ConsumerBehaviour ConsumerBheaviour_Mobile
Customer Retention

Consumer behaviour models and analysis in marketing

Imagine your circle of close friends and family members heading out on a shopping trip. It’s safe to say that you have a good idea of how it’s going to go – which shops they visit, how they browse the shelves, what they pick up, and what they choose to buy. You know them well enough to predict their behaviour. Wouldn’t it be great if could do the same with your customers? That’s what consumer behaviour analysis is all about.

Understanding your customers is vital for boosting sales, improving customer retention and growing your business. It can be a complicated topic, but it doesn’t need to be. Let’s take a look at how to collect the data you need and how to use it to give your business the edge.

What is consumer behaviour?

Consumer behaviour focuses on how individuals choose which products and services they purchase. It centres around the psychology behind these decisions, their motivations, and unsurprisingly, their behaviour. It’s a huge subject spanning not just psychology, but the worlds of biology, economics and chemistry too.

Ultimately, the study of consumer behaviour helps businesses to understand what influences their customer’s buying decisions, from which marketing campaigns they respond to, to whether they choose to come back again and again.   

CX Trend Report - Narrow CTA

Why is consumer behaviour modelling important?

According to research by Salesforce, 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. If you haven’t got your customers figured out, they’re probably going to go to someone who does.  

Analysing consumer behaviour can help you to discover:

  • Consumers’ personal opinions and interests (this can be affected by factors such as their age, gender, culture and lifestyle)
  • Consumers’ responses to the way products are presented to them, such as certain marketing campaigns (again, this varies according to all sorts of things such as their needs, attitudes and ability to understand information)
  • What consumers think about your brand versus your competitors
  • How consumers actually research and shop (essentially, their shopping behaviours)
  • How the opinions of the consumers’ family, friends and the media influence their decisions (these are the social factors)
  • What particular products or services they’re searching for to fill a need

With all of this knowledge at hand, you can make some pretty impactful changes to your business. Looking closely at how your customers behave, you can launch products that you know they’re going to like, create marketing campaigns that you already know they will respond well to, and adapt your customer experience to one that is perfectly suited to your customers. Is there a gap in your product line that potential customers are finding elsewhere? Is your advertising campaign missing the mark? Perhaps your store layout could be improved – consumer behaviour analysis could help you find the answers.

How can you collect consumer behaviour data?

There was a time when marketers relied on past experience to understand their consumers, but things have changed. There’s an unbelievable amount of data out there which can be used to get a better view of your customers and predict their behaviour, and which one is best for you depends on your business, your objectives, and your budget. The motivations that influence customers are so diverse and extensive, it’s best to use a variety of different methods so that you collect a variety of types of data, and a well-rounded picture of your consumer’s behaviour.

Customer reviews

Reviews can help you find out more about your customers, and it doesn’t have to stop at just reading your feedback to gauge how they’re feeling about your business. Tools such as Feefo’s Insight Tags can tag and track themes within your feedback to stay on top of trends and discover what’s really important to your customers.

To delve even deeper into your insight, Performance Profiling automatically analyses your feedback to accurately measure customer opinion. The Performance Graph visualises your feedback trends, so you can identify what areas you need to focus on, and which aspects of your business your customers are loving. Performance Profiling also enables you to access your sentiment score, accurately measuring the opinions of your customers so you can better understand what is influencing their behaviour.



Surveys are a great option when it comes to finding out more about your consumers’ behaviour, mainly because they’re so flexible. With the ability to ask whoever you want, whatever you want, you can target huge groups of people quickly and get the results in ‘real-time’ for up-to-date data.

Focus groups and interviews

Although a costly and time-consuming way of gaining data on consumer behaviour, these methods are effective at gathering in-depth answers when a little more detail is needed from individuals rather than large groups of consumers.

Keyword research

Keyword research can keep you up to date with what your consumers are interested in as well as giving a good indication of what language and terminology they’re using.

Analytics platforms

Analytics platforms (such as Google Analytics) can tell you where your traffic is coming from, and from who. For example, you can use these tools to see where in the world your consumers are, and a whole range of demographics that gives you a better idea of just who you’re currently dealing with.

Google Trends

A good tool to use regularly in your business, Google Trends uses search data to help marketers, planners, researchers and UX professionals understand their audiences’ behaviour and which topics are increasing and declining in popularity.

Competitor analysis

This can give you some incredibly valuable insight on people who don’t currently use your business. These are your potential customers, so getting to the bottom of why they’re choosing to go elsewhere is priceless.

Public data

Government data isn’t just available to everyone, it’s also free! There’s a huge amount of research available including surveys, research and statistics. 

Social media

There is so much data available on social media - after all, it’s used by billions of people across the world. With social media platforms holding all sorts of information, from consumers’ likes, hobbies, opinions, communities and even the way they talk to their peers, with the right tools you can unveil huge amounts of consumer behaviour data.

Customer Surveys - SM CTA

How can you use consumer behaviour modelling in your business?

So now you know what consumer behaviour is and which methods of data collection are available to you, but how do you actually go about putting consumer behaviour analysis into practice?

There are a number of theories out there which are designed to get to the bottom of what your customers are thinking. Here are the ten most widely discussed consumer behaviour models:


Let’s look closer at the ‘Input, Process, Output Model’. It’s a simple model which examines the various factors that influence customers when making a buying decision across all stages of the journey. There are three different parts of the theory; Inputs, Process and Outputs.



Think about every factor that is taken into account by a customer before they buy a product – these are the ‘Inputs’. This encompasses everything from the product itself, to the price, packaging, marketing campaign, channels it’s sold on, and the branding.

