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The most challenging questions for marketers are why buyers do what they do (or don’t do). Such knowledge is critical for marketers, since having a strong understanding of buyer’s behavior will shed light on what is important for the consumer and also suggest the important influences on consumer decision-making. Factors affecting consumers’ buying decisions are extremely complex. It is deeply rooted in psychology with dashes of sociology thrown in just to make things more interesting. It explains the influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends and society in general.
Consumers’ buying behavior result from deeply held values and attitudes, their perception of the world, their place in it, from common sense, from impulse or just plain take. Consumers mainly face two types of purchase decisions: ‘New Purchase’ —these purchases are very difficult to be made by consumer due to lack of confidence in decision-making; and ‘Repurchase’— consumer feels confident in making these decisions since they have previous experience in purchasing the product.
Let’s examine the process of how a consumer takes buying decision. The importance of each step might vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the purchase.
Consumers’ decision-making process begins when buyer realizes his/her unsatisfied need, want or desire. Needs may be functional or psychological in nature, and retailers are often trying to satisfy psychological needs as much as functional ones. Consumers are motivated to satisfy their needs, they will next undertake a search for information on possible solutions. Consumers’ search efforts may result in a set of options from which a choice can be made.
There might be two levels to this stage. At level one, the consumer may create a set of possible solutions to their needs (i. e. product types) while at second level the consumer may be evaluating particular products . The purchase decision may provide three possibilities to a consumer: from whom to buy, when to buy and also not to buy. In many cases the solution chosen by the consumer is the same as the product whose evaluation is the highest. A favorable post-purchase evaluation of the product leads to consumer satisfaction. If the product performs below the consumer’s expectation, then he/she will re-evaluate satisfaction with the decision, which at its extreme may result in the consumer returning the product.
When the consumer is satisfied with the product’s performance, repeat purchase is more likely Factors Influencing Consumer Decision-Making Process Consumer’s decision-making process is influenced by many factors such as cultural, social, personal and psychological. ‘Cultural factors’ exert the broadest and deepest influence on consumer behavior. It represents beliefs and, in many cases, we learn to act by interacting or observing other members of society. Consumer buying process offers two useful perspectives: the decision-making process associated with consumer buying and the factors which affect the buying process.
It is stated that the consumers buying process can be divided into personal, psychological and social and cultural factors. The ‘social factors’, such as consumer’s small groups, family, reference group, social roles and status can affect consumer responses and influence their buying behavior. ‘Personal factors’ such as age, lifecycle stage, occupation, education and economic situation, and ‘Psychological factors’ such as, motivation, perception, learning, beliefs and attitudes and personality, also play major roles in consumer decision-making process.
The ‘marketing programs’ often have a considerable amount of influence on consumers’ buying decision. It sometimes becomes irrelevant for consumers to think about the quality of the product when they are so influenced by its marketing: “Customer satisfaction is the major aim of the marketing concept”. Consumer’s buying behavior can be broadly classified into four main categories. Consumers engage in ‘Complex Buying Behavior’ when they are highly involved in a purchase and are aware of significant differences among brands.
This is usually the case when the product is expensive, bought infrequently, risky and highly self-expressive. “Dissonance-Reducing Buyer Behavior” is observed when the consumer is highly involved in a purchase but sees little difference in brands. In this case, the buyer will shop around to learn what is available but will buy fairly quickly, perhaps responding primarily to a good price or to purchase convenience. After the purchase, the consumer might experience dissonance that stems from noticing certain disquieting features or hearing favourable things about other brands.
In “Habitual Buying Behavior” products are brought under the conditions of low involvement and the absence of significant brand differences, e. g. , salt. Consumers have little involvement in this product category. “Variety Seeking Buying Behavior” involves buying situations, characterized by low involvement but significant brand differences. Here consumers often do a lot of brand switching for the sake of variety rather than dissatisfaction. Introduction to chocolates If people thought that chocolates were just restricted to kids think again.
According to a recent study conducted by a major chocolate brand in India the major consumers of chocolates apart from kids are teenagers and people between the ages of 15 – 35. Chocolates which were considered expensive once have now become affordable by one and all. Most of the chocolate brands in India produce chocolates in different sizes that are priced according to their sizes. Chocolates like Diary Milk and Five Star can be got for just ` 10. Chocolates in India are slowly and steadily substituting the mithai or traditional Indian sweets.
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