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Consumer Buyer Behavior

Consumer Buyer Behavior

Consumer Buying behavior and Decision Making Process

Understanding consumer behavior is important for any organization before launching a product. If the organization failed to analyse how a customer will respond to a particular product, the company will face losses. Consumer behavior is very complex because each consumer has different mind and attitude towards purchase, consumption and disposal of product (Solomon, 2009). Understanding the theories and concepts of consumer behavior helps to market the product or services successfully. Moreover, studying consumer behavior helps in many aspects. As there is constant change in the living standards, trend, fashion and change in technology; consumer’s attitude towards the purchase of product varies (Kumar, 2004). Understanding these factors is of utmost importance because the marketing of product are largely dependent on these factors. Thus, consumer behavior serves as a successful tool for marketers in meeting their sales objectives.

This essay discusses the value to marketers of understanding the importance of, and applying consumer behavior concepts and theories.

Consumer Behavior

Consumer Behavior or the Buyer Behavior is referred to the behavior that is displayed by the individual while they are buying, consuming or disposing any particular product or services. These behaviors can be affected by multiple factors. Moreover, it also involves search for a product, evaluation of product where the consumer evaluate different features, purchase and consumption of product. Later the post purchase behavior of product is studied which shows the consumer satisfaction or dissatisfaction where it involves disposal of product (Solomon, 2009).

The customers while buying a product goes through many steps. The study of consumer behavior helps to understand how the buying decision is made and how they look for a product. Moreover, the understanding consumer behavior also helps marketers to know the what, where, when, how and why of the consumption of product consumption (Kumar, 2004). These help marketers or organizations to know the reason behind the purchase of product by consumers and how it satisfies them. Among other factors, the basic needs like shelter and hunger along with craving for psychological fulfillment tends consumer to buy a certain product or services.

Importance of Consumer Behavior to business managers

The main purpose behind marketing a product is to satisfy demands and wants of the Consumers. Study of consumer behavior helps to achieve this purpose. As consumers are the most important person for marketer or sales person, therefore it is important for them to consider the likes and dislikes the consumers so that they can provide them with the goods and services accordingly (Solomon, 2009). The more careful analysis helps in more exact prediction about the behavior of consumers of any product or services. The study of consumer behaviors helps business manager, sales person and marketers in the following way.

  • To design the best possible product or service that fully satisfies consumer’s needs and demands.
  • To decide where the service or product would be made available for easy access of consumers.
  • To decide the price at which the consumers would be ready to buy that product or service.
  • To find out the best method of promotion that will prove to be effective to attract customers to buy a product.
  • To understand why, when, how, what and other factors that influence buying decision of the consumers.

Importance of Consumer Behavior to Marketers

It is important for marketers to study consumer behavior. It is important for them to know consumers as individual or groups opt for, purchase, consumer or dispose products and services and how they share their experience to satisfy their wants or needs (Solomon, 2009). This helps marketers to investigate and understand the way in which consumers behave so that they can position their products to specific group of people or targeted individuals.

In regard to the marketer’s view point, they assume that the basic purpose of marketing is to sell goods and services to more people so that more profit could be made. This principle of making profits is heavily applied by almost all marketers. Earlier, the marketers were successful in accomplishing their purpose. However, today, as the consumers are more aware about the use of product and other information of the product, it is not easy to sell or attract customer to buy the product (Kumar, 2004). Thus, in order to sell a product or service or to convince consumers to buy product, the marketers have to undergo through proper research to win them over.

The following are some of the points discussed that explains the value to marketers of understanding and applying consumer behavior concepts and theories.

  • To understand Buying Behavior of consumers
  • To create and retain customers though online stores
  • To Understand the factors influencing Consumer’s buying Behavior
  • To understand the consumer’s decision to dispose a product or services
  • To increase the knowledge of sales person influence consumer to buy product
  • To help marketers to sale of product and create focused marketing strategies

1. To understand Buying Behavior of consumers

The study of consumer behavior helps marketers to recognize and forecast the purchase behavior of the consumers while they are purchasing a product. The study of consumer behavior helps the marketers not only to understand what consumer’s purchase, but helps to understand why they purchase it (Kumar, 2004). Moreover, other questions like how, where and when they purchase it are also answered. The consumption and the reasons behind disposition of that particular product or services help marketers to be fully aware of the product that is marketed. The consumer behavior studies also help marketers to understand the post purchase behavior of the consumers. Thus, the marketers become fully aware about every phase of consumption process i.e., pre-purchase behavior, behavior during purchase and post purchase behavior. Many studies in the past shows that each consumer behaves differently for a product i.e., they buy the product for different reasons, pays different prices, used the product differently and have different emotional attachments with the product (Solomon, 2009).

