Consumer Markets and Consumer Buying Behavior
Buying behavior is the decision processes and acts of people involved in buying and using products.
Consumer buying behavior refers to the buying behavior of ultimate consumers— those who purchase products for personal use and not for business purposes.
Understanding buying behavior requires knowledge of the consumption process and consumers‘ perceptions of product utility.
Consumer Buying Decision Process
The consumer buying decision process is a five-stage purchase decision process which includes problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase, and post-purchase evaluation.
The actual act of purchase is only one stage in the process and is not the first stage.
Not all decision processes, once initiated, lead to an ultimate purchase; the individual may terminate the process at any stage.
Not all consumer buying decisions include all five stages.
This stage occurs when a buyer becomes aware of a difference between a desired state and an actual condition.
Recognition speed can be slow or fast.
Individual may never become aware of the problem or need. Marketers may use sales personnel, advertising, and packaging to trigger recognition of needs or problems.
After the consumer becomes aware of the problem or need, he or she searches for information about products that will help resolve the problem or satisfy the need.
There are two aspects to an information search:
In the internal search, buyers first search their memories for information about products that might solve the problem.
In the external search, buyers seek information from outside sources.
An external search occurs if buyers cannot retrieve enough information from their memories for a decision.
Buyers seek information from friends, relatives, public sources, such as government reports or publications, or marketer-dominated sources of information, such as salespeople, advertising, websites, package labeling, and in-store demonstrations and displays. The Internet has become a major information source.
Repetition, a technique well known to advertisers, increases consumers‘ learning. Repetition eventually may cause wear-out, meaning consumers pay less attention to the commercial and respond to it less favorably than they did at first.
Evaluation of Alternatives
A successful information search within a product category yields a consideration set (aka evoked set), which is a group of brands that the buyer views as possible alternatives.
The consumer establishes a set of evaluative criteria, which are objective and subjective characteristics that are important to him or her.
The consumer uses these criteria to rates and ranks brands in the consideration set.
Marketers can influence consumers‘ evaluations by ―framing‖ the alternatives—that is, by the manner in which they describe the alternatives and attributes.
Purchase selection is based on the outcome of the evaluation stage and other dimensions.
Product availability, seller choice, and terms of sale may influence the final product selection.
The buyer may choose to terminate the buying decision process, in which case no purchase will be made.
After purchase, the buyer begins to evaluate the product to ascertain if the actual performance meets expected levels.
Evaluation is based on many of the same criteria used when evaluating alternatives.