Friday, January 31, 2020

The Buying decision process Essay Example for Free

The Buying decision process Essay Consumer behavior is term used to describe the manner of how an individual buys and assesses a product or service. It also includes the internal or the mental processes and external or social processes that might affect the individual’s conduct (Consumer Behavior 2008). Figure 1. The Buying Decision Process Source: Bowens, Kotler Makens (2003) Purchasing products like buying grocery supplies seems like a mundane activity but a buyer actually foes through several stages of decision making before eventually making the purchase. It will all start with the problem recognition. A problem arises when the current status or condition does not coincide with the preferred one (Marketing Communications 2008). The awareness of this situation can be caused by an internal stimulus, like feeling thirsty and needing to buy a drink, or an external factor, like advertising of a store for a sale (Buyer Behavior 2008). The consumer may or may not continue to the next stage unless there is a strong desire to improve the condition or fulfill the need (Principles of Marketing 2008). Once the consumer decides to fulfill the need, the stage of information search occurs. At this stage the consumer seeks out options to be able to solve the problem at hand. It involves internal and external types. Internal search usually occurs with frequently bought items. The consumer just simple remembers past positive experience with the product (Principles of Marketing 2008). The weakness of this type is when the information stored in the memory is limited or the person is having a hard time remembering, the risk of making an incorrect decision is most likely (Consumer Behavior 2008). On the other hand, the sources for the external types are personal sources like relatives and friends, public sources like reports, commercial sources like ads and lastly experiential sources acquire through experiencing the product (Buyer Behavior 2008). The challenge for any marketing team is to identify how their target audience source product information. After which make sure that the information is always available and can be easily accessed (Principles of Marketing 2008). The information obtained during the second stage will then be evaluated in the alternative evaluation stage. The information will be put into set of options or evoked set (Consumer Decision Process 2008). The evoked set is the set of brands a consumer consider while in the decision process (Marketing Communications 2008). From the second stage the consumer acquired the criteria he/she is looking for and got the brand names that meet those criteria (Consumer Behavior 2008). This process limits the choices for the consumer, making it easier for them to make the final decision of purchasing the product or getting the service. The fourth stage of the process, purchase decision, now involves the actual purchase of the product. Since the consumer now knows what to buy in this stage, he decides where, when and how to purchase the product of choice (Marketing Communications 2008). During this process, three methods of purchase may be used by the consumer: fully-planned, partially planned, and unplanned. Fully-planned purchases are purchases where the customer picks out the merchandise and brand ahead of time. This method is usually used with high risk purchases like buying a house or car. In partial purchase there is a plan to buy a product but to what specific brand is decided later on. Finally, an unplanned purchase is a spur of the moment acquisition (Consumer Decision Process 2008). Although the consumer is already thinking of buying a product, this could still be altered at the point of purchase itself. Factors that could affect it are the store surroundings, time constraint, incentives offered in the store like a sale, product availability, and budget constraint. It is then important for the seller to make sure that these events are anticipated and avoided (Principles of Marketing 2008). Stores could make sure that the stocks are sufficient, the store is clean and the personnel are trained to provide good shopping experience, promotions like sales are position at the right moment, and that products are well organized and can be easily found. Following the purchase will be the consumption of the product and the consumer will enter the last stage of the process which is post-purchase evaluation. In this stage, the consumer will assess if the purchase solved the problem identified in the first stage. He/she will determine if satisfaction was provided by the action (Consumer Behavior 2008). Otherwise, the customer will feel cognitive dissonance, which is an unpleasant feeling or tension produced by thinking about two conflicting ideas. This is a state where the consumer stresses on the thought that the other choice should have been selected (Buyer Behavior 2008). Cognitive dissonance could result to product returns, viewing the product in a negative way or not considering the product as part of the evoked set in the future (Principles of Marketing 2008). Companies can prevent this situation by providing good after sale service to customers. For example. free technical support to electronic device like computers. Other methods are follow-up calls and market research. As shown above the decision making process of consumers is actually a complex process that involves many steps and could be influenced by different factors. The whole process could take a few minutes for simple purchases but could take weeks for important purchases. It is then a good tool for businesses to understand what happens in each stage to be able to present their product favorably to the consumer.

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