STORY INLINE POST
First of all, what is consumer behavior and how will choosing fulfillment help businesses predict its changes?
We all know that a consumer is someone who purchases goods and services for personal use and, as with the market, its behavior toward a business or a brand naturally tends to change. When we talk about consumer behavior, we refer to the reaction or proclivity that consumers are most likely to have regarding the particular marketing strategies executed by the business.
This reaction, particularly, affects how the consumer processes information, as well as the decision-making process before buying. In other words, depending on various aspects — emotional, personal, environmental, and economic, to mention some — the consumer can decide whether or not to choose the product or service offered by the business.
Thus, the key to consumer behavior lies mainly in understanding how he thinks, feels and ultimately decides. By knowing this, businesses can choose where to invest their time and resources and, consequently, the entrepreneur's goals, whether they are to increase sales or improve support processes or consumer satisfaction, can be achieved.
Along with this, let's take into account that there are four main types of consumer behavior identified so far. The first of these, complex buying behavior, focuses on consumers who buy expensive or high-end products. They are strongly immersed in the buying process as they focus on large investments.
Subsequently, there is the dissonance-reducing buying behavior, whose main trait is that they find it difficult to deal with the differences between brands. It is this type of consumer who may have doubts about their purchase.
The third type is the habitual buying behavior that is related to consumers who have little to no interest in changing a purchase pattern or routine. Finally, the variety-seeking behavior relates to consumers who are looking to buy products just for variety or curiosity. This type is a bit more adventurous than the others in terms of taking the risk of trying new things.
Now, recognizing and understanding these profiles, along with the multifactorial and fast-changing environment in which consumers are constantly immersed, will allow us to fully grasp the approach each business should take when planning and executing strategies. Nonetheless, it’s important to mention that some of these factors may influence consumer behavior temporarily, while some others may influence it in the long run.
Then, how can this behavior be predicted if it keeps regularly changing? To solve this, first and foremost, we need to take into account that it is fundamental to know how to address and solve the needs those factors bring with them. In doing so, we will be able to connect effortlessly with consumers, which will enable us to understand what their wants and needs are, in addition to being able to position the business above the competition.
Opting for fulfillment can help us reach these goals. Let’s recall that fulfillment refers to the process that covers all activities from the moment the consumer makes an online order until the product is delivered. Furthermore, this process may include among others, the picking, packing and dispatch stages, as well as reverse logistics management (returns).
To illustrate, allow me to explain the fulfillment process.
The first step is to receive the inventory from the suppliers. Secondly, this inventory must be counted and inspected for damage to ensure the proper amount of goods. After this has been done, then the next step is to store the inventory. Once the stock has been received in the fulfillment center, it is inventoried. The items are then kept or sent to short or longer-term storage.
The next step is order processing, which starts when the order is received, whether from the online marketplace, order management software or the shopping cart of an e-commerce store. Next, we have picking and packing, which refers to the path that is followed to make sure all the products ordered are properly packaged and labeled for their shipping.
Eventually, the order shipping stage will occur, which is one of the most anticipated steps in fulfillment, and it refers to the process of shipping a package through different carriers. An important highlight surrounding this particular phase is to always provide the shipment tracking because it eases the consumer’s mind while waiting for the order. Lastly, and after the order has been delivered, the fulfillment center assists in the returns and refunds management procedures, if required.
Hence, fulfillment allows consumer satisfaction and loyalty to increase. And likewise, it allows the business to expand its reach, free up space, improve consumer service, reduce shipping and operational costs, offer customized packaging as well as take advantage of new technologies.
We are currently living under a scenario in which we are not only constantly in a hurry but are continually experiencing supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and an ever-changing trend in consumer shopping habits. Consequently, adapting to new technologies or processes is essential, especially when it comes to attracting new customers and maintaining the loyalty of others. So, what's stopping you from trying fulfillment in your business?
- 10 reasons to use a fulfillment center for your ecommerce shipping
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- Order fulfillment process
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