Buying behavior : What it is + Complete Guide

Every individual makes so many decisions a day for many things, from buying an ice cream to buying a car. These insignificant decisions of an individual influence many others and drive the sales industry.

These decisions define both their customer journey and their Buying Behavior and are very important for an organization’s growth.

What is buying behavior?

Buying Behavior is the series of actions and interactions that a consumer performs before, during, and after making a commercial transaction. Experts usually study this process in market research and business owners to detect areas of opportunity that allow them to improve their processes and the way in which they market their products or services.

Consumers usually develop well-defined behavior patterns that, when analyzed, yield highly valuable insights that allow decision-making based on data.

Importance of Buying Behavior

Decoding the buying behavior and building products based on it will guarantee successful product and service in any industry.

Buying behavior defines:

  • How a person thinks while choosing a product.
  • What is influencing people?
  • How do their friends and family influence the decision?
  • Reason for discarding a particular product.

And if a product maker knows the above, they can easily figure out the trick to sell their product.

Four types of Buying Behavior

1. Extended Decision-Making.

This type of buying behavior can be observed for expensive products, which involves high investment and involves a group of people. This involves in-depth research as the customer won’t buy these kinds of high-end products daily and high monetary risk is involved.

2. Limited Decision-Making.

Limited decision making is a buyer decision making that is used when purchasing products that require a moderate amount of time and effort to where the buyer compares models and brands before making a final choice for the purchase decision.


3. Habitual Buying Behavior.

Habitual buying is the buying behavior of buyers/consumers where they make repeat purchases number of times of an already known brand without the process of high involvement and decision. The product here is perceived as commodity and doesn’t provide much difference from its rivals or competitors.

4. Variety-Seeking Buying Behavior.

Variety-seeking or variety-seeking buying behavior is when a buyer desires to search for an alternative product even if the buyer is satisfied with a current product. In this case, mostly the cost of switching products is low, and so the consumer may perhaps simply move from one brand to another brand.

Factors affecting buying behavior

  • Psychological Factors. 

This is one of the major influences for buying behavior. These factors are powerful enough to influence a buying decision for a buyer but are very difficult to measure.

Factors like Motivation to buy a product, Perception of the other people towards the product, Learning about the product (Pros and Cons), Attitudes and Beliefs of previous consumers and other people also have an impact on influencing a buying decision

  • Social Factors. 

We are social beings and we live around many people and influence each other’s buying behavior. We try to imitate other people and also wish to be socially accepted in society. Hence the buying behavior gets influenced by other people around them. Some factors that influence the buying behavior socially are Family, Reference Groups, Roles and status, etc.

  • Cultural factors.

We are associated with a set of values and ideologies that belong to a particular community. Whenever a person comes from a particular community, his/her behavior is highly influenced by the culture relating to that particular community hence influencing the buying behavior.

Some factors that influence the buying behavior culturally are Culture, subcultures, castes, religion, etc.

  • Personal Factors.

Factors that are personal to the buyers influence their buying behavior. These personal factors always differ from person to person, thereby producing different perceptions and consumer behavior. Some factors that influence the buying behavior personally are Age, Income, Lifestyle, etc.

Five stages of consumer behavior

Stage 1: Problem Recognition.

The buying behavior starts off with the buyer having requirements with the product/service as well as with the problems they had with the previous product/service which was either offered to them or bought by them. This is visible or obvious in a number of ways from the pv of a seller.

For example: 

In some cases, the buyer might not know the product/service they are looking for or unsure of the requirements they are looking to have in the product/service. 

Whereas, In some cases, the buyer knows exactly what they are looking for in the product/service and are well prepared with the requirements they want to have in the product/service.

Ask yourself these questions to understand the buying behavior:

  • What scenarios or incidents will push people to look for your offerings?
  • What are the different ways to create a demand for your products?
  • How do you get the people to realize a need you can fulfill?

Stage 2: Information Gathering.

This might seem simple to do at first, but as soon as any potential buyer realizes they have a problem/issue with the service/product they use, the number one tool the people turn to is Google. This is where the brand comes in targeting the buyers through SEO and making sure the brand comes in the sight of the right buyers whenever the buyer googles their problems/issues with a product.

For example:

An office worker whose computer is slowing down, in this scenario the office worker will most likely reach his colleagues and if the issue is not resolved, he will revert to google to find different ways to get the issue resolved.

Stage 3: Evaluating Solutions.

After doing their research, buyers typically make a shortlist of brands or products for their needs. At this stage,  the buyers look at specific solutions to their problems regarding the product they are looking for. The objective here is to position your product as the best choice for the shopper. One of the best ways is to allow the consumers to ask questions through Q&A or FAQ’s on the brands website.

For example:

Someone who’s dealing with a slow computer would be deciding whether they should hire an IT expert, purchase software or buy a new computer altogether.

Stage 4: Purchase Phase.

All the efforts have now led buyers to choose your brand at the purchase phase of the customer journey. This is where the buyer is ready to get the credit card and buy the product.

It’s an excellent position to be in, but don’t get in a hurry or be too happy. You can still lose the prospect if you don’t offer them a smooth checkout experience. Always strive to make the process as quick and painless as possible for the buyer or consumer.

Stage 5: The Post-Purchase Phase.

Congratulations! You have now converted a looker into a buyer who is now a customer. Now is the time to gather feedback regarding the onboarding experience of the customer, their experience with the product and services offered, ask them to leave a review and rating on the Google platform. This will help increase incoming traffic and help in optimizing SEO.

The more the lookers, the more are the chances of converting them into a buyer!

Online surveys are the most efficient method of conducting buyer behavior studies. You can create a survey using survey software and send it to your target audience. You can also customize the survey flow to ask only relevant questions to respondents.

QuestionPro CX can help you learn more about your potential customers and conduct research studies. If you need any help with designing a survey and collecting data, connect with us. We’d be happy to help!


Authors: Debashish Gahan, Ronak Shah