Each and every consumer follows buying patterns, even if they don't know that themselves. For instance, someone who commutes every day on foot might get coffee at the same Starbucks they pass every day. To the customer, that's just their daily routine, but to marketers (and Starbucks), it's a buying pattern. It's essential for businesses to recognize these patterns where they exist because it can teach them how and where to market products - and reach new customers, by getting inside their heads.
What exactly are buying patterns?
The author says that buying patterns are connected with the whys and hows of consumer purchases - how consumers reach their decisions. They're creatures of habit and laves to routines that influence what they buy. Some such factors include:
- Where someone lives
- Where they work
- How much money they make
- What they enjoy and prefer
- What their friends and family recommend
- What their goals and motivations are
- The price of the product or service they're interested in (and any active sales or discounts)
- Any product displays
- The necessity of the product or service
- Festivals, holidays, rituals, or celebrations
The writer uses an example where a consumer has a coffee-buying pattern based around the consumption of one cup each weekday morning - and that's hugely influenced by where he lives, what he prefers to drink in the morning, and his route to work. The implication here is that if Robert ever moves house, he's extremely likely to change his routine rather than travel out of his way - and that leads to a new buying pattern.
So, why should this guy's coffee shop care. After all, once he's moved, they can't use that to their advantage, right? Well, not entirely. They can actually pick up information on what section of their customers he represents and make predictions about future customer traffic changes.
There is far more detail about this fascinating subject in the original article, and it's well worth a read!