What's behind Consumer habits?
Sumaa Tekur on being a 'Creature of Habit', 'I confess. I'm a creature of habit too. When I wake up, I sit still for a minute before getting out of bed. I always brush my teeth starting left bottom and then make my way to right top in very systematic, organised brush strokes.
I like my morning cuppa from the same mug. I wipe my wet hands with a towel starting, always, with the left hand in the same manner, in the same direction every single time. While driving to MG Road, I use only one route, not wanting to change or try, maybe, a faster way to get there. When I get to work, I draw the blinds, unlock my drawers and switch on the comp -- in the exact same order every workday morning with a scary lack of deviation.'
Habitual patterns of consumption that consumers form over a period of time is the best thing that can happen to a brand. But for habits to form there are two consumption conditions to be satisfied. One, the brand in question must fall into a product category that elicits a low level of involvement from the consumer. That is, the consumer engages in minimal cognition while considering purchase in that category. Two, the consumer should have, after minimal consideration, bought the brand in question and turn into a satisfied customer. That is, the brand should deliver on what was promised.
Let me illustrate. The first time around, one could look for a toothpaste that promises fresh breath. Then one buys a particular brand of toothpaste. And if the brand delivers, the first time around, in all probability, then on, the consumer buys that very same brand out of habit. Such habitual purchase of a low involvement category brand is termed 'inertia'.
Consumer habits are characterised thus because the consumption act is an outcome of inertia. The consumer falls into such a state of inertia because the cognitive activity he engages in whilst buying a second time around is close to zilch. For a brand to be part of a consumer's habit, the critical requirement is delivery of value on the first purchase. Repeat it a few more times, and you will have the consumer eating out your hands. Without a thought.
I mean, buying your brand out of habit.