Kotler (2004, p.601) defined Consumer-buying behavior as “The buying behavior consumers – individuals and house holds who buy goods and services for personal consumption.” In his definition word “consumer” referred to that person who search goods and services and then purchase it for self satisfaction. Consumer term also refers to two main consuming entities: firstly personal consumers and secondly consumers who belong to any organization. An individual or personal consumer only purchase goods and services their own consumption. So here final consumer is any individual person, while those consumers who belong to any organization purchases any product or service for their organizational use. These consumers consist of profit and non profit business, government agencies, institutions; all these organizations must purchase products, equipment and services in order to operate their firm (Kotler, 2004).
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Interaction between people based on certain emotions, moods, affection and feelings is named as consumer behavior by Peter and Olson (1993) in their study. At the same time their other definition of consumer behavior explained that those environmental events in which they exchange ideas and benefits with each other. The term “buying behavior” is referred to people’s purchase behavior in which they purchase products only for personal consumption and not for business purposes (Peter and Olson, 1993).
Most marketing researches have used Fishbein’s (1967) attitudinal model for their marketing related studies more specifically in the field of consumer behavior (Lilien et al., 1992), and this attitudinal model provides researchers a very helpful lens through the help which they can study and elaborates those factors which can explain consumer buying intention and adoption. This model states that the major dominance on behavior is always been determined by intention. Few more major factors other then intention like attitudes, individual norms, and perceived behavioral control are also been explained as connected to an appropriate set of salient behavioral, normative, and control beliefs about the behaviour. However, the biggest problem with the Fishbein’s model was that it only limits its scope to adoption level and does not go beyond to study few other vital factors which can help in explaining and prediction of consumer continuance behaviour (repurchase). So to overcome this problem Oliver in 1980s made one another model with the name of “the expectation-confirmation model” which has covered the area of post-purchase behaviour. This model is being one of the most famous models which is being used by consumer behavior researchers in their literature. Its used being more specific in those studies where researchers wanted to explain consumer satisfaction and repeat purchase. The focal point of this whole model is Satisfaction by which we mean the level of difference between consumer expectation and perceived performance. The expectation-confirmation theory states that if the performance perceived by the consumers gets up to the level of his/her expectation then confirmation is being made which will ultimately leads to satisfied consumer. Bhattacherjee (2001) in his study found that those consumers which are satisfied after the consumption of product or service will more likely to continue with the purchase of the same products.
Observing and measuring the physical actions of consumers and influencing behavior profit can also be earned (kotler, Armstrong and Cunningham, 1989).
The study of consumer behavior has evolved in early emphasis on rational choice (microeconomics and classical decision theory) to focus on apparently irrational buying needs (some motivation research) and the use of logical flow models of bounded rationality (Howard and Sheth 1989). The later school of thought has more dependency into the ‘information processing model’ (Bettman 1979). This model declares consumers as very logical thinkers who solve their problem to make purchasing decision (Holbrook and Hirschman 1980).
This approach makes the comparison of all the four major approaches for developing meaningful inter-organizational relationships and then puts it into one single solution which can help the firms to manage their inter-firm relationships (Palmatier, Dant and Grewal, 2007). In most of the B2B markets services fails to give customer satisfaction and customer loyalty over time.
Cyert (1956) was one of the first consumer behavior researcher who found that along with many purchasing agents there are number of managers are involved in buying process. He named this whole concept as ‘buying behavior’. This concept was popularized by Robinson (Faris and Win 1967). According to Webster and Wind (1972) there are five buying roles which work in every buying process. These roles are named as: users. Influencer, buyer, decider and Gatekeeper (Webster and wind, 1972). These four roles were further then categorized by Bonoma (1981) and Wilson (1998) in to initiator, analyst, and spectator.
It is also one of the major marketing sentence that final decision about product purchase is always not being made by the user but the final buyer always necessarily buys the product. Promotional activities decision can only be successful and profitable for any Marketers if he./she is aware of the accurate audience-either the buyer or the user. They must identify the person who is most likely to influence the decision. Understanding consumer behavior for any marketer is very important thing because it can help him/her in predicting the consumer reaction to different informational and environmental cues, which consequently can lead to shape their marketing strategies accordingly (kotler, 1994).
The consumer behavior influences are follows:
There are 3 main influencing aspects of consumer behavior, they are acquiring, using and disposing. The acquiring shows the way of consumer’s money spending over products, such as leasing, trading and borrowing, while Using on the other hand shows the consumers choice of consumers like some of the consumers see the high price products and some of the consumer sees the quality. The term Disposing in this context only refers to distribution, order or places a particular product (Hoyer, Deborah, 2001).
