Module 3: Farmers Markets
Unit 1: Consumer Behaviour

Understanding your customers’ buying behaviour

The consumer is the most important person. The business revolves around the consumer... It is therefore essential to gain a good understanding of your target market. The more that is known about consumer behaviour , the more the needs and wants of the customers are fulfilled. A study of consumer behaviour can really help us:

  • design the optimal product or service for customers.
  • determine where the product or service should be available so that it is easy for the customers to buy.
  • determine at what price customers are or are not ready to purchase a product or service
  • determine which method of promotion would be most effective to get customers to buy a product.
  • improve the performance of the farm

Why should I be interested in Consumer Behaviour?

Naturally you want your Farm Business to be successful. After all, you work hard to achieve it. Understanding your customers’ buying behaviour is one of the elements that contributes to your success. Without this understanding, it may become difficult to reach new clients. Especially in today’s competitive world. It also helps when you want your customers to buy more from your business. Customers base their buying decisions on both rational and emotional reasons.
They will look at each category of product both from a rational and from an emotional point of view, and this is valid both for first trials and for successive repeat. Getting your customers to be emotionally attached to your brand is one of the keys to keeping them loyal. It is, also, one of the key factors in gaining referrals and recommendations.
Understanding your customers’ buying behaviour is based on the following questions:
What Are Their Reasons For Buying?
It is important to try to have a clear understanding both of the rational and emotional reasons that are behind a decision to buy. Remember that emotional reasons will be a far bigger driver than price in their buying decision.
How Often Do they Buy?
Understanding this can help you with the timing of your marketing tactics, for example as far as packaging dimensions, storage facilities and also promotional timing are concerned.
Are They Buying For Others?
Sometimes customers buy products on behalf of others. A classic example is mothers buying for their children. The ones that use or consume your products or services can have a big influence on the buyer so you need to make sure you consider both in your marketing plan and especially in communication.
What Do They Buy?
If you have a range of products and services it is a good idea to understand which particular products or services are bought on a regular basis.
Having this understanding helps you make strategic decisions. Such as whether you keep the whole range or focus on one or two key products or services only.
Where Do They Like To Buy?
Today there are many channels available for customers. Customers are increasingly buying directly from websites or online stores.
Understanding their preferences allows you to focus on the key channels to increase the opportunities for them to buy from you.
Where Do They Get Their Information?
Today there are so many sources of information. It is helpful to understand where they get the information and who they listen to.
These sources could be friends, websites, online reviews or influencers.

Keep in mind

“When I go out into the countryside and see the sun and the green and everything flowering, I say to myself Yes indeed, all that belongs to me!” Henri Rousseau “I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand”

Leonardo da Vinci

“My father asserted that there was no better place to bring up a family than in a rural environment.... There's something about getting up at 5 a.m., feeding the stock and chickens, and milking a couple of cows before breakfast that gives you a lifelong respect for the price of butter and eggs”

Bill Vaughan
Did you know?
Αs a farmer you should know that a large majority of eu citizens agree that agriculture contributes to the beauty of the countryside (86%), helps to preserve and protect rural areas (89%) and is beneficial for the environment (81%)

Source: Special Eurobarometer 389 – 2012

«Future of Farming» Video farmers and consumers in Europe: a good relationship!

A new word: Locavore

The New Oxford American Dictionary proclaimed “locavore” the word of the year in 2007. Locavores are consumers who are aware of the impact of food selection on the environment and who look for locally produced foods and beverages.



Μessage of the Prince of Wales for the European Commission Conference on Local Agriculture and Short Food Supply Chains, Brussels, 20 April 2012

Demand for products bought directly from the producer is motivated by specific values and attitudes that consumers assign to a product and it is related to:

  • The perception that local food is fresh, genuine, high quality and tasty
  • The pleasure of shopping in a local market
  • The importance of trust in farmers
  • Support for local farmers
  • Support for local economic and social development
  • Environmental respect
  • Energy saving

Read More
Europeans’ attitudes towards food security, food quality and the countryside.


Europeans’ attitudes towards food security, food quality and the countryside.

Consumer Price Response and Awareness

An interesting study showed that most consumers when shopping for frequently purchased product categories, did not do much comparison on price. Consumers, on average, inspected only 1.2 items before making a selection, and spent only twelve seconds before moving on. Only 21.6% claimed to have compared prices, and only 55.6% answered with an accuracy of 5% when asked about the price of the product they had just picked up. This seems to suggest that consumers do not pay much attention to prices. On the other hand, we know from scanner data that consumers respond a great deal to price changes. It appears that rather than looking at prices per se on every shopping occasion, consumers may check prices only periodically (say, every ten shopping times) or rely on cues in the environment—e.g., buy whatever brand is on sale. A study found that many consumers did, indeed, pay attention only to the fact that a product was on sale (the promotion “signal”). These consumers would select a brand regardless of whether the actual discount were small (e.g. 2%) or large, say 25%.

Factors motivating consumers in their purchasing decisions show greater awareness of nutrition and attention to health risks from food. The demand for low cost food co-exists with an increased interest in diversity and distinctiveness in food and even for higher quality and safe food.

The vast majority of EU citizens say that quality (96%) and price (91%) are important to them when buying food, while a substantial majority (71%) say that the origin of food is important. Quality, price and origin are considered important in most Member States with price being especially important for those citizens who have difficulties paying bills.
Special Eurobarometer 389 – 2012

Two thirds (67%) of EU citizens check food purchases to see if they have quality labels that guarantee specific characteristics, although this varies substantially between Member States.

Source: Special Eurobarometer 389 – 2012

Check this out:

The contryside feeling
STING AND THE HARVEST: In Tuscany, Working the Harvest at a Farm Owned by Sting

“…adventure and excitement of being part of the annual vendemmia, the traditional October grape and November olive harvests respected by generations of Tuscan farmers."
For those people who might otherwise book a donkey trek or a vineyard tour, is something out-of-the-ordinary to boast about when you get back from your annual holiday.

Did you know?

It is possible to evaluate public attitudes when buying food. Awareness of quality labels and perceptions of the preservation of nature and countryside here:

Keep in mind

Scale of factors motivating consumer purchases
  4. PRICE

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This communication (website) reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.