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  • 8/7/2019 Consumer Buying Mariuam


    Consumer Buying Behavior

    ArticleWhat influences consumers to purchase products orservices? The consumer buying process is a complex matteras many internal and external factors have an impact on thebuying decisions of the consumer.When purchasing a product there several processes, whichconsumers go through. These will be discussed below.

    Problem/Need Recognition

    How do you decide you want to buy a particular product orservice? It could be that your DVD player stops working andyou now have to look for a new one, all those DVD films youpurchased you can no longer play! So you have a problem ora new need. For high value items like a DVD player or a caror other low frequency purchased products this is theprocess we would take. However, for impulse low frequencypurchases e.g. confectionery the process is different.

    Information searchSo we have a problem, our DVD player no longer works andwe need to buy a new one. Whats the solution? Yes go outand purchase a new one, but which brand? Shall we buy thesame brand as the one that blew up? Or stay clear of that?Consumer often go on some form of information search tohelp them through their purchase decision. Sources ofinformation could be family, friends, neighbours who mayhave the product you have in mind, alternatively you mayask the sales people, or dealers, or read specialistmagazines like What DVD? to help with their purchasedecision. You may even actually examine the product beforeyou decide to purchase it.So what DVD player do we purchase? Shall it be Sony,

    Toshiba or Bush? Consumers allocate attribute factors to

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    certain products, almost like a point scoring system whichthey work out in their mind over which brand topurchase. This means that consumers know what featuresfrom the rivals will benefit them and they attach different

    degrees of importance to each attribute. For example soundmaybe better on the Sony product and picture on theToshiba , but picture clarity is more important to you thensound. Consumers usually have some sort of brandpreference with companies as they may have had a goodhistory with a particular brand or their friends may have hada reliable history with one, but if the decision falls betweenthe Sony DVD or Toshiba then which one shall it be? It couldbe that the a review the consumer reads on the particular

    Toshiba product may have tipped the balance and that they

    will purchase that brand.

    Purchase decision

    Through the evaluation process discussed above consumerswill reach their final purchase decision and they reach thefinal process of going through the purchase action e.g. Theprocess of going to the shop to buy the product, which forsome consumers can be as just as rewarding as actually

    purchasing the product. Purchase of the product can eitherbe through the store, the web, or over the phone.Ever have doubts about the product after you purchased it?

    This simply is post purchase behaviour and research showsthat it is a common trait amongst purchasers of products.Manufacturers of products clearly want recent consumers tofeel proud of their purchase, it is therefore just as importantfor manufacturers to advertise for the sake of their recentpurchaser so consumers feel comfortable that they own a

    product from a strong and reputable organisation. This limitspost purchase behaviour. i.e. You feel reassured that youown the latest advertised product.

    Factors influencing the behaviour ofbuyers.

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    Consumer behaviour is affected by many uncontrollablefactors. Just think, what influences you before you buy aproduct or service? Your friends, your upbringing, yourculture, the media, a role model or influences from certaingroups?Culture is one factor that influences behaviour. Simplyculture is defined as our attitudes and beliefs. But how arethese attitudes and beliefs developed? As an individualgrowing up, a child is influenced by their parents, brothers,sister and other family member who may teach them what iswrong or right. They learn about their religion and culture,which helps them develop these opinions, attitudes andbeliefs (AIO) . These factors will influence their purchase

    behaviour however other factors like groups of friends, orpeople they look up to may influence their choices ofpurchasing a particular product or service. Reference groupsare particular groups of people some people may look uptowards to that have an impact on consumer behaviour. Sothey can be simply a band like the Spice Girls or yourimmediate family members. Opinion leaders are thosepeople that you look up to because your respect their viewsand judgements and these views may influence consumer

    decisions. So it maybe a friend who works with the IT tradewho may influence your decision on what computer to buy.The economical environment also has an impact onconsumer behaviour; do consumers have a secure job and aregular income to spend on goods? Marketing andadvertising obviously influence consumers in trying to evokethem to purchase a particular product or service.Peoples social status will also impact their behaviour. Whatis their role within society? Are they Actors? Doctors? Officeworker? and mothers and fathers also? Clearly being parents

    affects your buying habits depending on the age of thechildren, the type of job may mean you need to purchaseformal clothes, the income which is earned has an impact.

