Consumer Buying Behavior and Decision Making Process Research Paper
Consumer behavior is one of the major dynamics in the felid of business today. All organizations aim to achieving customer attention and satisfaction. This can only be achieved through the understanding of consumer choice model and purchasing behavior which provides a deep insight into consumer’s minds regarding their purchase decisions. Hence, there are mainly four categories of purchasing behavior which are the variety seeking buying behavior, habitual buying behavior, dissonance reducing buying behavior, and complex buying behavior.
Moreover, to fully understand consumer buying behavior, marketers must emphasis and learn about the influences that lead to their decision making. There exist many external and internal factors that influence their purchase behavior, and once marketers can identify these factors, they can easily target the right customers for their products. Consumer Decision Making: Consumer behavior as a study has been originated in the 1960s (Olshavsky, and Grandois 1979).
Most theories explained that consumers make rational decisions to achieve satisfaction from the purchases they make.
Hence, these traditional views and models have been successful since the beginning till the current time period with variations according to the economical and social environment. Consumer buying behavior and decision making process is very complicated and requires effective analysis to achieve successful results (Olshavsky, and Grandois 1979).
The importance of consumer behaviour is linked towards the success of an organization through its marketing strategies. Consumer behaviour is the process where emotional factors as well as mental factors are involved during customers purchasing decisions for goods and services (Richarme 2001).
Moreover, the behaviour of consumers is the purchasing behaviour of individuals such as who buy goods and services for their personal uses. (Kotler 2007). In order to understand, consumer behaviour to achieve success, it requires great understanding towards the customer’s decision making and buying process.
Categories/Types of Consumer Buying Decision Behaviour:
There are mainly four categories of purchasing behaviour of consumers that we will analyse to understand the consumer’s decisions more in depth.
Firstly, Complex buying Behaviour is when there is high involvement in the purchase and has significant difference between different brands (Kotler 2007). This can occur when a product or service is highly expensive. Here, the consumer will firstly increase his knowledge about the product by collecting information and then deciding about the purchase decision. Organizations must provide vast knowledge and information to such high involvement of customers and understand that they will conduct evaluation before purchase so it requires time (Kotler 2007).
Products in this category can be new technology and innovations in products such as Computers and branded items.
Secondly, the Dissonance Reducing Buying Behaviour occurs when there is high involvement of the consumer but less difference between brands (Kotler 2007). This can occur when there are expensive products to purchase but there are less price differences or quality differences between them. The example for this type can be carpets, as we know that carpets show elegance and premium quality, but there are fewer differences between the available carpets in the market.
Thirdly, Habitual Buying Behaviour is when there is low involvement of consumer and some important differences in the brands (Kotler 2007). Here, all daily routine items cam be included such as salt, bread, milk etc. Here, the process of consumer decision making is very simple, where consumer does not search for information and evaluation of the product before purchasing (Kotler 2007). Lastly, Variety Seeking Buying Behaviour occurs when there is low involvement of consumer but significant differences between brands (Kotler 2007).
Here, consumers try out different products due to wide range of variety and it does not reflect their dissatisfaction. For an example, purchasing cookies and biscuits of different brands with wide variety to try out is a variety seeking buying behaviour.
The Roles of Consumers in the Decision Making Process:
This is mainly the steps involved in the decision making process of a consumer. It starts from the initiator who is a consumer who starts thinking about buying a product or serve. Then, influencer is a person who influences and persuades the consumer to purchase the product(Lukovitz 2009).
Then ultimately, the consumer decide to buy and become a decider. Fourth role is of a buyer who eventually buys the product for his personal use. And lastly, the user is a consumer who actually consumes the product in marketing, different roles of consumers are identified so that they can develop effective marketing strategies to increase their products demand and sales (Kotler 2007).
Key Factors Influencing Consumer Choice:
It includes three main characteristics which are social-class, main culture, and sub-culture. Culture shows the main reasons for a person’s choices.
Culture includes the behavior of individuals through values, wants, perceptions and traditions learned by the society and family. Subgroup is defined as a small part of culture where people have similar and commonly shared values. Then, the social class a constant and fixed sub sets of a society where we have divisions of several classes mainly based upon commonly shared values and behaviors. It can be measured through the variables of a person’s income, education, and status in the society.
