1. Consumer Behaviour.
Types of Consumer Buying Situation
2. Factors influencing a
3. Buyer Decision Making
4. Implications for
part of the marketing process is to understand why a customer or buyer makes a
purchase. Without such an understanding, businesses find it hard to respond to
the customer’s needs and wants. Marketing theory traditionally splits analysis
of buyer or customer behaviour into two broad groups for analysis – Consumer
Buyers and Industrial Buyers Consumer buyers are those who purchase items for
their personal consumption. Industrial buyers are those who purchase items on
behalf of their business or organization.
of this report is to display an understanding of the theoretical framework of
buyer behaviour, to appraise the links between marketing communications and
buyer behaviour theory and to discuss the impact of the major variables influencing
Consumer Behaviour. Types of Consumer Buying Situation
We are not
perfectly rational, sensible buyers. We do not always choose goods and services
solely on price, performance and availability. The truth is that many purchases
are influenced by a whole host of emotional reasons like esteem and image. Many
of these non-rational reasons are hidden deep in our subconscious.
research probes into the darker depths of our unconscious. Some research
presents such bizarre explanations that many marketers reject the findings.
find the real reasons why we buy what we buy. This requires time, money and
expertise. Surprisingly many other organisations don't really know exactly why
their customers buy or don't buy from them. Yet understanding customers is at
the heart of marketing. Once the reasons why people buy or don't buy are
discovered, the marketing mix can be changed to suit the buyer's needs and
behaviour involves both simple and complex mental processes. Marketers cannot
capture human nature in its entirety but we can learn a lot about customers
through research, observation and thinking. Here's Professor Theodore Levitt:
I think it is
a process of trying to think your way through why people behave in certain
ways. Or if not why, then what that behaviour is likely to be given certain
kinds of products, certain kinds of... just stop to think.
approach to purchasing a product or service is influenced by their situation -
whether they have money and how important, frequent, risky or urgent the
purchase is to them in their situation.
more of an effort, and become more involved, if the purchase is relatively
important to them - particularly if they have no previous experience of buying
such a product or service.
On the other
hand, if the item being purchased is low value and frequently bought, like a
jar of coffee, it follows that the buyer will spend less time and effort and
will have less involvement with the purchase.
frequent, inexpensive purchases generally have little risk, and require less
information. These kind of purchase situations are referred to as 'Low
Involvement Purchases'. In these situations, consumers can fall into a routine
purchasing pattern which requires little thought and even less effort.
need is stimulated - a particular brand is automatically purchased. This is
called 'Routinised Response Behaviour.' You can visit the Hall Of Fame later to
see the gurus explain how brands influence routine purchases.
an expensive high risk infrequent purchase like your first computer will
require a lot of detailed information and careful analysis before deciding
which machine. This is called 'High Involvement'. Here the consumer goes
through an extensive problem solving process - searching and collecting
information, evaluating it and eventually deciding on a particular choice.
There is a
third type of buying situation. This is where the customer has had some
experience of buying a particular type of product or service before. There is
less risk attached and less information is required. This is called 'Limited
require different marketing mixes in different buying situations. For example,
a routinised response purchase, like a can of cola, doesn't require much
supporting product literature but perhaps it needs wide distribution and easy
availability. An extensive problem solving Type of Purchase, on the other hand,
would require detailed product literature and trained sales people.
Factors influencing a consumer’s behavior
is focused upon the needs of individuals, groups and organisations. To
understand consumer buyer behaviour is to understand how the person interacts
with the marketing mix. As described by Cohen (1991), the marketing mix inputs
(or the four P's of price, place, promotion, and product) are adapted and
focused upon the consumer.
of each individual considers the product or service on offer in relation to
their own culture, attitude, previous learning, and personal perception. The
consumer then decides whether or not to purchase, where to purchase, the brand
that he or she prefers, and other choices.
are looking for prevention rather than just cure. In 1994, 32% of New
Zealanders took some form of supplement and in the latest study in 1997 this
figure has increased to 74%. Each different product market consists of buyers,
and buyers are all different in one way or another. They may differ in their
wants, resources, locations, buying attitudes and buying practices. Because buyers
have unique needs and wants, each buyer is potentially a separate market.
involvement is the perceived personal importance and interest consumers attach
to the acquisition, consumption, and disposition of a good, service, or an
idea. As their involvement increases, consumers have a greater motivation to
attend to, comprehend, and elaborate on information pertaining to the purchase.
(Mowen & Minor, 1998, p.64). In the case of low involvement, consumer views
a purchase as unimportant and regards the outcome of his or her decision as
inconsequential. Because the purchase carries a minimal degree of personal
relevance or identification, the individual feels there is little or nothing to
be gained from attending to the details of a purchase. (Hanna & Wozniak,
2001, p.290). High involvement purchases are those that are important to the
consumer either from a financial, social, or psychological point of views. The
purchase is characterised by personal relevance and identification with the
outcome. (Hanna & Wozniak, 2001, p.291). An individual anticipates a
potentially significant gain from expending time and effort in
comparison-shopping before buying. For example, a girl purchasing an expensive
ball dress has a high degree of personal identification. Therefore, a high
level of felt involvement can increase an individual’s willingness to search
for, process, and transmit information about a purchase.
important factors influencing a consumer’s involvement level are their
perceived risks. The purchase of any product involves a certain amount of risk,
which may include:
Failure – risk that the product will not perform as expected.
- Financial –
risk that the outcome will harm the consumer financially.
– risk that consists of alternative means of performing the operation or
meeting the need.
- Social –
risk friends or acquaintances will deride the purchase.
Psychological – risk that the product will lower the consumer’s self-image.
- Personal –
risk that the product will physically harm the buyer.