2. To create and retain customers though online stores

Professor Theodore Levitt says that consumer behavior is of most importance to marketers in business studies as the main aim is to create and retain customers (Kumar, 2004). If the consumers are satisfied with the product, he or she will buy the same product again. Therefore, the product should be marketed by markers in such a way that convince customer to buy the product. Thus, creating customer and the retaining those customers are important. These can be done through understanding and paying close attention towards the consumer’s behavior while making purchase decision or buying a product in market place. Moreover, the information published on the websites largely influence the customer’s buying behavior. Such information on published sources arouse consumer to buy a product or service. Moreover, updating such information will help the consumer to retain to a product or re try the product if the product has dissatisfied them (Solomon, 2009).

3. To understand the factors influencing Consumer’s buying Behavior

It is important for marketers to consider the factors that affect the buying behavior of consumer before entering the market. There are many factors that can influence the purchase decision of consumers such as social influence, cultural influences, psychological factors and personal factors (Super Professeur, 2011). Understanding these factors helps marketers to market the product on right time to the right consumers. For example, if marketer is marketing a product which is Halal. The marketers first consider all the factors that can influence consumers to buy Halal products, where they can target specific areas where Halal food is more sold.

The marketers need to pay attention to cultural influences such as religion, values and norms of the people or societies targeted and lifestyle of the targeted consumers. The marketers can propose different strategies that convince the targeted consumers to buy marketed products or services.

Moreover, the marketers should be ascertain the factors that influence and affects purchase decision of consumers (Solomon, 2009). If the marketers failed to understand the factors that might influence consumers, they will fail to convince the consumer to purchase that product or will fail to meet the demands of consumers. Some variables cannot be directly observed (Super Professeur, 2011). In such case, thorough understanding of concepts and theories of consumer behavior helps marketers to predict the consumer’s buying behavior to a reasonable extent. Thus, understanding consumer’s behavior to buy a product is complex and requires marketers to continuously understand and apply various concepts and theories for successful marketing.

4. To increase the knowledge of sales person influence consumer to buy product

All the products and services marketed revolve around the behavior of consumers that how they will respond to them. Effective marketing of a product by sales people may help to deliver right product to right people. Consumer behavior deals with the knowledge of what the consumers need and want to buy and what goods and services are available to satisfy their needs. Thus, consumer behavior deals with particularly with the behavior of people i.e., consumers.  It is important for sales person to be fully aware of the customer’s requirement so that he or she could clearly communicate the benefits of the product to the customers. Moreover, the sales person by understanding consumer’s demand and need for a product can sell goods that are most closely related to their requirement. Besides understanding consumer behavior, the sales person should also have command over their spoken language. This is because any miscommunication could harm brand reputation. Moreover, if the consumers have more knowledge about the product than the sales person, the sales might fail to meet their targets. Thus, analysing consumer’s behavior and knowledge for effective marketing of products by sales people are important. The sales people must be fully aware of the consumer’s behavior in different situations so that they could help them in meeting their demands and satisfaction (Solomon, 2009).

5. To understand the consumer’s decision to dispose a product or services

Disposal of product involves throwing away of products by the consumers (Solomon, 2009). This behavior of consumer is very complex and requires more importance by the marketers. Understanding the consumer’s behavior about how and when consumers dispose a product, the marketers or the companies can position themselves so that this behavior could be limited (Raghavan, 2010).

If the product or services that have failed to deliver required or expected satisfaction by the consumers, the product is disposed by the customers. For this, some marketers track the follow up from the consumers so that they can gauge the reason behind failure of the product. Moreover, in order to retain customers, some marketers or organizations offer customers with services like exchange of product, money back guarantee etc. Although, these tools are helpful to influence post purchase behavior of consumers to some extent.

