How chasing squirrels can teach you customer behavior

I planted a bunch of fava beans to grow through autumn, winter, and into the spring.

The first ones started coming up okay with no problems.

But the last set of seeds were in the ground for only a day before the squirrels started to dig them up.

I tried a bunch of ways to deter them but in the end they dug up and ate just about every last one.

(Picture a slapstick comedy routine of me trying to scare off the squirrels)

One might resign and think I can’t grow fava beans here. But inches from the dug-up holes are 6″ tall favas.

What probably happened is that the second set of beans was planted at a time when the squirrels started to eat up everything they could for winter. The first set was planted soon enough that they weren’t interested and now the seeds are edible anymore. But the second set going in later made their seeds prime cuisine.

Thinking back, they’ve also done this with sunflowers in summer. Any I planted they dug up, but over autumn they’ve dropped a bunch of seeds and we now have some two foot tall sunflowers trying to bloom.

The squirrels behavior is seasonal which makes sense for wild animals. If they continue to follow those patterns though, I can work around them (e.g. plant fava early).

Your customers likely have similar patterns you can watch for (no, not that they’ll eat all your fava seeds).

We’re coming up to the winter holidays which will usually trigger strong buying behavior. Just like last year. You might also see strong behavior at other times throughout the year, especially if your products are more suited to warm-weather.

This is the classic seasonal buying behavior.

There’s also behavior that triggers based on the time since their last purchase, not necessarily the calendar date. Replenishable and consumable products usually have strong behavior trends here as customers run out and need to restock.

Just like I’m learning how to spot and adapt to the squirrels behavior, you’ll want to do the same for your customers.

Time your promotions and new product launches to the best periods. Offer more incentives when things are typically slow for you. That sort of thing.

If you want help to find these behavior cycles the Cohort Report and Latency Report in Repeat Customer Insights can help. The Latency Report will show you the order-timing behavior and the Cohort Report will show you both the calendar-timing and some order-timing behavior.

It comes with a 14-day free trial so you can see how it works and get some ideas right away.

Eric Davis

Find out who the best customers are in your Shopify store

Repeat Customer Insights icon

Are you struggling to grow your repeat purchases? Equip your store with the insights it needs to increase your repeat sales.

Install Repeat Customer Insights for Shopify