The ‘Inputs’ also include environmental factors such as the opinions of friends and family, as well as things such as the customer’s social class and culture.

There’s plenty you can do to influence your customers at this stage – after all, most of these factors will be in your control. The 2019 Feefo Consumer Report highlights just how important customer feedback is at the beginning of the customer journey, with a huge 80% of respondents finding online reviews from fellow customers helpful, the same percentage of those who value the opinions of their friends and family.

The Perfume Shop is a perfect example of how consumers use reviews to guide their buying decision. By using Feefo’s Smart Themes, The Perfume Shop gave potential customers fast access to the most relevant reviews. The result was a 13% increase in conversion.

"By giving our customers the opportunity to read the reviews that are relevant to them, we make it easy for them to make their buying decision."

Laura Croucher, Head of Digital

Read more

Customers don’t just buy a product without any thought – there are a number of steps that lead them to making a buying decision, and that’s where the ‘Process’ and ‘Outputs’ factors come into play in this model. These are usually described as the following five steps:

process and outputs



1. Problem or need

What is triggering your customer to look for a product in the first place? Once you know why customers are coming to you in the very first instance, you can use it as motivation when planning everything, from your packaging to your marketing campaigns.

As we touched on earlier, there are plenty of techniques out there to collect this kind of information. Why not send out surveys to all new visitors to your website? This doesn’t need to be a list of long of in-depth questions – just one targeted question could help you get the information you need. One of the benefits of surveys is that respondents don’t necessarily need to be customers. You can ask anyone a question, whether they’re browsing your products, exiting your site, or waiting for their order confirmation.

2. Search


This stage of the journey is an important one. Your customers know what they want, they just need to find the business who can give it to them. Once your customers are ready and willing to absorb all the information you have about your brand, product or service, it’s time to give them everything they need to make a well-informed decision and assure them that you’re the brand for them.

When it comes to consumer behaviour, when searching for a product or service, Google and other search engines are unsurprisingly the go-to. 87% of shoppers now begin their product searches online, so it’s more important than ever that your business is present and visible in the search results.

Collecting and generating customer reviews can help you rank higher in search engines in a few different ways:

  • Reviews are a source of fresh user-generated content which helps to keep your site relevant to Google
  • Products can become eligible for organic stars, which make your products stand out in search engines
  • You can qualify to display review excepts in your search listings

Smart Themes - Narrow CTA

Review Enhanced Ads

Feefo's Review Enhanced Ads use the emotional power of your customer reviews combined with sentiment analysis to craft superior search ads.

Find out more

3. Evaluation

Your customers have done their research, and now it’s time to make a decision. They will usually slim down their options to two or three, weighing up the options and looking for any selling points that are going to tip the scales. It’s crunch time, and making sure that your potential customers feel confident enough to spend their money with you could be the difference between a sale and an abandoned basket.

This is when you need to get your trust signals in front of your customers. These are visual representations of social proof such as award badges, testimonials, reviews, logos and ratings that have a strong influence on customer behaviour.

These signs and signals can have a powerful effect on customers when put in the right places – whether that’s on your homepage, a dedicated reviews page, on your product catalogue or even on a shop window – and it’s because these signs of reassurance have been given from people outside of the business rather than the company themselves. A huge 41% of consumers say they don’t trust brands’ marketing communications to be accurate or truthful.

Showcasing trust signals, such as reviews, will help you to:

  • Reassure your customers that they’re making a good choice
  • Set you apart from your competitors
  • Counter any objections that they might think of


These last couple of steps of the journey are all about how customers respond to their purchase. In this model, they are the ‘Outputs’.

4. Purchase

Your customers have clicked the ‘buy’ button, but why? Whatever the reason, you need to get to the bottom of it so you can make sure it happens again! Perhaps they’re testing the waters to give your brand a try, or maybe they’re a loyal customer who comes back time and time again. Were there any obstacles at the checkout? Was the in-store experience one they would return for? Collecting as much information at this stage in the journey is important if you want to keep your customers coming back.


Here’s where your customer reviews can do some serious work for you! We’ve talked about how displaying feedback can reassure your customers and influence their behaviour, but they can be even more beneficial for your business. By collecting customer reviews, you can improve every part of the customer experience by making informed decisions, all based on your customer feedback.

By using Feefo’s Campaign Manager Tool, you can get to the bottom of exactly how your customers are feeling when they make a purchase. Tailored campaigns mean you can fire off feedback requests whenever you like, so you can pinpoint part of the customer journey to better understand their needs, motivations and behaviour.

5. Post-purchase

It’s not over yet – there’s plenty more insight to uncover after the transaction has taken place. After all, this is when your customers are going to get a real opinion on what they’ve bought, whether it’s a dress, a holiday or an insurance policy! Make sure you’re reaching out to your customers to see what they think – not just about the product, but about the entire customer experience from start to finish.

How can analysing consumer behaviour impact your business?

Analysing consumer behaviour can have a massive impact on your business. By studying the thought process of your customers, you can better understand:  

  • Attitudes: Using consumer behaviour models to better understand the attitudes of customers can help marketing teams make sure their campaigns are really striking a chord with an audience.
  • Cultures: Someone’s culture has a huge influence in determining their behaviour, beliefs and values. It explains why certain products may be popular with some groups but not with others.
  • Perceptions: Using all the techniques we’ve mentioned in this article, you can use consumer behaviour analysis to uncover any weak areas of your business which need improving, and strong points which you should be shouting about.
  • Lifestyle: Getting to the bottom of your consumers’ lifestyles gives you insight into their needs, so you can develop the products and services they’re looking for.