    The lifestyle of someone who earns 250000 would clearlybe different from someone who earns 25000. Alsocharacters have an influence on buying decision. Whether

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    the person is extrovert (out going and spends onentertainment) or introvert (keeps to themselves andpurchases via online or mail order) again has an impact onthe types of purchases made.

    Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

    Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs theory sets out toexplain what motivated individuals in life to achieve. He setout his answer in a form of a hierarchy. He suggestsindividuals aim to meet basic psychological needs of hungerand thirst. When this has been met they then move up to thenext stage of the hierarchy, safety needs, where the prioritylay with job security and the knowing that an income will be

    available to them regularly. Social needs come in the nextlevel of the hierarchy, the need to belong or be loved is anatural human desire and people do strive for this belonging.Esteem need is the need for status and recognition withinsociety, status sometimes drives people, the need to have agood job title and be recognised or the need to wearbranded clothes as a symbol of status.Self-actualisation the realisation that an individual hasreached their potential in life. The point of self-actualisation

    is down to the individual, when do you know you havereached your point of self-fulfilment?

    But how does this concept help an organisation trying tomarket a product or service?Well as we have established earlier within this website,marketing is about meeting needs and providing benefits,Maslows concept suggests that needs change as we goalong our path of striving for self-actualisation. Supermarketfirms develop value brands to meet the psychological needsof hunger and thirst. Harrods develops products and servicesfor those who want have met their esteem needs. SoMaslows concept is useful for marketers as it can help themunderstand and develop consumer needs and wants.

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    Types of buying behaviour.

    There are four typical types of buying behaviour based onthe type of products that intends to be purchased. Complexbuying behaviour is where the individual purchases a highvalue brand and seeks a lot of information before thepurchase is made. Habitual buying behaviour is where theindividual buys a product out of habit e.g. a daily newspaper,sugar or salt. Variety seeking buying behaviour is where theindividual likes to shop around and experiment with differentproducts. So an individual may shop around for different

    breakfast cereals because he/she wants variety in themornings! Dissonance reducing buying behaviour is whenbuyer are highly involved with the purchase of the product,because the purchase is expensive or infrequent. There islittle difference between existing brands an example wouldbe buying a diamond ring, there is perceived little differencebetween existing diamond brand manufacturers.


    There are five stages of consumer purchase behaviour Problem/Need Recognition Information search. Evaluation of purchases. Purchase decision. Post purchase behaviour. Culture has an impact on the company. Marketers should take into account Maslows hierarchy of


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    Retails must develop stronger relationships with their

    customers if they want them to part with their hard earned

    cash, say Gordon Bethell, Joint Managing Director at


    As the retail landscape becomes increasingly competitive,

    particularly with predictions that online sales will outstrip

    growth on the high street within five years, it is important

    that retailers develop a clear proposition that appeals to

    both new and existing customers. In creating a retail design

    that is effective in achieving the objectives of generating

    return on investment, effecting sales per square meter and

    adding value to the brand, it is essential to firstly understand

    the consumer.

    As with new product development, which seeks to develop

    products that are on target with the consumers wants and

    needs, so must retail design understand and consider the

    environment that will develop the relationship with the

    consumer and increase their propensity to spend. It is

    imperative that retailers consider that emotion drives each

    and every retail purchase: consumers arent just buying a

    product, they seek environments that match the image that

    they hold of themselves or reflect their aspirations.

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    So how can retailers seek to understand their customers?

    Traditional thinking states that consumers are simply

    influenced by how a product or service satisfies an

    individuals hierarchy of needs, that is their psychological

    needs, security needs, social needs and esteem needs.

