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Behavioural characteristics

Behavioural characteristics

Behavioural characteristics relate to how customers or consumers behave toward a product or service, focussing on:

  • What they buy
  • When they buy
  • Why they buy
  • How they buy, and
  • How often they buy

It is concerned with breaking groups down further by looking at their usage of your products or services, their loyalty, and even their attitude and motivation towards the category or your products or services, along with their level of involvement in the purchase decision.

What, when and how often they buy

What they buy is an important aspect of understanding the customer or consumer. Some customers or consumers are interested in purchasing only the basic level of goods or services to fulfil their needs. Whilst others seek products or services with a full range of features.

When they buy also influences the customer or consumer’s purchase decision. For example, some purchases are made impulsively (when they are at the point of the purchase), whilst other purchases are more planned, causing the customer or consumer to think more carefully before they start their search, and even what they will search, to evaluate their options to purchase.

How often they buy, also referred to as frequency of purchase, will depend on the durability of the product or service. How often the product or service needs to be replaced or replenished. Understanding the frequency of purchase can provide an opportunity for you to consider ways to increase the need to repeat purchase. For example, if your product is a consumable then consider the purchase interval (one week, one month etc.) and then consider communicating just prior to the timeframe for the customer or consumer to repurchase - remind them you are out there!

The distinction between what they buy and when they buy can be further explained by why they buy.

Why they buy

Customers or consumers may have many reasons as to why they buy. The why can be influenced by a number of factors, ultimately impacting their adoption or repeat purchase of new products or services. Some of these factors may be:

  • Attitude: How they feel toward a category or product; how actively positive they are toward purchasing the product or service.
  • Awareness: how aware are they of your products or services, or even the category; the level of knowledge they have about the product or service.
  • Experience: level of experience with the product or service they are seeking; whether they have seen it being used by someone else, or whether they have previously used the product or service themselves.
  • Need: Whether they see the need for the product or service - sometimes new products or services need to motivate the customer or consumer by showing them the benefits of buying the proposed product or service.

After understanding their attitude, awareness, experience and need, you can then start to consider the level of involvement in the purchase decision itself.


Take our poll to find how diverse behavioural characteristics can be across the learners within in this course.

On average, how often do you buy a new pair of running/exercise shoes for yourself?

  • Every 2 years or more
  • Every 12 months
  • Every 6 months
  • Every 3 months
  • I don’t buy this type of shoe

Click here to access our poll

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This article is from the free online course:

Online Business: Customer Profiling for Success

RMIT University