Consumer psychology 4: What customers really mean

“Say what you mean, and mean what you say.” While this statement is an often-quoted maxim for honest communication, human behaviour is often less straightforward.

In reality, communication is nuanced, veiled, and usually conveys meaning through the things we don’t say, as much as the words we speak.

When it comes to customer psychology, you’re not going to Professor X it, holding two fingers to your temple, with the other hand outstretched to read their minds. But if you cannot understand what customers mean, you do not know what they need.

This miscommunication may originate from a lack of knowing your customer profile. In this brief guide, we will set you up to understand your customers better, and better position your products.

There are two parts to this:

  1. Knowing your customers’ profiles
  2. Understanding what they mean and what they say or do, differs.

Part 1. Types of customers and their profiles

Why is it so crucial for your business to know what customers you are serving? Knowing their preferred interaction touchpoint – whether it is online or offline, or other personalised services.

Having ascertained that, you can begin to streamline your marketing efforts, putting your product and services in front of your target market.

Since Covid-19, shopping trends have started to shift online. But while e-commerce is increasingly popular, shoppers still enjoy the experience of physically being in a shop.

Therefore, this also means businesses must consider online and offline shopping habits. Post-pandemic research by Forrester Consulting research report in Asia-Pacific revealed these customer profiles:

  1. Omni-shoppers

Omni shoppers are comfortable with human and digital interactions. They already do many activities online, whether work or leisure-related. However, the pandemic increased their digital interactions. They are usually aged 20 to 49 years old.

Omnishoppers often browse in-store on their phone to compare prices, read reviews online, and take photos of products to send to family or friends before purchasing. They are the ultimate researchers who already know what they want. That’s great if you’re offering the features they want, but you might struggle to change their mind once they’ve done their research.

One way to create value for these shoppers is to create a positive experience from the first moment they think about your business long after the transaction. Whether through your website or social media marketing, you need to be consistent in your efforts to project your brand.

  1. Multichannel shoppers

A multichannel shopper is a customer who researches products from one channel but purchases from another platform. They usually go for products with high experiential and search features. For example, they might receive Instagram advertisements that introduce them to one product. They then go to Amazon to research the product.

Interestingly, the Forrester survey showed that these shoppers use many channels for customer service yet prefer to conduct all online activities via one touchpoint. So, for instance, they might decide to purchase the same product on Instagram simply because they can get help on the platform. 

  1. Digital immigrants who have not increased their online activities since the pandemic

A digital immigrant is a person who grew up before the Internet and other digital computing devices were omnipresent—and so has had to adapt and learn these technologies. Generally, those born before the year 1985 are considered to be digital immigrants.

As termed by the survey, ‘digital immigrants’ prefer live human support, whether online or offline. They want to keep their online activities on one platform. For example, being able to shop and get help on the company website.

However, they are not so comfortable with digital interactions, and the pandemic has not increased their online touchpoints. To cater to this group, making their experience at your retail store highly personable is essential. Offer help and after-sales support by assuring them they can contact the sales staff anytime.

  1. Digital natives ‘low touch’ seekers. 

This category has people below 30 who prefer self-service touch points with minimal human interaction.

According to Accenture, more than 80% of consumers who increased their use of digital channels during the COVID-19 pandemic anticipate continuing to use them. These are the digital natives who cannot remember when modern digital technology like internet access, mobile apps, texting, and email was unavailable. These buyers expect to engage with businesses across multiple digital channels for convenience and efficiency.

They do overlap with the omnipresent shoppers, but with one key difference. Human interaction is not so crucial for this group. So self-service kiosks and any digitalised services such as a tap-to-pay solution are best for them.

  1. High-income ‘high touch’ seekers

This category has those who are 50 years and above who may be comfortable with online platforms, but they prefer offline interactions. More importantly, they want more personalised services, whether online or offline.


Part 2: What do customers mean when they say…

When you interact with customers, you might often hear these statements. But do customers usually mean what they say? Here are some common phrases uttered and the actual meaning behind them.

“Your product/service concept is great.”
A first impression is positive but may not lead to a positive experience and action. Therefore, provide these customers with opportunities to view the product/service at their own pace.

“I like your product/service.”
Chances are they merely like it but do not love it. Ask what is lacking and how to improve the product/service.

“I’d like to have this feature.”
They likely have fundamental issues with a product or service. Ask follow-up questions to understand why customers want this feature or would prefer an alternative. You should also offer multiple touchpoints for customers to provide suggestions for your business.

“I’d pay more for this service.”
This is a tricky one. The customer could genuinely mean it, but when prices increase, they might renege. On the other hand, they may feel they deserve more value given an increased price range.

Therefore, you must determine the expected price range before launching your products or services. Because while it’s easy to justify a price increase if your product or service is in high demand, it’s tough to explain the rise after a price drop.

You might want to follow up with more personalised recommendations for high-touch seekers. Likely, they might not feel that they are getting what they want. Instead, they might ascribe value to the customised suggestions on their buyer journey.

“It would be awesome if you had an app for that.”
This is probably a common statement for most digital natives or Omni shoppers. If you do hear this often, it’s best to consider offering digital services if you have the budget. However, before you spend money building the app, it’s also good to ask how often they would use these tools. Or why they feel these tools are helpful.

The buyer’s journey

Get a broader view on the psychology of consumers with these other articles:.

There are many ways to understand your customers better. Whether it’s through dedicated market research or mapping out your buyer’s journey through specialised tools, you will need to find ways of getting feedback from your customers.

The easiest way to do so? If you own a retail shop, choose a smart point of sale (POS) solution that helps you gather customer feedback.

There are three ways that a smart POS can assist you in this.

First, it frees your attention from entering customer details or calculating change. As customers pay wirelessly on the terminal, you can also use the time to find out how they feel post-purchase with a simple on-screen happiness rating.

Second, a smart POS terminal like Qashier X1 or XL can give customers a chance to input their feedback through the touchscreen interface. Since the terminal faces away, customers feel less intimidated about providing feedback. You can also provide a QR code on their receipt to scan if you want more detailed feedback.

What about existing customers who are not at your brick-and-mortar store?

That’s the third way. Because Qashier allows customers to shop online from your store due to its integration with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce, you can gather a database of all your customers’ details. Then, when it’s time to collect market research for a new product or service, an email sent to your customers can quickly get the data you need.

So start getting to know your customers with Qashier now.

At Qashier, we provide multiple digital solutions for your business in an all-in-one device for your startup.

The smart POS system can streamline operational aspects, from QR code table ordering to table management (F&B), employee management, customer relationship management (loyalty programs), inventory management, data analytics, and cashless payments.

Speak to us to see if Qashier’s Smart POS can meet your business needs. Schedule a meeting with us here, contact us at +63 927 087 2441 (Viber) or email at [email protected].



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