an automatic, or habitual, behavior.

This scenario perfectly illustrates our view of the consumer decision behavior spectrum: The Habitual-Deliberate Decision Loop. We introduce this loop to offer brands a new view on how to analyze, disrupt and reinforce your consumers’ decisions as the environment continues to change.

Habitual vs. Deliberate: A loop of consumer decision behavior

At one end of the consumer decision loop you have habitual behavior. Habits are automatic routines people go through that don’t involve much thinking or deliberation in tasks they perform. In the context of consumer purchase decisions, they’re usually what consumers want to buy, regardless of brand, price, advertising etc. For brands, the goal is to keep existing customers and acquire new ones.

On the other side of the decision loop we see deliberate behavior. Here consumers are making deliberate choices. They’re more conscious of the choices they make, and pay attention to external stimuli that address, or match, their underlying interests or needs.

Fundamentally as insights professionals you want to know: Are consumers in the habit of buying my products or services? If the answer to that question is yes, you want to understand how you can help reinforce that habit. If they’re not in the habit of purchasing your product, you want to understand how you can disrupt a “competitive habit” to make it more deliberate, i.e. you want to break the cycle of consumers continuing to purchase from competitors.

Breaking ‘bad’ habits and triggering new ones

Whichever behavior your customers are exhibiting, insights are needed to reinforce and/or disrupt those decisions.

You may want to uncover what claims or visuals will better drive conversion at the shelf or online. Or, for those customers that only buy from the competition, you may seek insights to determine which pricing promotion may disrupt that behavior and make them switch to your brand.

As an example, consider the emergence of voice technology (e.g. digital assistants, smart speakers) and the potential of this new channel to help reinforce or disrupt consumer behavior, like purchase decisions. For example, if a consumer runs out of his favorite cereal, he can tell his voice assistant to order more. In our loop illustration, this action reinforces the consumer habit.

Learn more about how voice technology is impacting consumer behavior in Europe by downloading our latest insights here.

The holy grail is to create an automatic behavior (i.e. a habit) where the consumer is loyal to your brand and never considers purchasing from the competition.

Looping in a new approach to insights

Having a clear understanding of this Habitual-Deliberate Loop can help you prioritize short-term and long-term strategies and help guide your insights strategy.

Learn more about the implications of voice technology on consumer behavior – attend INSIGHT on 7 March at 10:50 am to hear SKIM present on the Headline Stage, “'ALEXA, ORDER HEINEKEN'. VOICE AND THE DIGITAL ASSISTANT: A WAKE-UP CALL FOR MARKETING” or visit SKIM’s stand at MF15







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