Every society has social class structure based on several characteristics like membership groups, reference groups, family and the roles.
Social class is integration of many factors that include education, income, occupation and wealth of people. Marketers are interested in social classes as people belonging to some specific class or group have similar characteristics of buying behavior and hence they can target that class only (Cohen, Pham &Andrade 2008). Moreover, family members influence buying behavior of consumers. Family plays a vital role in the development of a person from child hood to adulthood. Hence, all family members make purchases and their buying behavior is very important to determine a common pattern o buying.
Also, women do most of the shopping for their home and hence developing marketing strategies that target women lead to successful results. Lastly, roles and status influence a consumer buying behavior. a person belongs to many groups like organizations where they work (Kotler 2007). Therefore, a corporate woman who works at a company will purchase according to her status and for example, she will be influenced by clothes that are professional and decent rather than casual and funky. Personal: These are one of the most important factors influencing the decision of a consumer.
These include variables such as occupation, economic condition lifestyle, stand of life, personality and age (Kotler, 2007). As for the age factor, a person belonging in teenage will have different choices and his purchasing behavior will differ from a person in his late 50s. Therefore, marketers gather information regarding personal factors and may target people in same age group or same lifestyle(Wind, Rao & Green 1991).
A person buying behavior is influenced by mainly four factors which are perception, learning, beliefs, attitudes and motivation (Kotler 2007).
Motivation towards doing something with will power plays an important role to influence a person in his purchasing decisions. For example, a person motivated to lose weight will have different needs and will decide to purchase diet books, exercise machines and pills. This is a psychological influence towards purchasing a product. Moreover, positive attitude and beliefs also influence consumer’s decisions. Views about Consumer Choice Decisions: There exist mainly four views regarding the behaviour and decision making process of consumers.
To understand the consumer behaviour and purchase patterns, it is necessary for organizations to have deep and thorough understanding regarding the known theories and views. Therefore, the following are significant views about consumer choice process(Cohen,Pham &Andrade 2008).
Economical Perspective: Here, the consumers face imperfect competition and always make decisions based on rationality on assumptions that there are several substitutes and alternatives. These consumers make decisions after conducting evaluation of each alternative and then choosing the most appropriate one.
Passive Perspective: This is the opposite of economical view and shows consumers making irrational decisions based on impulse buying of goods and services. Here, the consumers are greatly influenced by the marketing strategies and advertising of marketers and make purchases by getting attracted to them (Wind, Rao & Green 1991).
Emotional Perspective: This is about consumers’ emotions and perceptions regarding a good or service. He will purchase according to his emotional aspect and personality. For example, if a consumer likes blue colour, he will purchase pen in blue colour regardless of any other influence (Hise, Ryans & Spijker 1975). Cognitive Perspective:
This is about consumers who are logical, rational and thinker. Here the consumer searches for the goods and services that can give him satisfaction. In this view, consumers’ behaviour is regarded as where they will seek information and make decisions based on their thinking and logical reasoning.
Marketing Implications Analysis:
There lie many problems and implications when marketers find out different behaviors of consumers regarding their choice and purchases (Richarme 2001). As we know, every individual is unique and different from one another, so the achievement of accurate results regarding their behavior is very difficult.
Although, similar groups of people based on different factors provide better results as people belonging to some group or culture have similar characteristics (Kotler 2007). Therefore, companies target these similar interest groups after studying their buying behavior regarding goods and services. Still, this marketing process faces implications. As the product itself can have some characteristics that are not liked by consumers or it is not a good as compared to other brands available. This can be one major implication for the company.
Moreover, pricing decisions for the company are one of the most crucial decisions. Sometimes, a product with low price is considered cheap and low quality product and its sales decline; this is negative attitude and perception that hinders the company to achieve demand and success (Boze & Patton 1995). Also, packaging a product needs to be given importance because a quality product can become unsuccessful due to its unattractive packaging. This leads to consumer getting dissatisfied and switch to substitutes. And lastly, promotion of a product provides the basic key towards a product’s success.