    Similarly Cohen stated that to understand a consumers

    buying behavior is to understand how that person interactswith the marketing mix, where each individual considers the

    product/service on offer in relation to their own culture,

    attitude, personal learning and personal perception.

    Recent thinking, however, which looks more at the emotional

    influences, also considers societal trends. How will the

    changes in society influence consumers demands for the

    retail environment? Will consumers increasing wealth

    exacerbate the desire for aspirational luxury or will the no-

    frills chic trend gather pace? What influence will our ever-

    accelerating society have on consumers? Will consumers

    want quick-fix solutions delivered by automated

    technologies or will the advancements in technology lead

    consumers to scale down and yearn for a better quality of


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    There are already moves by retailers to acknowledge

    emerging societal trends. Some are already recognizing the

    value of recognizing its consumers desire to lead a more

    fulfilling and satisfying life by providing a retail environment

    that caters for the holistic needs of the shoppers mind, body

    and soul, and moves away from the product-led

    commercialism of old.

    As consumers become increasingly fickle, demanding the

    newest and most innovative products, retailers not only have

    to ensure a faster lead-time on their products but also a

    more dynamic retail environment. Trend specialist has identified the upcoming trend of

    pop-up retail which reflects the thinking that, if new

    products can come and go, then the retail environment

    should be able to do the same. Ripples of this emerging

    trend were evident in New York almost 18 months ago as no-

    frills airline Song opened a flagship store in SoHo, NY, for

    nine weeks only, allowing consumers to sample the in-flight

    menu, purchase travel products, experience the in-flight

    entertainment options, and purchase tickets.

    Whilst specialist market research companies can offer

    detailed insights, by keeping an ear to the ground retailers

    can learn to anticipate their consumers emerging wants and

    needs by:

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    Spotting the trends: By keeping an eye on the changes

    in the governments national statistics.

    Monitoring changes: By keeping abreast of the changes

    in media consumed by your customers. Read and take

    note of articles on key websites and within core


    Going back to basics:

    Learn from entrepreneurs;

    Follow your gut feeling

    Impart your own experience Shop like a shopper!

    Talking to gatekeepers: These are influential people

    that may shape the future wants and needs of your

    consumers, such as journalists. Develop your

    relationship with them to understand shifts in consumer



    With so much consumer behaviour, not to mention humanbehaviour, happening at an unconscious level, its all tooeasy for something that you say or do to not register in yourown consciously accessible memory as significant.

    One friend of mine was asked in a survey what brands oflager he purchased. He wasnt a big drinker, but would

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    probably make a lager purchase (always of the same brand)every month or two.

    But faced with an interviewers question, and without theunconsciously filtered visual prompts of the packaging hecouldnt recall the brand hed bought all these years (a little-known brand called Budweiser!). How do I know the visualprompts were unconsciously filtered? Because faced with abottle, even with a large proportion concealed he wouldrecognise it and name it every time.

    But he couldnt describe the bottles design, because if hecould summon up a similar small proportion of the packdetail consciously, he would have been able to recall the

    name too.

    Had the interview been conducted on a different day, or in adifferent place, he might have seen a visual cue thatreminded him.

    Its all a bit haphazard, dont you think?

    Recently I read an internet survey on mobile phone (cellphone) usage. One of the early questions asked When you

    share your thoughts about computers and IT topics how doyou do it?

    A prompted list offered nine choices, and an other and Idont share thoughts options.

    Just how much reliving off the recent past the averagerespondent is supposed to invoke at this point isnt clear.

    A casual comment on an iPhone application mentioned in a

    car? A pointer on the bottom of an email? Telling someonethat their blog formatting is off?

    Frankly, I cant be bothered to give much thought to aquestion like this. And I happen to think that the vastmajority of other respondents, blasting through the surveyso that they get entered for the sweep-stake prize or to

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    receive some other recompense, wont be that botheredeither.

    So just how much should faith should a company have in ananswer to a question like this from consumer research?

    Not much, is my professional opinion.

