Consumer Behaviour in The Buying Process

The process of buying a product or service typically involves several steps.

These steps may vary depending on the specific product or service being purchased and the preferences of the buyer.

However, there are generally some common steps that are followed in most buying processes.

Identify a need or want

The first step in the buying process is to recognise a need or want for a product or service.

This can be triggered by a variety of factors such as a personal desire for a particular item, a practical need for a product or service, or a problem that needs to be solved.

Practical needs: Practical considerations such as a desire to meet a specific requirement. For example, a person may need a new pair of shoes if their current pair is worn out and no longer comfortable.

Personal preferences: This could be driven by a desire for a particular brand, style, or type of product.

Social influence: Peer pressure or influence. This could be through advertising, recommendations from friends or family, or the influence of social media.

Environmental factors: For example, a person living in a cold climate may identify a need for a warm coat, or someone with a busy schedule may identify a need for a time-saving appliance.

Search for information

Once a need or want has been identified, the buyer will typically start looking for information about the product or service.

This may involve researching online, consulting with friends or experts, or visiting stores to gather more information.

Online research: A buyer can search about a product or service online, using search engines, product review websites, and the websites of the companies that sell the product or service.

Consult with friends and experts: This could involve asking for recommendations on social media or seeking out professional opinions from experts such as doctors or mechanics.

Visit stores: Visiting a physical store for a product or service allow the buyer to see and touch the product in person, and speak with store staff for more information.

Contact the company: Some buyers may prefer to contact the company that sells the product or service to ask for more information or clarification on specific aspects of the product or service.

Evaluate alternatives

After gathering information about different products or services, the buyer will typically compare and evaluate the various options available. This may involve considering factors such as price, quality, features, and reputation.

Consider price: A buyer may consider the price of a product or service and compare it to their budget and the value they expect to receive from the purchase.

Evaluate quality: Most buyers look for the quality of a product or service, including factors such as materials, durability, and performance.

Consider features: The features of a product or service can be attractive to a buyers. For example, a buyer may consider the size, color, or functionality of a product.

Read reviews: Reviews from other customers can be a deciding factor for a buyer. The reviews by other users can provide insight into the pros and cons of the product or service and help the buyer make an informed decision.

Consult with experts: Recommendations from experts in the field, such as doctors or mechanics, on the suitability of a product or service can convince the buyer.

Make a decision

Once the buyer has evaluated the various options available, they will make a decision on which product or service to purchase. This may involve choosing a single option or selecting a combination of different products or services.

Purchase

When a decision has been made, the buyer will typically make a purchase. This may involve paying for the product or service online or in a physical store, and may also involve negotiating terms and conditions of the purchase.

Post-purchase evaluation

After the purchase has been made, the buyer may evaluate their satisfaction with the product or service.

They may involve considering whether the product or service met their needs and expectations, and whether they would make a similar purchase in the future.

Customer buying behaviour can be categorised and used for company benefits.

Impulse buying

Impulse buying is a type of buying behaviour in which a person makes a purchase spontaneously, without prior planning or consideration.

An example of impulse buying might be a person who is shopping in a store and sees a display of their favourite candy bars.

The person is not hungry and had not planned to buy candy, but the candy looks particularly appealing and the person decides to buy a few on the spot.

This would be an example of impulse buying, as the person made the purchase spontaneously without prior planning or consideration.

Impulse buying is often driven by emotions such as excitement, pleasure, or the desire for instant gratification.

It can be triggered by various factors such as attractive displays, limited time offers, or the influence of others.

Companies can use a variety of techniques to try to encourage impulse buying by consumers.

Creating a sense of urgency: Push limited time offers or countdown timers to create a sense of urgency and encourage consumers to make a purchase on the spot.

Displaying products prominently: Display products in prominent locations or use eye-catching displays to catch the attention of consumers and encourage impulsive purchases.

Offering discounts or promotions on the spot: Offer discounts or promotions to encourage consumers to make a purchase on the spot.

This could include offering a discount for making a purchase on the spot or offering a free gift with purchase.

Creating a pleasant shopping experience: Create a pleasant and enjoyable shopping experience to encourage consumers to stay in the store and make impulsive purchases.

Play music, put on the AC (in summer), or offer refreshments.

Use these techniques ethically and responsibly, as overuse or manipulation can lead to negative consequences for consumers and damage the reputation of the company.

Comparison shopping

Some consumers like to compare prices and features of different products before making a decision.

Companies can take advantage of this behaviour by clearly displaying prices and features of their products and highlighting any advantages they may have over competitors.

For example, consider a company that sells mobile phones. If the company knows that many consumers like to compare prices and features before making a purchase, it may take the following actions:

Display prices prominently: Display the prices of its mobile phones prominently on its website or in its physical stores to make it easy for consumers to compare prices.

Highlight features and benefits: Highlight the features and benefits of its mobile phones, such as the camera quality, battery life, or durability, to encourage consumers to choose their products over competitors.

Offer promotions or discounts: Offer promotions or discounts to make its products more attractive to price-conscious consumers.

For example, it may offer a discount for purchasing a mobile phone with a plan, or it may offer a free accessory with the purchase of a mobile phone.

Provide detailed product information: Provide detailed product information and specifications on its website or in its stores to help consumers compare the features of its mobile phones to those of its competitors.

Through these actions, the company can make it easier for consumers to compare its products to those of its competitors and encourage them to choose its products over those of its competitors.

Brand loyalty

Some consumers are loyal to a particular brand and are more likely to make a purchase from that brand.

Companies can encourage this behaviour by building brand awareness and creating a strong brand image that inspires loyalty in consumers.

Build brand awareness: Build brand awareness by using marketing techniques such as advertising, social media, and sponsorship to get their brand in front of potential customers.

Create a strong brand image: Create a strong brand image by consistently delivering high-quality products or services, and by creating a clear and cohesive brand message that resonates with its target audience.

Foster customer loyalty: Foster customer loyalty by providing excellent customer service, offering rewards or loyalty programs, and regularly engaging with customers through channels such as social media or email marketing.

Provide a positive customer experience: Provide a positive customer experience by offering convenient and hassle-free shopping options, such as online shopping and free shipping, and by making it easy for customers to return or exchange products if necessary.

Building a strong brand image and creating a positive customer experience, will encourage brand loyalty and increase the likelihood of customers making repeated purchases.

Need-based buying

Some consumers make purchases based on a specific need or problem that they are trying to solve.

Companies can clearly identify and address the needs of their target audience and highlight how their products or services can solve those needs.

Identify the needs of their target audience: Conduct market research, analyse customer data, or gather feedback from customers to identify their needs and problems.

Clearly communicate how their products or services solve those needs: Marketing and sales materials, such as product descriptions, advertising, and customer service should clearly communicate how their products or services solve the needs of customers.

Offer solutions to common problems: Anticipate and address common problems that their target audience may have by offering solutions such as customer support, troubleshooting resources, or warranties.

Customise products or services to meet specific needs: Offer customisation options or tailor products or services to meet the specific needs of customers.

For example, a company that sells clothing may offer different sizes, styles, and colours to meet the needs of different customers.

It is important for companies to use these strategies ethically and responsibly, and to consider the needs and preferences of their target audience when making marketing and sales decisions.