Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to understand the social characteristics of online customers

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs focuses on the basic requirement and demand for the individuals utilized by the marketers to identify the customer buying pattern (Yan, et al., 2016). The components of the theory or basic needs of the human being comprise:

  • psychological needs,
  • safety and security needs,
  • love and belonging need,
  • self-esteem and,
  • self-actualization needs.

Identifying buying behaviours

The burdens and necessities of diversified customer range have been distributed through the type of products which help the marketers to select a particular group of target consumers.

The feedback and the opinion of the customers are evaluated in a structured manner to deliver a product or service to accomplish a business goal (Karahanna, et al., 2018). Maslow’s hierarchy helps to identify the difference between the external environments that affect an individual’s behaviour, trait and attributes in choosing a brand. The psychological and social demand of the customers remain fulfilled effectively by evaluating the model and the price of the products remain aligned with the regular range as it covers the basic need of human being (Harrigan & Commons, 2015).

The values provided to the consumer for sales is considered as an important factor for the marketers in a marketing strategy (Li, et al., 2017). On the other hand, the sentimental judgment of the customers remains evaluated through the Maslow’s need of hierarchy to demonstrate a pattern in the buying behaviour (Bouzenita & Boulanouar, 2016).

Case example of the use of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Pharmeasy, an E-commerce website and application serving pharmacy products, medical equipment and booking of medical tests (Pharmeasy, 2019). Pharmeasy has been able to deliver medicines at low cost compared to the physical stores and meet the basic psychological needs of customers. Before, the start of online pharmacy stores, medicine or conducting the medical tests relied on the traditional stores and diagnostic centres. The firm has identified lack of proficiency for understanding the name of the medicines ordered. So, they have taken the approach of uploading a copy of the prescription to identify the medicines.

Pharmeasy had offered a 40% discount on the first five orders to its new users. This addressed the consumer buying behaviour based on the Maslow theory. These types of demands and needs are frequent in nature and customer retention has become more simplified through their quick delivery and pricing (Lee & Hanna, 2015). The queries and doubts of the customers also remain fulfilled and are often replied over social media platforms fulfilling the need of social characteristics of online consumers.


  • Bouzenita, A. & Boulanouar, A., 2016. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: An Islamic critique. Intellectual Discourse, 1(24), pp. 25-28.
  • Gbededo, M. & Liyanage, K., 2018. Identification and alignment of the social aspects of sustainable manufacturing with the theory of motivation. Sustainability, 3(10), p. 852.
  • Harrigan, W. & Commons, M., 2015. Replacing Maslow’s needs hierarchy with an account based on stage and value. Behavioral Development Bulletin, 1(20), p. 24.
  • Indiatimes, 2018. e-commerce-players-brace-for-big-battle-over-online-pharma/. [Online] Available at:
  • Karahanna, E., Xu, S., Xu, Y. & Zhang, N., 2018. The needs–affordances–features perspective for the use of social media. Management Review, 2(26), pp. 298-310.
  • Lee, J. & Hanna, S., 2015. Savings goals and saving behavior from a perspective of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 2(26), pp. 14-18.
  • Li, Y., Zhang, H. & Huang, W., 2017. Gender differences in information quality of virtual communities: a study from an expectation-perception perspective. Personality and individual differences, 1(104), pp. 224-229.
  • Missimer, M., Robèrt, K. & Broman, G., 2017. A strategic approach to social sustainability–Part 1: exploring the social system. Journal of Cleaner Production, 1(140), pp. 32-41.
  • Pharmeasy, 2019. About Us. [Online] Available at: Us/ [Accessed 08 August 2019].
  • Yan, Z., Wang, T., Chen, Y. & Zhang, H., 2016. Knowledge sharing in online health communities: A social exchange theory perspective. Information & Management, 5(53), pp. 643-653.

Abhinash Jena

Partner at Project Guru
Abhinash has worked in sales, branding, and marketing functions for GPS companies including MapmyIndia Navigators ( In addition to writing for Knowledge Tank articles, he also writes the expert's advice for Thesis & Dissertations and Power Designs.

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