    As you go about your consumer life it doesnt matter at allthat your thoughtless; in fact, it helps make you efficient atwhat you do. Imagine buying beer for the first time andtrying to make a good decision by reading all the packs,analysing the ingredients, and so on. It would take forever,and youd be none the wiser in any case!

    But when it comes to trying to understand your ownconsumers it really is important to understand thatconsumers are, for the most part, consciously thoughtless.

    They may well answer your questions, but you shouldntconfuse the fact that you get an answer with the notion thatthe answer has any real relevance to them or people yoursurvey is assuming that theyre representative of.



    Six Stages to the Consumer Buying Decision Process (For

    complex decisions). Actual Stages of the Consumer Buying


    purchasing is only one stage of the process. Not all decision

    processes lead to a purchase. All consumer decisions do not

    always include all 6 stages, determined by the degree of

    complexity...discussed next.

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    The 6 stages are:

    Problem Recognition(awareness of need)--difference

    between the desired state and the actual condition. Deficit in

    assortment of products. Hunger--Food. Hunger stimulates

    your need to eat.

    Can be stimulated by the marketer through product

    information--did not know you were deficient? I.E., see a

    commercial for a new pair of shoes, stimulates your

    recognition that you need a new pair of shoes.

    Information search--Internal search, memory.

    External search if you need more information. Friends and

    relatives (word of mouth). Marketer dominated sources;

    comparison shopping; public sources etc.

    A successful information search leaves a buyer with possible

    alternatives, the evoked set.

    Hungry, want to go out and eat, evoked set is

    chinese food

    indian food

    burger king

    klondike kates etc

    Evaluation of Alternatives--need to establish criteria for

    evaluation, features the buyer wants or does not want.

    Rank/weight alternatives or resume search. May decide that

    you want to eat something spicy, indian gets highest rank


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    If not satisfied with your choice then return to the search

    phase. Can you think of another restaurant? Look in the

    yellow pages etc. Information from different sources may be

    treated differently. Marketers try to influence by "framing"


    Purchase decision--Choose buying alternative, includes

    product, package, store, method of purchase etc.

    Purchase--May differ from decision, time lapse between 4 &

    5, product availability.

    Post-Purchase Evaluation--outcome: Satisfaction orDissatisfaction. Cognitive Dissonance, have you made the

    right decision. This can be reduced by warranties, after sales

    communication etc.

    After eating an indian meal, may think that really you

    wanted a chinese meal instead

    Types of Consumer Buying Behavior

    Types of consumer buying behavior are determined by:

    Level of Involvement in purchase decision. Importance and

    intensity of interest in a product in a particular situation.

    Buyers level of involvement determines why he/she is

    motivated to seek information about a certain products and

    brands but virtually ignores others.

    High involvement purchases--Honda Motorbike, high priced

    goods, products visible to others, and the higher the risk the

    higher the involvement.

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    Types of risk:

    Personal risk

    Social risk

    Economic risk

    The four type of consumer buying behavior are:

    Routine Response/Programmed Behavior--buying low

    involvement frequently purchased low cost items; need very

    little search and decision effort; purchased almost

    automatically. Examples include soft drinks, snack foods,

    milk etc.Limited Decision Making--buying product occasionally. When

    you need to obtain information about unfamiliar brand in a

    familiar product category, perhaps. Requires a moderate

    amount of time for information gathering. Examples include

    Clothes--know product class but not the brand.

    Extensive Decision Making/Complex high involvement,

    unfamiliar, expensive and/or infrequently bought products.

    High degree of economic/performance/psychological risk.

    Examples include cars, homes, computers, education. Spend

    alot of time seeking information and deciding.

    Information from the companies MM; friends and relatives,

    store personnel etc. Go through all six stages of the buying


    Impulse buying, no conscious planning.

    The purchase of the same product does not always elicit the

    same Buying Behavior. Product can shift from one category

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    to the next.

