Having a proper understanding of consumers and customer behavior is key to curating a successful business. Customer behavior modeling utilizes previously obtained data to create customer cohorts, or segments. Creating these groupings allows for the prediction of reactions and actions of each cohort given a scenario based on their similarities and common prior behaviors. It is important to know the various behavior models and how to properly implement them.

  1. Pavlovian model

  • Model basis:

    • The pavlovian model utilizes associative learning through the effects of various stimuli. Through the repeated association of a stimulus and an effect, such as a reward, an automatic response occurs. This response can occur through either the same positive or negative interaction. The gratification in this model is tied to either success in receiving a reward or success in avoiding some sort of punishment. The pavlovian theory utilizes tangible rewards to create the desired effect on behavior.
  • Model Implementation:

    • This model is very customer centric. It focuses on the effects pre-existing stimuli has on the general shopper. The implication of the pavlovian model can be utilized by recognizing already conditioned behaviors within the general public. For example, the word “sale” can create a sense of urgency or desire to shop even if the consumer does not have a need to shop at that specific time. Goal-driven rewards are also an example of the pavlovian model. A business who offers a reward for a customer reaching a particular spending amount is utilizing this model.
  1. Economic model

  • Model basis:

    • This model suggests that consumers have the desire to meet their needs while spending as little as possible. There is a foundational belief within this model that human beings are rational and make rational decisions. Consumers will ask themselves questions before a purchase such as:

            -What will I gain?

            -Is the product purpose and performance worth the cost?

            -Can the purchase be deferred to a later date?

  • Model Implementation:

    • The Economic model can be largely utilized in the world of marketing by emphasizing the potential uses, longevity, and comparative low cost of a product. This model theorizes that consumers value utility and cost of a product. An example of this implementation would be rounding down a few cents to avoid a product being $10 instead of $9.99, or including the product in a bundle where the total cost of the bundle would be less than purchasing each product individually. Consumer research has shown that shopping behavior can be influenced when the customer believes they are receiving a deal or discounted item.


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  1. Input, process, output model

  • Model basis

    • This model focuses on the marketed product, the environmental forces surrounding it, and the background of the product consumer. There are three components to this model:
      • Inputs: These are the marketing efforts of factors such as product, price, place and promotion, as well as the environmental forces such as family, culture, age, and social class. The inputs are what influence the consumer’s decision making process.
      • Process: The process focuses on steps of the purchase process. These steps include need recognition, awareness, and evaluation of purchase.
      • Output: This refers to the consumer’s response to the marking efforts made by an organization. These responses are displayed regarding: Buying decision, choice of brand, choice of product, choice of store, purchase timing, and post purchase behavior.
  • Model Implementation:

    • Utilizing marketing efforts to create brand recognition and awareness in a way that convinces a consumer to choose your brand in their purchasing decision. This can be done through advertisements, product placement, and brand ambassadors creating awareness of products and services. Social media is a great resource to utilize when attempting to build brand recognition and awareness.
  1. Hawkins Stern Impulse Buying model

  • Model basis:

    • This model claims that purchases are not always a result of rational thought. The idea is that impulse purchases are made and there are four different types of these impulsive purchases. These types of purchases tend to happen within physical stores.
Escape Purchase Bought through pure impulse. Consumers are drawn to appealing visuals
Reminder Purchase Purchase made through in-store setups, a reminder of existence, promotional offers, or strategic placement
Suggested Purchase Awareness of a product caused by a suggestion from a person or online algorithms
Planned Purchase A purchase of a previously desired item that is only bought when a deal or price drop happens
    • This model can be implemented by providing consumers with multiple opportunities within a store to purchase an item through strategic placement and discounts. The customer experience is important to evaluate with this model. Impulsive buying relies on the sense of immediate need or want of a product. Curating a customer experience that emphasizes those desires can greatly influence buyer behavior.

      Model Implementations:

  1. Psychological/Learning model

  • Model Basis:

    • This model is based on Maslow’s theory of Hierarchy of Needs. The Psychological model divides these needs into a stair like formula where the needs must be met in order or the next level can not be achieved. These levels in order are:

The psychological model suggests that behavior of a consumer is motivated by their needs and that those needs never cease but only change according to time and situation. This model is very customer centric as it needs to focus on product category, consumer research, and the way the decision process may change due to variance within the consumers needs.

