Small Business Brief


How to Track Consumer Behavior (And Why You Need To)

Tracking consumer behavior can give your business a huge advantage. But how do you do it? And why should you do it? Read on to find out.

90% all purchasing decisions are not made consciously.

Most of the time customers make purchases almost instinctively. And they couldn’t tell you why they did even if they tried. This is where tracking consumer behavior comes in. This tracking can help tell you the why and even a little bit more information than that. Read on to find out how:

What is Consumer Behavior

Consumer behavior is the study of how potential groups or individual consumers behave when they come into companies and products. It’s important to note that tracking behavior isn’t just about observing consumers for your own specific product.

Observing other companies products or just general consumer behavior can teach your company a lot about how to improve your approach. Consumer behavior can vary in intensity.

You might be observing every movement of a customer in a store. Or you may be trying to find out what makes a customer choose one product over the other. You will also want to know how customers feel about your product or brand.

Researching into this kind of behavior can help you gather information on where you can improve your product or company’s approach. It can also teach you a lot about the demographics of your target customer. And how often they use or buy your product.

Industries that Need to Track it

Understand that many companies track consumer behavior but it varies depending on their individual product.


Apple tracks consumers from the very start of a purchase. When customers buy an apple product, the company uses the data from the purchase and usage to help improve their marketing. They then used this information to change how they used their logo.


Gillette used its new sensor razor to go against the usual consumer buying preferences for buying disposable razors. In a field where consumers were buying disposables, Gillette was able to position its newer razor to be better than disposables.


Consumer behavior also plays a role in L’Oreal’s approach to makeup in India. As they researched how women in India use plants and herbs in their makeup routine. Then made sure they created products tailored for these women.

What to Take Into Consideration

When you start researching the behavior of your users there are a couple of factors and approaches you should consider. Having a wide range to choose from will help you find the best method for your company.

Focus on finding out the consumers opinions and personal interests. This can also include their demographics. Next, consider how your consumers think.

What information do you have that shows how they make decisions?

Socialization also has a role to play in behavior. How do your user’s friends and family affect the decisions they make.

Some different ways of tracking consumer behavior can be broken up into two different categories:

  • Qualitative: interviews, focus groups, Q&As, reviews
  • Quantitative: surveys, analytics, SEO research

Which route you decide to take to research behavior will be dependent on the staff and budget you will have. For example, if you can afford to have a large budget then you may want to start with interviews and focus groups.

As these will give you a good idea of what your user’s personal interest and the extent of their socialization. If you don’t have a large budget then you may want to constantly keep track of your analytics and maybe create a survey to be sent to customers.

Where you should track it

You should aim to track behavior from all areas of the buying process. Whether that be when they first enter your store or website. Or when they buy your products and sign up for your email list.

If you wanted to be even more specific you might also track how your customers are finding you. Whether it be by word of mouth or by an ad that your company paid for. These are all relevant details and can be used to shape your approach later on.

Think about what methods you want to start tracking consumers through as well. In today’s digital landscape there is a ton of data and information to be learned from users online. We are able to learn more about people than ever.

Consider the different devices that your consumers may be using to access information. These devices could be computers, smartphones, or tablets. Make sure that you are tracking this preference as well.

Tools to Help Track it

There are many different automation tools out there that can help you track consumer behavior. Especially if you are on a budget. Here are a few:

Google Surveys

Google Surveys is a small branch of Google Analytics. If you don’t have time to find people to take your survey this is a great tool to use.

All you have to do is design your survey and choose your target audience. From there Google will display your survey to users who match your target audience and even offers them prize and incentives if they take it.


comScore has an audient analytics solution that promises measurements in Television content and digital media. It’s home panel measures behavior on different devices as well.

It will also show you consumer insights on tv, cable, and streaming right down to the zip-code of your users.


Cision is known as a PR tool but offers insights in analytics as well. It has the ability to show you data on how your business is appearing in the news as well as web analytics.

It also has a tool that works as a customer relationship management system. And it has the ability to track activity on social media channels to and translate it into information about your customers.

How you can educate yourself

Educating yourself on how people work will also help you in translating consumer behavior into actions your company should take. If you are considering higher education to help you get a better idea of your market, degrees for behavior analysts may prove to be helpful.

There are other educational programs available to you as well. Courses with a focus in psychology and sociology can give you an edge on your competitors.

What to do with the information

The more information you gain from your consumers the better. But you won’t make any progress unless you start using that information to craft your strategy.

After you learn what your customers like to see and their interests use this in your content. If you learn that your consumers enjoy humor you should start publishing information about your product that is humorous.

It could be where your service is located or getting creative with packaging. Using analytics to make a small change can make a big difference.

Use opinions and interests to engage with your users or followers. Use this information to craft your product or service as well. This way you will be able to provide just what customers are looking for.

More Tips For Your Small Business

When you’re running your own business it can be hard to market your business by yourself. But the tools for consumer behavior can help tremendously if you want to start gathering information. And it can help you stay competitive.

For more tips for running your own small business check out our blog.