Understanding consumption patterns and what it means for retailers, by BFL Group’s Ayman Beydoun

By Ayman Beydoun, chief operating officer of BFL Group.

Over time, the retail sector has evolved along with technology and other factors which have made impacts on both businesses and consumers equally. Today’s competitive retail landscape demands superior experiences in addition to quality products and services. Data and consumer insights have become the key drivers needed to enable businesses, especially consumer packaged goods (CPG) retailers, to serve and exceed customer expectations.

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It is always crucial for businesses to understand their customer requirements and serve accordingly.  To do this, marketing professionals and executives need to combine qualitative and quantitative data to learn about customer trends and patterns. Understanding consumer behaviour helps marketers understand why consumers make their purchase decisions, which in turn provides companies with the ability to design services based on their customers’ likes and dislikes. The study of these trends or patterns can help retailers get a better sense of what products are needed in the market and what are outdated.

In order to reap the benefits of this approach, it is necessary to understand the core of customer insights. Customer or consumer insights are a result of human behavioural trends that reveal the underlying preferences, motivations, or frustrations of customers, which in turn shapes their purchase patterns. This knowledge can enable businesses to develop a deeper understanding of their customers – exploring their needs and the reasons behind those needs. By doing so, companies can continually improve their services, make better strategic and tactical decisions, and achieve profitable results.

Consumer insights play a pivotal role in providing a business with the opportunity to better personalise and tailor products to the needs, wants, and demands of their customers. Organisations that leverage their customer behaviour to generate insights often outperform their peers and have an upper hand in understanding and serving their audience better.

Research indicates that this approach has a strong impact on the fashion industry and fashion consumption trends. Using online marketing and social media, fashion retailers have better understood and connected with their target audience. Similarly, retailers are also leveraging e-commerce to meet changing consumption patterns of customers, in addition to newer strategies like partnerships with influencers.

Customer insights are contributing greatly to understanding the emergence of new consumption patterns reflected in the market’s demand for more variety, quality, and individuality in products. Businesses can use these insights to expand their services or offerings, develop new marketing strategies, create detailed customer personas, and even improve their existing solutions. Using customer insights smartly not only results in better customer experiences, but also means more revenue. This can easily foster meaningful customer relationships and quantifiable results in the long run.

Today, customer sentiments can be gathered by simply collecting their feedback through third-party data, anecdotal analysis, passively collected behavioural data, and real-time testing. As a result, conventional approaches to understanding consumer behaviour and interests demand to be revisited and new ways must be adopted. The need to be customer-centric is common to all businesses, despite their differences, and to accomplish this, it is imperative to analyse customers and their underlying needs, enabling a deeper connection between the seller and consumer.