  • Model Implementation:

    • Ensuring target customers have their basic needs met by either offering products and services that meet these needs first or targeting an audience that has already met them. A customer centric approach is imperative as consumers should feel safe in their purchases, and the purchase should invoke a greater sense of esteem.


  1. Howard Sheth model

  • Model Basis:

    • This buyer behavior model takes the complexity of consumer behavior into consideration. Understanding consumers plays a large role in any marketing tactic. It also accounts for factors such as consumer attitudes, perception levels and learning capacity that influence consumer behavior. There are four variables that this model is based on:
      • Inputs parameters
      • Perception and learning constructs
      • Output parameters
      • External variables
  • Model Implementation:

    • This model is implemented by utilizing various inputs in a consumer’s life to influence their perception of a brand in order to influence positive buying behaviors for that brand. This can be done by providing the consumer with the opportunity to become familiar with a brand and develop positive associations with it. Such as placing a brand name consistently within a popular television show, or associating a brand with a philanthropic cause.
  1. Sociological Model

  • Model basis:

    • This model largely focuses on society and the versatility of various groups within society. These groups can be classified into primary and secondary groups. Primary groups consist of close friends, relatives and family members. Secondary groups consist of any member of society. This model focuses on the lifestyle and product requirements related to the lifestyle of consumers in the society.
  • Model Implementation:

    • Utilizing knowledge of your customer base background is instrumental in implementing this model. An example of the utilization of this buyer behavior model is a baby product business marketing towards mothers by running relatable campaigns depicting solutions to common problems parents experience.
  1. Family Decision making model

  • Model Basis:

    • This model presents the idea that the role every family member plays in a purchase decision is a unique one. The family decision making model suggests that there are six types of members in a family structure who hold influence over a purchase decision. These roles are:
      • The User: The person who plans to utilize the product.
      • The Influencer: The one who remains updated about products and services.
      • The Gatekeeper: The person who filters information or product attributes to either dissuade or persuade a purchase.
      • The Preparer: The one who pushes the product to completion, such as screwing all pieces of a toy together.
      • The Buyer: The person who actually buys the product.
      • The Decider: The one who has the power of holding the money to make the final decision of buying the product.
  • Model Implementations:

    • Consumer shopping has influences from a number of different familial roles. All are important and all should be considered when predicting consumer behavior. An example of the implementation of this model is the purchasing of a car. Typically, all members of a family would have influence over this decision as the space, mileage, features, and comfort affects all members and could change based on the changes within the family unit.
  1. Engel-Blackwell-Kollat model

  • Model Basis:

    • This model is based on four key components:
      • Information processing (IP): Focuses on the message to which the consumer is exposed
    • Central Control unit (CCU): Based on four psychological factors
    • Previous experience
    • Changing mindsets
    • Criteria of consumer evaluation
    • Personality
    • The Decision process: Post purchase satisfaction levels
    • Environmental influences: All factors that influence purchase decision
  • Model Implementations:

    • A phone carrier is an example of the EBK model. Consumers will evaluate their phone line options, consider their previous experience with various phone lines, and then evaluate their satisfaction with their choice. They will then reevaluate their options and decide whether or not their purchase was the right fit.
  1. Industrial Buying model

  • Model Basis:

    • This model focuses on the three characteristics that are involved in purchase decisions by various industries:
      • Individuals coming from different backgrounds possessing varying psychological outlooks involved in the decision making process
      • Joint decision making being inevitable
      • Decisions pertaining to purchases may cause opinion clashes between departments or individuals
    • This model also suggests that committees may be formed in order to make purchase decisions and that these committees may comprise individuals who:
      • Have various perceptions
      • Are from different backgrounds
      • Have differing satisfaction levels related to experience
      • Obtain information from varying sources
      • Search experience that is dependent on their individual skills
  • Model Implementations:

    • An example of this model would be a business choosing which supplier to purchase their materials from. A small candle company may decide to purchase their jars based on factors such as the individual owners preferences for price, quality and look, while a large chain candle company may require consultation from varying departments before deciding the features important to their company.


