Consumer Buying Process
The term consumer buying behavior has been defined as “the process by which individuals or groups choose, buy, use, or dispose of products or services to satisfy their needs and desires”.
In the beginning, consumer behavior was called “buyer behavior”, which emphasized the interaction between the consumers and the retailers during the purchase. Marketers have come to realize that consumer behavior is not just concerned with the purchase of goods or services, it studies the after-sale behavior of customers as well, in fact, it is an ongoing process in marketing.
It is also important to consider how satisfied consumers were with the purchase and how they rated it based on the perceived benefits.
Individuals or groups, such as a family, can also make buying decisions for goods and services. The purchase decision is a process and a number of people work together to influence the purchase decision in such an instance. Each individual may play a part in the decision-making process.
Blackwell, Miniard, and Engel had outlined five roles in the consumer buying process. Each role can be filled by children, parents, or other members of a buying center.
The users are usually the ones who have the need for goods and services, and approach suppliers for buy. Sometimes, however, the top management or engineering department may feel the need. Initiators are those who initiate or start the buying process.
A gatekeeper acts as a filter for information. The gatekeeper is the person the marketer must pass through before reaching the buying decision-makers. It is crucial to understand the role of the gatekeeper in developing industrial marketing strategies and the approach of salespeople. They only allow information that is favorable to their opinions to flow to decision-makers.
The person who attempts to persuade others within the group regarding the outcome of the buying decision. Influencers often gather information and try to impose their criteria on the buying process and final purchase decisions.
The marketing person should be aware of who the decision-makers are among the members and work with them to establish and maintain contact. Sometimes the organization’s formal structure can be misleading and the decision may not be made in the purchasing department.
The person is responsible for the transaction. The buyer contacts the supplier and visits the store to make the payment and collect goods and services.
The people or groups that use the product are called users. One or more users often act as an initiator to improve the product or their production process. They also have responsibility for the implementation of what is bought.
Many users have specific specifications for products and the way they want them to work. A professor at your school might want to adopt an electronic book in order to integrate it into her or his online course.
Consumer Purchase Decision Making Process
The buyer decision process includes five stages: need recognition, information search, evaluations of options, purchase decision, and after-purchase behavior. The consumer buying process begins long before the purchase is actually made and continues for many years after that.
Marketers must focus on the whole consumer buying process and not just the purchase decision. Every purchase is considered by the consumer. Buyers may move quickly or slowly through the buying process.
For more routine purchases, buyers may skip some or reverse certain stages. It all depends on the buyer’s nature, the product, and the buying circumstances. If a person buys a toothpaste brand they know well, they will be able to recognize the need and make a purchase decision without having to search for information or evaluate it.
The starting point of any purchase decision is need arousal. These are factors that an individual experiences when they perceive a deprival of a certain thing and need them to be in a normal state of mind. This can be both internal or external and influences consumers. Normally consumers identify their deprived needs however, sometimes marketers can generate needs for consumer as well.
Displays, special offers in supermarkets, or advertisements while shopping could all trigger a need. It is crucial to know what connects the customer with the product brand or product class. Also, what makes them feel satisfied by purchasing the brand or product.
The first step towards evaluating the Consumer Decision Making Process is to determine what the customer wants. Marketing decisions can be supported by determining the needs and wants of the target market.
The information search stage allows the consumer to find information about the product to help them make a purchase decision. The consumer can also search on the Internet for product information, even if they don’t intend to purchase online at this stage.
A consumer may look at information such as price, origin, taste, and brand names to find the best value and lowest risk. Perceived Risk refers to the consumer’s anxiety or uncertainty about the outcome of a purchase decision.
This is especially true if the product is expensive or complex like a car. The goal of consumers is to decrease their anxiety by gathering more information or seeking out the opinions of peers such as family members, friends, or salespeople.
This stage is where the perceived risk of the product is determined. It will also affect the place the product is bought. If the perceived risk of a product is too high and makes it difficult for others to choose the product, then the consumer may decide to buy the product online.
The information search is an important step as it provides the consumer with all the information necessary to make a decision about whether or not to shop online. The product, perceived risk, and the best option for the consumer all play a part in this decision. With the explosion of the internet, this stage has become more important.
Online searches can be converted into purchases if retailers target the right consumers. Marketers can also use offline and online methods. The purchasers can search for information online, but use offline methods to purchase.
Evaluation of Alternatives
The third stage, alternative evaluation is where the consumer evaluates both the intrinsic attributes (ingredients and color) as well as the extrinsic attributes of alternative products (brand quality, origin country, price). The reason for purchasing and individual characteristics will determine the criteria.
When buying a gift for someone close to them, for example, they may be willing to pay more for a product with a positive reputation or from a country that is popular. When buying a gift for someone special, the consumer’s evaluation of alternative options may be more thorough than when they are purchasing a product to use for everyday purposes.
The evaluations from the previous stage will guide the fourth stage, which is the purchase decision. The final purchase decision will be influenced by the opinions of others as well. This is the stage where the buyer will make the final purchase decision.
The final stage of the purchase decision is the post-purchase evaluation. This stage allows the consumer to evaluate their purchase and determine if it has met their expectations. This will enable them to determine if their anxiety or uncertainty about the outcome of a purchase helped them make rational decisions.
If everything went smoothly, you may be able to make a second purchase. If the decision was not made well, the process of purchasing the product again will not be repeated. Consumers are more inclined to change brands if they are not satisfied with a purchase.
Cognitive dissonance is a condition that occurs after buying expensive and luxurious products. Consumers are happy with the brand they have chosen and will avoid a few drawbacks come along with the brand. Every purchase comes with compromises.
Consumers feel uncomfortable about the potential drawbacks of the brand chosen and the possibility of losing the benefits of brands they have not yet purchased. Consumers feel some dissonance after every purchase.
Why is customer satisfaction so important? Satisfying customers is key to building long-lasting relationships with them. It also helps in keeping them coming back for more. Customers who are satisfied with a product will purchase it again, tell others about it, pay less attention to competitors and even buy more products from the company.
Marketers go beyond satisfying customers’ expectations. They want to delight them. Unsatisfied consumers respond differently. Bad word of mouth travels faster than good words. It can quickly affect consumer perceptions of a company or its products. Companies cannot wait for unhappy customers to complain.
Customers who are unhappy with their service will not tell companies about it. A company must regularly measure customer satisfaction. Customers should be encouraged to complain. This will allow the company to learn about its strengths and weaknesses, as well as how it can improve.
Marketers may be able to find ways to assist consumers in their buyer decision process by studying it. Marketing might use advertising messages to trigger the desire and show how the product solves customer problems. Marketers must change consumer attitudes or the product if customers aren’t aware of the product.