When the degree of consumer involvement is combined with knowledge of whether consumers perceive many or few differences between brands, it becomes possible to identify four distinctive types of buying behavior. These may be summarized as:
Complex buyer behavior Often marked by consumer confusion, this behavior is demonstrated when consumers are highly involved in a purchase and perceive significant differences among brands. Marketers are presented with an opportunity to influence the purchase decision at the stage where consumers seek information about a product’s attributes and differential value. The purchase decision-making process can therefore be seen to pass through the stages of ‘awareness’, ‘trial’ and ‘repeat buying’.
Dissonance-reducing buyer behavior‘Dissonance’ describes the after-sales feelings of the consumer who believes that there has been some sort of shortfall between the purchase expectation and the purchase delivery. Dissonance-reducing behavior is demonstrated where consumers are highly involved with the purchase, perhaps because it is something expensive which they would seldom buy, and where they perceive there to be few differences between brands. In order to address this type of behavior, marketers need to concentrate their efforts on before and after-sales communications to ensure that consumers feel confident about their choice of brand.
Variety-seeking buyer behaviorthis is characterized by low consumer involvement and the perception of significant brand differences. This type of consumer will switch brands regularly within the same product category. Such behavior is not driven by dissatisfaction with the brand, but rather by a desire to sample other brands. In order to be successful in such markets, marketers need to encourage habitual buying by ensuring that target brands or products dominate the shelf space, that distribution strategies minimize stock outs, and that communications and promotional activities constantly provide reminders and reinforcements.
Habitual buyer behaviorThis behavior occurs where there is low consumer involvement and few perceived differences between brands. This behavior tends to be associated with low-cost, frequently purchased products, such as flour. Visibility and availability are the vital elements in managing habitual buyers.
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