Consumer behavior, as we know it, is an ever-evolving spectrum for every type of business including the food and beverage industry and is impacted by various factors. In this piece, we aim to get a deep psychological understanding of the consumer which can be the key towards successfully getting people to purchase products and services. At the same time, it should be noted that the process of consumer behavior is continually in flux, i.e. it is ever-changing and not static. The art and science of persuasive marketing counts immensely in this context.
A Brief Insight Into Consumer Behavior
Consumer behavior means research on the factors that make people and entities buy specific products/services and offer their support for particular brands. This mainly focuses on motivation, behavioral aspects, and psychology. In other words, it may be called the buying decision process or the buying process in marketing and what influences the same.
Here Are Some Factors That Impact Consumer Behavior Directly
- Psychological Aspects - Responses of consumers are directly determined by their own backgrounds, perceptions, life views, attitudes, and perspectives. For example, some people are more inclined towards convenience and comfort. Hence, they will prefer food brands that promise direct delivery in a short span of time, as opposed to others, who are more inclined towards visiting restaurants and eating out. Their decisions are swayed more by the ambiance and other services and offerings at dine-in outlets.
- Personal Aspects - There are several personal factors that influence consumer behavior. These include culture, age, knowledge, awareness, profession, and so on. All of these factors play a huge role in triggering consumer behavior and actions. For example, imagine a consumer who is well-traveled, with a wide exposure to various cuisines and another individual, who by virtue of his/her profession, has been more exposed to home cooked food. In this case, the former will respond more positively to a new concept opening in a locality, promising new ingredients and dishes. The latter might be skeptical at first, and may be drawn to the brand due to other factors such as good value for money and so on.
- Social Aspects - Some of the social influences on consumer buying decisions include income, demographic, social class or category, public opinion, and levels of education. This automatically spurs tastes and inclinations, leading people to venture towards making new choices accordingly.
- Branding Aspects - People love to understand what a brand stands for, its feel, vibe, and messaging. How digital marketing affects consumer behavior is that it can successfully imprint the brand’s logo, identity, core messaging, and offerings into the minds of the audience. Brands that listen to their consumers, tell relatable stories, are open to feedback and improvement, and offer things that specific demographics desire, are more likely to attract and retain consumers.
- Effectiveness - Effectiveness is a universal principle that influences how consumers take a liking to a particular food and beverage brand for instance. For example, suppose there is a need or a gap in the market for a specific type of cuisine in an area, or there is an area that is under-served, consumers will become loyalists of a brand that sets up operations in a manner that responds to the specific consumer demand. If there is a section of consumers who are more sensitive to price increments, brands need to understand and acknowledge this sentiment and balance their offerings accordingly to maintain consumer loyalty. Effectiveness in this case, translates into quick and seamless action in response to consumer needs, preferences, and desires.
What Are The Other Factors That Count?
Ultimately, it is all about listening to the consumer, keeping an eye on what’s happening on the ground, and gauging public perception successfully. This is where the right marketing campaigns can help, communicating messages and ideas better to core audiences, building emotional bonds with them, and making them feel valued/special. Some triggers may include relatable stories, nostalgia and memories, history, and loyalty initiatives. All of these factors spur consumers towards becoming loyal patrons of an F&B brand. For example, if a heritage restaurant does a special marketing campaign, highlighting things like its first customer, its first-ever menu, and the first-ever location, this may strike a chord with a section of consumers, inspiring them to visit the restaurant or order its signature delicacies.
Key Trends That Cannot Be Ignored
Impacting consumer behavior also necessitates the following:
- Operational transparency - Consumers are more inclined towards transparent brands, avoiding those with problematic philosophies, operational practices, and beliefs.
- Going digital - From digital campaigns and information to easy ordering processes, efficient delivery, purchase trackers, and secure payments, being digital adept is extremely critical in the F&B industry.
- Information Security - While businesses do gather consumer data, people are more and more concerned about the privacy and security of their information and how it is being used.
- Behavioral 101 - At the same time, consumers are more likely to respond when they feel that brands are genuinely reaching out to them. This could be a free tasting session, or a dedicated offer on a special occasion, for instance. They are more attracted to brands committed towards a well defined philosophy, and are more likely to try something that others have liked or appreciated.
- Expertise - Customers naturally gravitate towards brands that have established expertise or authority in a particular genre or segment.
Consumer behavior is a myriad world of ever-changing philosophies and numerous aspects. However, F&B brands and other industry players need to be on top of the game, in order to keep their audiences consistently engaged, scale up loyalty and brand awareness, and generate higher revenues in turn. At Ribbon Consulting, we provide a range of digital and operational F&B services while defining the appropriate strategy that enable F&B brands to build and retain a broad customer base.