    For example:

    Going out for dinner for one person may be extensive

    decision making (for someone that does not go out often at

    all), but limited decision making for someone else. The

    reason for the dinner, whether it is an anniversary

    celebration, or a meal with a couple of friends will also

    determine the extent of the decision making


    According to the marketing guru Phillip Kotler, a human needis defined as a state of felt deprivation. A human want on theother hand is a need shaped by the individuals culture andsociety. Understanding what consumers need and how theseneeds can be made into wants is what effective marketing is

    all about!

    For instance a customer need may be thirst, and any drinksuch as a bottle of water could satisfy this need

    However at the point of purchase effective marketingdetermines what the customer will want to purchase in orderto quench their thirst. For example a good advertisement forcoke could steer the customer away from the bottled watersection and towards the fizzy drinks. On the other hand an

    effective add for ice lollies, an indirect competitor, couldsteer the consumer away from the fizzy drinks. Therefore themore effective the marketing, the easier it will be to get thecash out of the customers hand!

    It is then obvious that Marketing is all about understandingconsumer needs and steering the customer toward Your

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    product by creating certain wants in the minds of thecustomer. To do this marketers should be aware of theconsumer buying behaviuor process:

    1) Buyer recognition: the consumer has to realize there is aproblem or need that needs to be fulfilled. The effectivemarketer will identify there is a difference between theactual state of the consumer and the desired state, and tryto fulfill this state of deprivation.

    2) Information search: in this stage the buyer considers allthe alternatives present. For instance, according to theexample above, the customer would look at all thirstquenchers such as fizzy drinks, bottled water, juices and ice

    lollies. The most information a customer gains aboutalternatives is through commercial sources, such asadvertisements and campaigns. However information aboutintangible products in the service industry would mostlycome from personal experience or experience from others.

    3) Evaluation of alternatives: this is where all the informationis gathered and evaluated to help make the purchasingdecision.

    These three stages are important, for marketers tounderstand consumer behavior and what influencespurchasing of a certain product category and brand.

    4) Purchase decision: this is the stage where purchasing ofthe most preferred alternative takes place. However theproduct category, brand, reseller, timing and quantity allplay a role in the purchase decision.

    5 ) Post purchase decision: good marketers maintain a good

    relationship with the customer even after the purchase has

    been made. This is to reduce any chance of cognitive

    dissonance that the customer may experience with the

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    product. To reduce the negative effects of customer

    cognitive dissonance, good after sales services could be

    provided along with effective advertising


    Consumer behavioris the study of when, why, how, where

    and what people do or do not buy products.[1] It blends

    elements from psychology, sociology,social psychology,

    anthropology and economics. It attempts to understand the

    buyer decision making process, both individually and in

    groups. It studies characteristics of individual consumers

    such as demographics and behavioural variables in an

    attempt to understand people's wants. It also tries to assess

    influences on the consumer from groups such as family,

    friends, reference groups, and society in general.Customer

    behaviour study is based on consumer buying behaviour,

    with the customer playing the three distinct roles of user,

    payer and buyer. Relationship marketing is an influential

    asset for customer behaviour analysis as it has a keen

    interest in the re-discovery of the true meaning of marketing

    through the re-affirmation of the importance of the customer

    or buyer. A greater importance is also placed on consumer
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    retention, customer relationship management,

    personalisation, customisation and one-to-one marketing.

    Social functions can be categorized into social choice and

    welfare functions. Each method for vote counting is assumed

    as a social function but if Arrows possibility theorem is used

    for a social function, social welfare function is achieved.

    Some specifications of the social functions are decisiveness,

    neutrality, anonymity, monotonocity, unanimity,

    homogeneity and weak and strong Paretooptimality. No

    social choice function meets these requirements in anordinal scale simultaneously. The most important

    characteristic of a social function is identification of the

    interactive effect of alternatives and creating a logical

    relation with the ranks. Marketing provides services in order

    to satisfy customers. With that in mind, the productive

    system is considered from its beginning at the production

    level, to the end of the cycle, the consumer (Kioumarsi et al.,


    Belch and Belch define consumer behavior as 'the process

    and activities people engage in when searching for,

    selecting, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of

    products and services so as to satisfy their needs anddesires'