Studying Customer Buying Patterns

Written by Jacey Harmon
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Every time Jim goes to the grocery store and buys cheese he always buys milk and eggs as well. Jane goes shopping at a department store and whenever she buys a pair of pants she buys two pairs of socks. We all have habits that we form over the years and some of these habits spill over to how we shop. Businesses keep track of how we shop and use the information to their advantage.

A company that recognizes that customers will buy items in groups, like the egg, milk, and cheese example, can use the information for product placement. A grocery store will locate eggs close to the cheese and possibly put items that are on sale in the path. Product placement is one of the reasons why businesses track customer buying habits. By placing products in the right location throughout the store a company can theoretically increase sales.

Analyzing customer buying patters will help companies with their inventory and supply chain management. Having a better understanding of what sells and when will allow a business to order the correct inventory when needed. Buying patterns will also help companies forecast what products are needed and how much staff to have on hand to handle the traffic.

Tools for Studying Buying Patterns

Business intelligence solutions are used by companies to analyze data generated by the company. One of the most common uses for a business intelligence program is to analyze and identify buying patterns. A corporation will need to use data warehouses or data marts to store and analyze the data that is made available with each transaction. Visualization and analysis software will allow users to create reports that will visibly show purchasing trends from customers. The visual representation allows for easy identification of buying trends that may otherwise not be recognized.

There is a wide selection of companies that provide business intelligence solutions. They will work with a business to develop a solution that works for the company as well as fits in the budget. By using business intelligence to analyze customer buying trends a company will be able to keep a competitive edge.


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