After large research conducted on consumer behavior researchers were able to understand consumer behavior very deeply, however at the same time every author has given different information about the consumer behavior that how consumer buys the products? Mutual consensus then was made on the consumer behavior process which involves four steps, named as following: need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision and post purchase behavior. These steps can be very worthy for any marketer because it can provide him/her the platform which can give him/her confidential clues for answering such questions like how to meet the buyer need and how can I develop an effective program in support of an attractive offer to the target market (Kanuk, 1990).
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Physio-pyschological field is one of the new area which has been used in the study of consumer behavior to get better understanding of this phenomena. This field of study basically refers to the study of the interaction of the body with the mind. It is also known as the study of the level of extent to which behaviour is caused by physical and chemical processes inside the human body (Morris 1996). Kroeber-Riel (1980) argued in his study that cognitive and psychological processes are the ultimate result of physiological ones. Physio-pyschological field of study holds many promising contents which can help us in elaboration and explanation of consumer behaviour. Let us take an example of the hypothalamus which is declared as central part of the brain whose functionality is mainly to control consumption (Zimbardo and Gerrig 1996). Those chemical changes in the blood and body of the human being due to the use/eat of the first product results in a blood borne which directs the brain to go for further consumption. Therefore this individual will order one more product to use/eat. All such behaviors are explained on the basis of research findings which are conducted on the functions of the hypothalamus and other relevant parts of the brain (Valenstein, et al., 1970; Zhang et al. 1994). So this field Physio-psychology makes the basis for fascinating methods which can help us in understanding consumer behaviour by ignoring their “black box” for hypothetically based variable explanations.
The buying decision process: The first step of buying process is need recognition which means that need recognition is being made by every consumer before going to the next step in this process. Internal and external stimuli of consumer behavior are really important factor for consumers buying decision. Internal stimuli in consumer behavior refers to the consumer such questions like which product should purchase, how much he/she wants to purchase, while external stimuli answer the questions like which brand among different alternative brands is more reliable and usable. The final decision of the buyer in every situation will always be based on these internal and external stimuli (Hawkins, Coney, 1998).
There are many sources of information for consumers from which they get their knowledge after need is being recognized. These information sources include personal source, commercial sources, public sources and experimental sources. Information search step in consumer buying process is also known as buying decision process before purchase of the product (Hawkins, Coney, 1998). The decision process model in the consumer market contains five stages since consumer decision was suggested as a response to a problem (Solomon, 1991), and in most cases consumers facing more than two or more alternatives in the market place which requires evaluations (Schiffman and Kanuk, 1978) The evaluation step is the only step where information collection is made possible and based on these information consumer can be pushed forward to make the final deal and purchase the product among alternatives. In the final step of post purchase evaluation consumer will check his/her satisfaction level from the product and will declare the decision about repurchase of the product. Moreover, Sproles and Kendall (1986) had defined eight further more characteristics of decision making styles, which are discussed below:
However, it is vital to find out that consumer decision process can get to many stages, however, in low involvement environment, consumer may skip or reserve stages (Kotler, 1994). For instance, in low involvement situation, consumer decision making can be a response to environmental stimuli such as in store promotion or extrinsic stimuli such as packaging. This shows that the final decision is always being made at Point-of-Purchase or inside the store. Store also serves as place which can help consumer to recognize his/her needs, evaluate products and then make purchase decisions. In most of the cases FMCGs purchase decision is made like this.
Evaluation of Alternatives: When consumer completes his/her information about various brands he/she then evaluates all the available alternatives to get right brand choice. All the brands attributes will be important for him/her by comparing them with his/her required need satisfaction. Those attributes will be of more importance to them which are more relevant to their needs. After all these evaluations consumer will finally come to some brand beliefs about, where each brand stands on each attribute. Therefore such beliefs which are being held by the consumer in his/her mind about the particular brand is called brand image. Each consumer will evaluate alternative brands based on these beliefs and preferences (Kotler, 2004).
Purchase decision: Evaluation stage belongs to the ranking of various products and then making of intention about purchase of any specific brand among different choices. In general terms consumer will go for purchasing that brand which he prefers mostly among all the different alternatives brands. While purchasing any product consumer mind is filled with two things purchase intention and purchase decision. His/her personal sources attitude and also unexpected situation can have either direct or indirect impact on consumer final buying decision about a particular brand. (Kotler, 2004).
Post purchase behavior: Purchasing the product is only the duty of the consumer but also he/she will form post purchase behavior after using any particular brand. It can be either satisfactory or dissatisfactory. The satisfaction or dissatisfaction level of the consumer about a particular product is dependent on the relationship of consumer expectation and the consumer disappointment, if it meets the consumer expectations, the consumer can get satisfied. And if it exceeds he/she is delighted (Gilly and Gelb, 1986).
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