This is because an effective promotion which mainly include advertising tool that informs, influences and persuades consumers to buy the product. But sometimes, even the best ads cannot be successful because consumer behavior is unpredictable and requires great efforts for marketers to continuously understand this buying behavior. Also, to understand the contemporary consumer behavior, it requires more deep understanding as today the consumers are well ware of all information and they cannot be fooled (Cohen, Pham &Andrade 2008).
Therefore, the marketers need to develop and extend these consumer behavior purchase views and models in order to achieve better outcomes. This is one of the major implications of facing risks and failures due to lack of advanced researches for the felid consumer behavior and their appropriate applications. Another implication is that there have been theories and researches for consumer buying behavior but not for the consumption pattern (Olshavsky, and Grandois 1979). This is also very critical to understand to be a successful organization.
Consumption pattern will prove better and clear understanding towards consumer satisfaction and hence lead to grater demand for goods and services (Olshavsky, and Grandois 1979). Consumer decision making process provide a general idea regarding their purchasing behavior but their includes more intricate details that can influence their decisions such as the involvement of people, time and incidents arising whereas this model leads to over generalization, which becomes a critical implication in marketing (Sarkar 2008).
As with every theory, there are many problems and implications that need to be identified and finally overcame by vast researches and time spent upon hem. Similarly, the consumer behavior and decision making is also being improved as today, there is a major importance of people in every field as they are they key factors towards success of any organization, whether it is the employees or the consumers both are considered high important for the organization’s success. Marketers are very interested in how consumers come to make these decisions (Boze & Patton 1995).
Every organizations aims at achieving success and profitable results, and hence this can be achieved by effective planning regarding the product or service. Therefore, customers play the most important role in a product’s success and they are the main target of organizations. Marketers study and gather information regarding the consumers’ purchases and behaviors to identify what they buy, in what quantities and from where (Kotler 2007). All these questions can be derived by studying g consumer decision making and purchase behavior.
Once this behavior is examined, a company can decide about their marketing strategies starting from market research till the placement of final goods and services in the market. Marketers study the stimulus response consumer behavior model to find out the marketing stimuli that influence customers’ purchases (Kotler 2007). These include mainly four Ps of marketing which are product, place, price and promotion. Moreover, other factors such as economical, technological, cultural and political play a major role in determining the consumers’ choices regarding the products and services.
Marketers are highly interested to analyze and understand these factors of consumer choice in order to gain a larger market share and demand for their product by attracting large number of customers (Sarkar 2008). Marketers aim to find out how these stimuli affect consumer responses and behavior when they make purchases. Once, these stimuli are identified, then the company can develop marketing strategies according to support their product with the characteristics of consumer expectations (Kotler 2007).
Customer satisfaction is the key towards an organizations’ success and profitable relationships with consumers (Kotler 2007). Moreover, marketers want to study the overall behavior of consumers regarding purchases because they want to help consumers. For example, if a consumer wants to buy a product but due to negative attitude and perception he doesn’t, then the marketers can develop strategies which influence the buyer and change his attitude and persuade him to try the new product.
The consumer behavior plays a major role in the determination of a company’s success. Hence, in today’s highly competitive world, all organizations give major emphasis upon the study of consumer behavior regarding purchases of goods and services. This way many significant patterns can be derived which show how consumers get influenced and persuade to purchase a significant product or service. There are many external factors that influence customer’ purchasing decisions such as the culture and society and internal factors like attitudes and perceptions of consumers.
Therefore, identifying these factors can provide marketers with a basis to start their marketing strategies and target those consumers that fit in their strategy and who can be attracted towards the purchase of that good or service. Moreover, to understand this consumer behavior model, there are four perspectives on consumer behavior which are emotional, economical, cognitive and passive views. These greatly help marketers in understand this buying behavior of consumers to achieve their organizational goals and ultimately success in terms of profits.
Marketers want to gather information and understanding about this consumer choice behavior in order to make effective marketing strategies where all the four Ps of marketing are integrated with effectiveness of achieving consumer demand. Therefore, it is easy to read and gather information about this behavior, but in practical application, it becomes a difficult and crucial part for the organization. Consumer choice models require great efforts and research to fully understand consumer behavior so that products and services can be produced keeping in mind their consumers and their behavior.
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