Consumer buyer behavior refers to the buying behavior of final consumers-individuals and households that buy goods and services for personal consumption. All of this final consumer combine to make up the consumer market. The American consumer market consist of more than 300 million people who consume more than $13 trillion worth of goods and services each year, making it one of the most attractive consumer markets in the world. The world consumer market consists of more than 6.6 billion people who annually consume an estimated $65 trillion worth of goods and services.
Consumers around the world vary tremendously in age, income, education level and tastes. They also buy an incredible variety of goods and services. How these diverse consumers relate with each other and with other elements of the world around them impact their choices among various products, services, and companies. To get a better sense of the importance of understanding consumer behavior, let’s look first at Harley-Davidson, maker of the nation’s top-selling heavyweight motorcycles.
Who rides these big Harley “Hogs”?
What moves them to tattoo their bodies with the Harley-Davidson emblem, abandon home and hearth for the open road, and flock to Harley rallies by the hundreds of thousands? You might be surprised, but Harley-Davidson knows very well. The Harley-Davidson example shows that many different factors affect consumer buying behavior. Buying behavior is never simple, yet understanding it is the essential task of marketing management. Here take a look about the consumer buyer decision process on the example of Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles.
The buyer decision process consists of five stages: Need Recognition, Information Search, Evaluation of Alternatives, Purchase Decision, and Post purchase Behavior. Clearly, the buying process starts long before the actual purchase and continues long after. Marketers need to focus on the entire buying process rather than on just the purchase decision.
Need recognition is the first stage of buying decision process, in which the consumers recognizes a problem or need. The buying process starts with need recognition-the buyer recognizes a problem or need.
The need can be triggered by internal stimuli when one of the person’s normal needs-hunger, thirst, sex-rises to a level high enough to become a drive. A need can be triggered by external stimuli. For example, an advertisement or a discussion with a friend might get you thinking about a buying a new motorcycles. It is not that you want a motorcycle; it is that you want a Harley; the brand is that strong. At this stage, the marketer should research consumers to find out what kinds of needs or problems arise, what brought them about, and how they led the consumers to this particular product.
Information search is the stage of buyer decision making process in which the consumer is aroused to search more information; the consumers may simply have heightened attention or may go into active information search. As interested customer may or may not search for more information. If the consumer’s drive is strong and satisfying product is near at hand, the consumer is likely to buy it then. If not, the consumer may store the need in memory or undertake an information search related to the need.
For example, supposes Harley-Davidson, it is the most famous motorcycle to each rider. Each year, in early march, more than 35,000 Harley bikers rumple through the streets of Daytona Beach, Florida, to attend the Daytona bike week celebration. Once you have decided you need a Harley, at least you will probably pay more attention to bike add, bike owned by friends, and bike conversations. Or you may actively search the Web, or talk with friends, and gather information in other ways.
The amount of searching you do will depend on the strength of your drive, the amount of information you start with, the ease of obtaining more information, the value you place on additional information and the satisfaction you get from searching. Consumers can obtain information from any several sources. These include personal sources (family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances); commercial sources (advertising, salespeople, dealer Web sites, packaging, displays); public sources ( mass media, consumer rating organizations, Internet searches); and experimental sources (handling, examining, using the product).
The relative influence of these information sources varies with the product and the buyer.
Alternative evaluation is the stage of the buyer decision process in which the customer uses information to evaluate alternative brands in the choice set. The marketers need to know about alternative evaluation-that is, how the consumer process information to arrive at brand choices. Unfortunately, consumers do not use a simple and single evaluation process in all buying situations. The consumer arrives at attitudes toward different brands through some evaluation procedure.
How consumers go about evaluating purchase alternatives depends on the individual consume and the specific buying situation. In some cases, consumers use careful calculations and logical thinking. At other times, the same consumers do little or no evaluating; instead they buy on impulse and rely on intuition. Sometimes consumer makes buying decisions on their own; sometimes they turn to friends, consumer guides, or salespeople for buying advice. For example, Harley-Davidson is your choice and the evaluations of alternatives brand are Yamaha or Kawasaki or Honda.
And suppose that you are primarily interested in four attributes-styling, operating economy, warranty and price. By this time, you have probably formed belief about how each brand rates on each attribute. Clearly, if one bike rated best on all the attributes, we could predict that you would choose it. However, Harley-Davidson makes good bikes, and to keep up with its shifting market, the company has upgraded its showrooms and sales approaches. But Harley customers are buying a lot more than just a quality bike and a smooth sales pitch. However, the brands will no doubt in vary in appeal.
You might base your buying decision on only one attribute, and your choice would be easy to predict.
Purchase decision is the buyer’s decision about which brand to purchase. Generally, the consumer’s purchase decision will be to buy the most proffered brand, but two factors can come between the purchase intention and the purchase decision. The first factor is the attitudes of others. If someone important to you thinks that you should buy the lowest-price bike, then the chances of you buying a more expensive bike are reduced.
The second factor is unexpected situational factors. The consumer may form a purchase intention based on factors such, as expected income, expected price, and expected product benefits. However, unexpected events may change the purchase intention. For example, the economy might take a turn for the worse, a close competitor might drop its price, or a friend might report being disappointed in your proffered bike. Thus, Preferences and even purchase intentions do not always result in actual purchase choice.
In this case, the average Harley customer is a 47-years-old male with a median income of $82,000. More than 12 percent of Harley purchases today are trade by women.
Post purchase behavior is the stage of the buyer decision process in which the consumer takes further action after purchase, based on other satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The marketer’s job does not end when the product is bought. After purchasing the product, the consumer will be satisfied or dissatisfied and will engage in post purchase behavior of interest of the marketers.
If the product fails short of expectation, the consumer is disappointed; if it meets expectations, the consumer is satisfied; if it exceeds expectations, the consumer delighted. This suggests that sellers should promise only what their brands can deliver so that buyers are satisfied. Almost all major purchases, however, result in cognitive dissonance, or discomfort caused by post purchase conflict. After the purchase, consumers are satisfied with the benefits of the chosen brand and are glad to avoid the drawbacks of the brands not bought.
Customer satisfaction is a key to building profitable relationships with consumers-to keeping a growing consumers and reaping their customer lifetime value. Satisfies customer buy a product again, talk favorably to others about the product, pay less attention to competing brands and advertising, and buy other producers from the company. By studying the overall buyer decision, Harley-Davidson’s marketers put top priority on understanding customers and what makes them tick. Harley customers are buying a lot more than just a quality bike and a smooth sales pitch. “Things are different on a Harley”.