Running a business in the F&B industry can be more successful when there’s a good understanding of consumer behavior. In the current scenario in the F&B industry, there are some behaviors we have noticed across the country, as some behaviors are common in human beings, no matter where they are from. I would like to talk about some of the things I believe are affecting consumer behavior.
Prestige value :
We are living in a world where people are constantly being attracted to aesthetics and being delighted by “Instagram-worthy” products. A photo op is something that excites them and hence your food design and packaging plays a big role here. An exotic-looking dish or a colourful spread of macaroons would go a long way in enticing the consumer. Not just for the brag value but also as a gifting item, your food looking good brings its share of appeal. To gain brownie points with the consumers, some brands have also introduced attractive packaging so that they catch attention and become a self-advertising medium. A lot of food bloggers have a constant set of followers they engage with who do reviews of food that looks good on the plate and feels great in the tummy, and they need good photographs. Therefore, one needs to be sure that not only has the product to be good, it has to be presented well, as that influences the customer.
This is the trickiest part because finding the right balance is the key. A lot of times brands make a mistake of keeping the price real low to increase the sales. While the idea is to make it more affordable for a large range of customers, it actually works in degrading your product value. The human brain tends to assume that a product may not be up to the mark because it’s so low priced. On the other hand, if you keep it at high prices, chances are that it will become unaffordable for a lot of people. So it should be kept at a price that falls somewhere it is affordable, yet gives a feel of being prime. McDonalds is a good example of a brand that has really understood this balance of pricing and has done a good job. Having that right price influences sales in a big way.
Customer is King:
Making the customer feel special and giving some real benefits does go a long way to him coming back to you. A lot of restaurants engage in customer loyalty programs. These include memberships that include special facilities and advantages for the customers. Most brands go for a model where you earn a certain percentage of discounts on your bill value that can be redeemed on your next bill. This gives an incentive for the customer to come back to your restaurant. Also, with a membership the consumer feels like a part of an elite group because they end up having advantages over the rest. Usually clubs follow these kind of membership models. For example, Pan India Food Solutions has India Loyalty Rewards Program across all the different brands under it where the customers can enjoy special privileges. Giving a customer some actual prestige and benefit when he shops with you, goes a long way in influencing his buying pattern.
Keep your store active, upto date, and happening. A good way to do that is to use festivals and occasions well. Like on Friendship day, you could decorate your shop accordingly, give free friendship bands, play some peppy happy music. Similar things can be done on festivals like Diwali, New Year, etc. Give out small freebies if you can, like a free cupcake for the buyer’s friend. Or make friendship cupcakes, etc. This creates an impression that this is a modern, happening, contemporary shop, not some old time, old style local bakery or restaurant. That increases your brand value and helps in keeping your customers more inclined to buy from you.
But do remember that consumer behaviour is dynamic and you need to constantly be on watch as to what is happening in your locality, city, country, and around the world. You need to be research and implement new ways of influencing customers.
If we strive to have a good understanding of Consumer Psychology, or in other words Consumer behaviour, it will surely help in getting more sales and better brand value.