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  1. Nicosia model

  • Model Basis:

    • This model focuses on the level of exposure a consumer has in regards to their purchasing decisions. It involves four fields that act upon one another.
      • The first field is divided into two subfields:

Subfield one

Subfield two

●     Product attributes

●     Firm attributes

●     Pre-existing attitude towards a product

●     Attributes of the organization whose products are being purchased

    • The second field consists of:
      • Consumer research
      • Consumer evaluation
      • The third field focuses on the buying decisions of consumers
      • The fourth and final field is concerned with consumers’ post purchase behavior, product use, as well as product storage and consumption.
  • Model Implementations:

    • This model arises when there is mutual communication between a company and the consumers. The company initiates communication with consumers through promotional activities and consumers reciprocate that communication through purchasing decisions. Online shopping is an example of this model as communications between companies can be instantaneous. Companies release marketing materials directly to the consumers device, and the consumer responds by performing the purchase.
  1. The Psychoanalytical model

  • Model Basis:

    • This model draws from Sigmund Freud’s theories of human behavior. It focuses on the idea that individual consumers have deep-rooted motives that are both conscious and unconscious. These motives are what drives purchases. It depends on the idea that customers make purchases depending on how various stimuli appeal to their desires. The way consumers perceive a product and its effect on their life will have a great impact in their shopping behavior.
  • Model Implementations:

    • An example of this model is alcohol and tobacco sales in the United States. People are aware that these products can be harmful, but they have an unconscious connection between alcohol and adult events that helps drive sales. Within a group of people, drinking is normalized, and often encouraged to the point where the stimulus, being in a social group setting, results in the desire to consume alcohol.
  1. Black Box model, also known as the Stimulus-Response model

  • Model basis:

    • This model focuses on the idea that customers are individual thinkers that will process internal and external stimuli in order to make purchase decisions. Consumers come into contact with external stimuli and process it. They then relate these stimuli to their pre-existing knowledge to make a decision.
  • Model Implementations:

    • Implementing this model begins with utilizing or even creating these stimuli that influence purchasing decisions. For example, in warm weather coffee shops will advertise their iced beverages and focus on the relief consumers can feel from a cold drink on a warm day. Advertising and curated marketing timing are key components in creating these stimuli. Carefully curated marketing efforts can utilize existing stimuli, such as utilizing approaching holidays to advertise items relating to the color of that holiday. This is an example of the black box model because people associate reds and greens with Christmas and they utilize that pre-existing color palette knowledge to make purchasing decisions around this time period.
  1. Webster and Wind model

  • Model Basis:

    • This model focuses on organizational buying behaviors. It argues that there are four major variables that affect whether an organization makes a purchase decision.
  1. Environmental Variables: Any external factors that could sway a purchase decision
  2. Organizational Variables: Internal factors that could sway the purchase decision
  3. Buying center variables: Who makes the final decision, has the authority to sign the contract and who influences the bing process
  4. Individual variables: Demographic and psychographic information of the individual buying for a business.


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  • Model Implementations:

    • This model focuses on business to business interactions. Implementation of this model relies on the purchasing businesses attributes, as well as the individual purchaser making the decision on behalf of that business. An example of this model is when firms minimize either their spending quantity or quality during recessions.
  1. Nicosia Model

  • Model Basis:

    • This model places emphasis on putting the business first and the consumer second. It places all power on the business and comprises four different fields.

Business and Consumer characteristics

Marketing message

Customer perception

Reception of marketing message

Search and evaluation

The comparison of different brands based on the company message by the consumer

Purchase decision

The decision to buy after the company has convinced the customer to choose them as the provider


The decision of the company to choose to continue with the same message or not and the decision of the consumer to continue to be receptive to the messages

  • Model Implementations

    • This model mainly focuses on the goals of the business. The model suggests that the business message is what influences a consumer in the purchasing of a product. These messages elicit either positive or negative reactions from a consumer which in turn influences their purchasing decision. Maintaining a consistent company message is important in creating positive emotions towards a brand to create repetitive purchasing decisions.

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About the Author: Neal Topf

Neal Topf, a seasoned contact center expert, is dedicated to transforming customer experiences. With years of industry wisdom, he guides businesses to excellence. His articles provide actionable insights for live answering, tech support, appointment scheduling, and implementing automated services, ensuring unparalleled customer experiences and operational efficiency.