Some purchase decisions involve long, detailed processes that include extensive information search to select between competing alternatives. Some purchase decisions are made by groups such as families, households or businesses while others are made by individuals. When a purchase decision is made by a small group, such as a household, different members of the group may become involved at different stages of the decision process and may perform different roles.
For example, one person may suggest the purchase category, another may search for product-related information while yet another may physically go to the store, buy the product and transport it home. It is customary to think about the types of decision roles; such as:. For most purchase decisions, each of the decision roles must be performed, but not always by the same individual. The importance of children as influencers in a wide range of purchase contexts should never be underestimated and the phenomenon is known as pester power.
To approach the mental processes used in purchasing decisions, some authors employ the concept of the black box , which represents the cognitive and affective processes used by a consumer during a purchase decision. The decision model situates the black box in a broader environment which shows the interaction of external and internal stimuli e. The decision model assumes that purchase decisions do not occur in a vacuum. Rather, they occur in real time and are affected by other stimuli, including external environmental stimuli and the consumer's momentary situation.
The elements of the model include: interpersonal stimuli between people or intrapersonal stimuli within people , environmental stimuli and marketing stimuli. In addition, the buyer's black box includes buyer characteristics and the decision process, which influence the buyer's responses. The black box model considers the buyer's response as a result of a conscious, rational decision process, in which it is assumed that the buyer has recognized a problem, and seeks to solve it through a commercial purchase.
In practice some purchase decisions, such as those made routinely or habitually, are not driven by a strong sense of problem-solving. Such decisions are termed low-involvement and are characterized by relatively low levels of information search and evaluation activities. In contrast, high involvement decisions require a serious investment of time and effort in the search and evaluation process. High involvement products are those that carry higher levels of risk and are often expensive, infrequent purchases.
The consumer buying process is usually depicted as consisting of 5 distinct stages: . The purchase decision begins with the problem recognition stage, which occurs when the consumer identifies a need, typically defined as the difference between the consumer's current state and their desired state. The strength of the need drives the entire decision process.
Information search is the phase where consumers scan both their internal memory and external sources for information about products or brands that will potentially satisfy their need. The aim of the information search is to identify a list of options that represent realistic purchase options. Throughout the entire process, the consumer engages in a series of mental evaluations of alternatives, searching for the best value. Towards the end of the evaluation stage, consumers form a purchase intention, which may or may not translate into an actual product purchase.
The stages of the decision process normally occur in a fixed sequence. The first stage of the purchase decision process begins with problem recognition also known as category need or need arousal. This is when the consumer identifies a need, typically defined as the difference between the consumer's current state and their desired or ideal state.
A simpler way of thinking about problem recognition is that it is where the consumer decides that he or she is 'in the market' for a product or service to satisfy some need or want. The strength of the underlying need drives the entire decision process. Theorists identify three broad classes of problem-solving situation relevant for the purchase decision: . Consumers become aware of a problem in a variety of ways including: .
During the information search and evaluation stages, the consumer works through processes designed to arrive at a number of brands or products that represent viable purchase alternatives.
Typically consumers first carry out an internal search that is, a scan of memory for suitable brands. The evoked set is the set of brands that a consumer can elicit from memory and is typically a very small set of some 3- 5 alternatives. The readiness of information availability has raised the informedness of the consumers; the degree to which they know what is available in the marketplace, with precisely which attributes and at precisely what price. The fact that a consumer is aware of a brand does not necessarily mean that it is being considered as a potential purchase.
For instance, the consumer may be aware of certain brands, but not favourably disposed towards them known as the inept set. Such brands will typically be excluded from further evaluation as purchase options. For other brands, the consumer may have indifferent feelings the inert set. Traditionally, one of the main roles of advertising and promotion was to increase the likelihood that a brand name was included in the consumer's evoked set.
In practice, the consideration set has assumed greater importance in the purchase decision process because consumers are no longer totally reliant on memory. This means that a need is built for a consumer, with the product presented or advertised to them through an analytical study of the user's patterns of consumption, and their behaviors and habits. The implication for marketers is that relevant brand information should be disseminated as widely as possible and included on any forum where consumers are likely to search for product or brand information, whether traditional media or digital media channels.
Thus, marketers require a rich understanding of the typical consumer's touchpoints. Consumer evaluation can be viewed as a distinct stage. Alternatively, evaluation may occur continuously throughout the entire decision process. Consumers evaluate alternatives in terms of the functional also called utilitarian and psycho-social also called the value-expressive or the symbolic benefits offered. Brand image or brand personality is an important psycho-social attribute.
Consumers can have both positive and negative beliefs about a given brand.
Social media, on the other hand, is a two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate too. Consumers who are less knowledgeble about a category tend to evaluate a brand based on its functional characteristics.
However, when consumers become more knowledgeable, functional attributes diminish and consumers process more abstract information about the brand, notably the self-related aspects. Marketing Consumer Behavior As a sales marketer, vital that you understand and control your consumer behavior so that you make and formulate the right strategies at the right time. According to HubSpot. In the article, economist shares their theories on how to control and study how people spend their money. The psychological state of ones' mind contributes heavily to what they buy White.
Studying consumer behavior as a marketing method started in early , shifting the market's focus from economic oriented to other areas like psychology and sociology. The article also discusses the various school of thought on how to control customers spending. Later in that article, White also outlines some consumer behavior strategies from various expert economists around the world.
The marketing organization needs a deep understanding of the benefits most valued by consumers and therefore which attributes are most important in terms of the consumer's purchase decision. It also needs to monitor other brands in the customer's consideration set to optimise planning for its own brand. During the evaluation of alternatives, the consumer ranks or assesses the relative merits of different options available. No universal evaluation process is used by consumers across all-buying situations.
Social media further enables consumers to share views with their peers about the product they are looking to purchase. Thus the relevant evaluation attributes vary according to across different types of consumers and purchase contexts. For example, attributes important for evaluating a restaurant would include food quality, price, location, atmosphere, quality of service and menu selection.
Consumers, depending on their geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioural characteristics, will decide which attributes are important to them. Potential patrons seeking a hedonic dining experience may be willing to travel further distances to patronise a fine-dining venue compared to those wanting a quick meal at a more utilitarian eatery. After evaluating the different product attributes, the consumer ranks each attribute or benefit from highly important to least important. These priorities are directly related to the consumer's needs and wants.
Once the alternatives have been evaluated, the consumer firms up their resolve to proceed through to the actual purchase.
Kim et al. The increasing use of automobiles for shopping purposes is beneficial for suburban retailers. Privacy is a big issue for some consumers. Retail ecommerce performance metrics. Information and Management. The Asia Pacific recorded massive growth, especially in China.
Purchase intentions are a strong, yet imperfect predictor of sales. Sometimes purchase intentions simply do not translate into an actual purchase and this can signal a marketing problem. The extent to which purchase intentions result in actual sales is known as the sales conversion rate.
Organizations use a variety of techniques to improve conversion rates. The provision of easy credit or payment terms may encourage purchase. Sales promotions such as the opportunity to receive a premium or enter a competition may provide an incentive to buy now rather than defer purchases for a later date.
Advertising messages with a strong call-to-action are yet another device used to convert customers.