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Consumer Buying Behaviour



What influences consumers to purchase products or services? The consumer buying process is a complex matter as many internal and external factors have an impact on the buying decisions of the consumer. When purchasing a product there several processes, which consumers go through. These will be discussed below.

1. Problem/Need Recognition

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

2. Information search

So we have a problem, our DVD player no longer works and we need to buy a new one. What’s the solution? Yes go out and purchase a new one, but which brand? Shall we buy the same brand as the one that blew up? Or stay clear of that? Consumer often go on some form of information search to help them through their purchase decision. Sources of information could be family, friends, neighbours who may have the product you have in mind, alternatively you may ask the sales people, or dealers, or read specialist magazines like What DVD? to help with their purchase decision. You may even actually examine the product before you decide to purchase it.

3. Evaluation of different purchase options.

So what DVD player do we purchase? Shall it be Sony, Toshiba or Bush? Consumers allocate attribute factors to certain products, almost like a point scoring system which they work out in their mind over which brand to purchase. This means that consumers know what features from the rivals will benefit them and they attach different degrees of importance to each attribute. For example sound maybe better on the Sony product and picture on the Toshiba , but picture clarity is more important to you then sound. Consumers usually have some sort of brand preference with companies as they may have had a good history with a particular brand or their friends may have had a reliable history with one, but if the decision falls between the Sony DVD or Toshiba then which one shall it be? It could be that the a review the consumer reads on the particular Toshiba product may have tipped the balance and that they will purchase that brand.

4. Purchase decision

Through the evaluation process discussed above consumers will reach their final purchase decision and they reach the final process of going through the purchase action e.g. The process of going to the shop to buy the product, which for some consumers can be as just as rewarding as actually purchasing the product. Purchase of the product can either be through the store, the web, or over the phone.

Post Purchase Behaviour

Ever have doubts about the product after you purchased it? This simply is post purchase behaviour and research shows that it is a common trait amongst purchasers of products. Manufacturers of products clearly want recent consumers to feel proud of their purchase, it is therefore just as important for manufacturers to advertise for the sake of their recent purchaser so consumers feel comfortable that they own a product from a strong and reputable organisation. This limits post purchase behaviour. i.e. You feel reassured that you own the latest advertised product.

Factors influencing the behaviour of buyers.

Consumer behaviour is affected by many uncontrollable factors. Just think, what influences you before you buy a product or service? Your friends, your upbringing, your culture, the media, a role model or influences from certain groups?

Culture is one factor that influences behaviour. Simply culture is defined as our attitudes and beliefs. But how are these attitudes and beliefs developed? As an individual growing up, a child is influenced by their parents, brothers, sister and other family member who may teach them what is wrong or right. They learn about their religion and culture, which helps them develop these opinions, attitudes and beliefs (AIO) . These factors will influence their purchase behaviour however other factors like groups of friends, or people they look up to may influence their choices of purchasing a particular product or service. Reference groups are particular groups of people some people may look up towards to that have an impact on consumer behaviour. So they can be simply a band like the Spice Girls or your immediate family members. Opinion leaders are those people that you look up to because your respect their views and judgements and these views may influence consumer decisions. So it maybe a friend who works with the IT trade who may influence your decision on what computer to buy. The economical environment also has an impact on consumer behaviour; do consumers have a secure job and a regular income to spend on goods? Marketing and advertising obviously influence consumers in trying to evoke them to purchase a particular product or service.

Peoples social status will also impact their behaviour. What is their role within society? Are they Actors? Doctors? Office worker? and mothers and fathers also? Clearly being parents affects your buying habits depending on the age of the children, the type of job may mean you need to purchase formal clothes, the income which is earned has an impact. The lifestyle of someone who earns £250000 would clearly be different from someone who earns £25000. Also characters have an influence on buying decision. Whether the person is extrovert (out going and spends on entertainment) or introvert (keeps to themselves and purchases via online or mail order) again has an impact on the types of purchases made.

Types of buying behaviour.

There are four typical types of buying behaviour based on the type of products that intends to be purchased. Complex buying behaviour is where the individual purchases a high value brand and seeks a lot of information before the purchase is made. Habitual buying behaviour is where the individual buys a product out of habit e.g. a daily newspaper, sugar or salt. Variety seeking buying behaviour is where the individual likes to shop around and experiment with different products. So an individual may shop around for different breakfast cereals because he/she wants variety in the mornings! Dissonance reducing buying behaviour is when buyer are highly involved with the purchase of the product, because the purchase is expensive or infrequent. There is little difference between existing brands an example would be buying a diamond ring, there is perceived little difference between existing diamond brand manufacturers.

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