In a high
degree of perceived risk, decisions in this case may require significant
financial commitments, involve social or psychological implications. In the
case of low degree of perceived risk, decisions in this case may require small
or no financial commitments that involve social or psychological implications.
Consumers may already established criteria for evaluating products, services,
or brands within the choice category.
involvement situations consumers are usually more aroused and more attentive,
which expands their short-term memory capacity to its maximal extent. In low
involvement conditions, the arousal level is apt to be low, so consumers focus
relatively little memory capacity on the stimulus. (Mowen & Minor, 1998,
p.101). As involvement levels increases, consumers may allocate more capacity
to a stimulus.
Buyer Decision Making Processes
criteria are the various features a consumer looks for in response to a
particular problem. The number of evaluative criteria used by consumers depends
on the product, the consumer and the situation. ((Neal, Quester & Hawkins,
2000, p.5.3-5.4 & p.5.22) Formal Clothing In the process of evaluation, a
student will evaluate the characteristics of various formal clothing and choose
the one that is most likely to fulfil her or her needs. The evaluative criteria
of the students include tangible cost, social and psychological measures. The
importance of particular evaluative criteria differs from consumer to consumer.
The decision to purchase formal clothing is base on the following evaluative
criteria regarding the purchase of formal clothing are complex due to the level
of perceived risk involved with such a high involvement purchase. Typically,
high involvement planned purchases (such as formal clothing) follow the more
complex compensatory decision rules. A compensatory model involves students
evaluating each formal wear they view across all need criteria. In this
instance, one formal wear may compensate for weaknesses in one criterion.
consumers will go through different stages of rules, that is, they will utilise
a range of rules when evaluating alternatives with different attributes being
evaluated by different rules at each stage. There are certain criteria
regarding the purchase of formal clothing that the students is not willing to
accept at a minimum level. Style and price are two attributes that was found from
the interviews. Students are not prepared to lower their expectations;
therefore the compensatory model does not always apply in this situation. These
two criteria are more non-compensatory rules. Initially a disjunctive approach
was adopted by respondents, where they would evaluate all formal clothing that
meet their requirements concerning style. Then they would move onto an
elimination-by-aspects approach. This involved them choosing formal clothing
that rated highest on their next most important criteria (price), and then
continuing through the other attributes (brand, quality) until only one formal
wear remained. In summary, the formal clothing purchase decision involves both
compensatory and non-compensatory models depending on the stages of the evaluation.
Implications for Marketing Strategy
markets become more and more competitive, marketers need to understand very
thoroughly both the needs and desires of their potential consumers; which
product features can be combined to satisfy these needs and desires. A better
knowledge of consumer behavior can enhance the company’s understanding of
itself and its environment. Product bought by habit and low involvement
purchases such as health supplements tend to be purchased more frequently in
which provide a greater opportunity for positive reinforcement and brand
loyalty. With each successive purchase of the same brand, the chances of
consumers buying again increases until there is a high probability that the
consumer will continue to repurchase. It is important for marketing management
to identify the position of its brand in the market and as the strategic
implications of this applies to every aspect of the marketing strategy.
Companies selling low-involvement, habitual products such as health supplements
must ensure that their products are distributed extensively. This is because
the health supplements industry produces high turnover and low margin products.
Widespread distribution is important as consumers seeing the products often
will help remind them to buy, and it also keeping with the fact that the most
consumers purchase the health supplements from a particular store because of
the store’s convenience. Many health supplements companies have been successful
in their distribution of their products. Healtheries has climbed to number on
in personal products in the supermarkets, this success is attributed to the
channel switching from chemists and health food shops to super market chains.
(Marketing, 1999, p.23). Many consumers buy from stores like pharmacies and
health food stores because they need to seek more information about the health
supplements products; therefore, it is important that the retailers can provide
information for their customers. The nature of advertising and promotion also
differs according to the involvement level of the purchase. In low-involvement
decision process, consumers engage in very little external search before they
make a purchase. Therefore it is crucial that consumers immediately think of
the company’s brand when they recognise a problem.
decision-making processes of health supplements and formal clothing are
completely different. The level of involvement the consumers has in the
purchasing decision for formal clothing is high, this is because their
perceived risks such as financial and psychological risks are high as well. In
contrast, the health supplements purchase has little or no risks involved
therefore low involvement occurs in the purchase decision. A consumer simply
feels a physical problem will purchase health supplements. There is not need
for an extended information search because the consumer does not consider the
purchase important enough to was time and effort in its search. The formal
clothing purchases in another hands; involve an extensive information search.
The types of information search also have influences on the types of
advertising used. Regarding to the low-involvement health supplements purchase,
mass audiences are targeted through repetitive advertising. Marketers must try
to induce a higher level of involvement from customers through their
advertising and promotion strategies. Formal clothing advertising is much more
specialised and focused. Marketer uses persuasive advertising messages to
induce sales. And informative and detailed advertising are often used to assist
consumers in their information search. The complex nature of the evaluative
criteria of formal clothing reinforces this idea, where alternative solutions
are evaluated using numerous criteria, in contrast to health supplements are
mainly evaluated mainly on the basis of convenience and sales force’s
expertise. The decision making processes that consumers goes through is also
important as it helps the marketer to gain an understanding of the way to
increased their revenue. The ability for marketers to apply strategies that
influences the consumers’ decision is the key to successful marketing.
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Review, p.32. Hanna, N., & Wozniak, R. (2001).
2. Consumer Behaviour: An
applied approach. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Mowen, J.C., & Minor, M.
3. Consumer Behaviour (5th
Ed.). New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Neal, C., Quester, P., & Hawkins, D.
4. Floyd, K. Making
healthy profit: Business booms for naturopaths and herbalists. (1999 June 9).
5. The Independent, p.18.
Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Brown, L., & Adam, S. (1998).