Introduction: Buying Behavior of Consumer
In consumer purchase decision-making process have three stages; awareness, trial, and repeat buying. It is perhaps more accurate to describe this process as being typical of most consumer purchases. For industrial purchases, the buying process can be more complex and involve more stages. The need for the purchase invariably starts from within the buyer’s organization as some kind of problem or need. The remaining ‘buy stages’ gradually unfold, sometimes over a period of weeks or even months. This process is clearly very different from walking into a shop and saying, ‘I’ll have one of those, please’, paying, and walking out. What makes the industrial purchase decision more complex is the fact that there is rarely just one person involved. Because of the technological, production, financial, safety and quality ramifications of buying a new piece of plant or machinery, for example, a number of people have to be satisfied that the correct buying decision is being made.
A consumer is the main focus of the business. It is the duty of the business to provide value to the consumer and retain him in the business. To attract the consumers, it is important for the business to understand the needs of the consumers, their tastes and preferences and the amount they are willing to spend. It is the duty of the marketer to study the consumer behavior and the changes in it. This helps him in deciding the changes required in the marketing strategy.
What is Buying Behavior?
Buying behavior refers to the study of the individuals, organizations or groups associated with the purchase of the goods and their mental, emotional and behavioral responses associated with the purchase of the goods. It is important for the business to determine the buying behavior of the consumers beforehand so that they can formulate the marketing policy accordingly.
To understand the buying behavior, one needs to understand the buying process a consumer goes through before buying the products. The buying process involves following steps:
- Recognition of problem: This is the starting of the buying process. The potential consumer Experiences a certain problem which could be a need for which satisfaction is sought. It distinguishes between the desired state and the actual need. For example, hunger is a problem and the food is the need to curb that hunger.
- Gathering of information: Once the problem is identified, it becomes necessary to find its solution. The consumer gathers knowledge about the problem and its possible solutions. He conducts a search for the problem and the measures he can take to solve it. He can conduct an internal search i.e. memory or he can resort to the external search. Once the search is done, he comes with various alternatives through which he can solve the problem.
- Evaluation of alternatives: Once the consumer has the different alternatives present with him, he can evaluate them and choose the best one among them. He will choose that alternative which will cost him the least and yield him the maximum satisfaction.
- Purchase Decision: After getting done with the evaluation, the consumer comes up with the best alternative and takes a decision to buy it and arranges sufficient resources to acquire that alternative.
- Purchasing: Finally the alternative is purchased and put to use by the consumer.
- Post-purchase evaluation: These are the after-purchase reviews that a consumer draws after using the product. This involves how he liked the product and if the consumer was satisfied or not from the product.
Factors affecting the consumer behavior are:
The factors that affect the consumer behavior of an individual can be widely categorized into three groups:
- Psychological Factors: Every consumer has his own identity, attitude, perspective, attributes and tastes which affect his choice. These are the personality traits of the individual that make his choices and behavior differ from others. These can be understood as follows:
- Motives: The motives of an individual largely influence his choice of the goods. The motives change the needs and preferences over a period of time. A consumer might be willing to have his safety needs fulfilled first or the psychological needs followed by the love and belongingness and self- actualization needs. Thus it is as per the motives of the individual which will drive him into buying certain goods or services.
- Attitudes: The attitude of the potential consumer plays a major role in the decision making. A consumer’s attitude of negative or positive towards a product will influence him. The positive or negative attitude will drive his perception and trigger him to either by or not buy a certain product.
- Lifestyle: The lifestyle of the individual decides his buying behavior. If the person is leading a rich and lavish lifestyle, he will opt for the luxury and branded goods. On the other hand, a person with normal lifestyle will tend to move towards the goods which yield him the most satisfaction at fewer prices.
- Personality: The person’s personality helps in deciding the product which will suit him the best. A person can be adaptable, ambitious, introvert or extrovert. This will greatly help in deciding the product.
- Personal Factors: Each individual is unique. Each individual is guided by his demographic profile such as age, sex, income etc. These greatly affect the choice of the product.
- Age: Age is a big influencer while deciding the product. The choice of the person changes with the change in the age. He tends to shift to the products that yield him more comfort in the later age.
- Occupation: The occupation also helps in deciding as to what product the consumer should buy. For example, the people in business tend to buy more of business suits than the casual clothes.
- Income: If a person earns good, he will spend more on buying the goods which will suit his income level. He will opt for expensive and luxurious goods.
- Social Factors: A person stays surrounded by a number of people. He is considered to be a social animal. Thus at times, the social factors play a major role in influencing the choice of the consumer. He is largely affected by the perception of the people in the society.
- Family: The family acts as a big influencer while deciding as to what product to buy. Their decision is hugely influenced by the role they play in the family. A husband, a wife, mother etc. will tend to buy different products and as per their responsibility in the family. They all will have different choices and tastes.
- Roles and Status: The role and status one has in the society or the organization is a major decider in deciding the choice of the product to be bought. If a person is at a higher level in the organization, he is supposed to maintain the same in the choice of the products as well. He needs to maintain his rapport.
- Reference Group: A person’s choice gets influenced by the group he is in. To maintain the uniformity, the individual follows what the majority of the group does. His decisions are affected by the other members.
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