The method of disposition varies transversely from product to product. Some of the factors that lead to consumer’s behavior to dispose a product include psychological characteristics, situational factors or the intrinsic factors of product. The psychological characteristics include attitude, mood, emotion, social class, social conscience, perception etc. The situational factors such as urgency, functional use, fashion change etc. and intrinsic factors such as product style, durability, reliability, adaptability, replacement cost, colour, size etc. can lead to consumer’s decision to dispose a product (Rao, 2011).

For example, the personal computers sold previously were largely demanded by consumers. However, due to change in size, advancing technology, affordability, convenience; most people have switched to laptops and mobiles with operating systems have disposed personal computers to a greater extent.

6. To help marketers to optimize sale of product and create focused marketing strategies

The theories and concepts of Consumer behavior help marketers to optimize their sales and to create efficient marketing strategies. Moreover, these theories provides marketers with information on the consumer’s behavior to spend money, likely causes that incline them to spend more money on a product, and these two information help to plan strategies that should be practiced by the marketers for successful marketing of a product (Goessl, 2011). Studying different consumer behavior theories helps to understand the different choices that consumers make to buy a product. There are some factors that need to be carefully analysed by the marketers which help them to increase their sales and develop effective marketing strategies. These factors are discussed as follows:

Consumer’s rational behavior: It is foremost important for a marketer to understand the situations where consumers behave rationally. Many consumer behavior theories suggest that the consumers want to get maximum benefit and satisfaction from the product by spending minimum amount of money. This shows that consumers do not spend all their money to buy a product and keeps a certain amount of money as their savings. However, on the other hand, the consumers having limited money spend all their money on purchase of their basic needs such as shelter, food and clothing. Thus, the marketer must carefully analyse these two situations of consumers before marketing a product or services (WiseGEEK, n.d.).

Consumer’s taste and preferences: Understanding consumer taste and preferences helps marketers to revamp their product so that they could meet customer satisfaction. These factors may change from time to time. The change in consumer’s behavior affecting by these factors should be carefully monitored. The marketers need carefully understand the consumer’s interest in the products by breaking down the targeted consumers into demographics, like age, occupation and location as they contribute investigating information about consumer preferences.

Price of Products: Prices of products are a widely discussed factor in consumer behavior theories. The theories suggest that marketers should keep their prices low without affecting the quality to attract consumers. This is because consumers go mostly for products that are of low price but satisfies their demand (Open Learning World, 2011).

Features of Product: Increased number of features offered by the product tends to increase the price of products. In such case, consumers go for added features in a product at affordable price. Therefore, the markers design their products in such a way that the product gives maximum value or features to consumers at affordable price (Goessl, 2011)

Consumer’s knowledge about a product: The marketer must know to what extent the consumers have knowledge about a product. Mostly, consumers select products with which they are familiar with. For example, if the consumers are aware of the health effects of eating high fat food or fast food, marketing of such a product to health conscious consumer will end up in failure.

The Components of the Decision-Making Process

  1. Problem recognition.
    ‘ This is the first stage when the buyer recognizes a problem or need. The need can be triggered by internal or external stimuli. Internal stimuli arises from an individual’s average need while external need arises from the environment in which we live in. (Armstrong and Kotler, 2013). This consumer’s need began when her old laptop broke down and as a result she decided it was time for her to replace it.
  2. Information Research.
    ‘ As the potential buyer interest as been triggered by the breakdown of her laptop she now has a drive to search for and gather information about the possible products that could replace it. This stage is usually one of the longest processes as information can be gathered from a range of different sources. It is also an extremely important stage as this is when the consumer’s opinion formulation often begins.
    ‘ Research shows that over twice as many seniors rely on younger generations for advice, education and help with technology. This is certainly the case for this customer as she is not familiar with the advancement in technology she starts with her personal source which is usually the most effective and influential and draws on the opinions and experiences of younger friends and family members. (Davis, 2013)
    ‘ However most of her personal source would have gather much of their own knowledge from commercial sources such as advertisement, online sources and salespersons which information about the product were provided from the company’s market.
    ‘ Public source will also have an influence as the elderly rely more heavily on newspaper, television and salespersons for marketing information than other generation grouping (Martin, 2013).
  3. Information Evaluation.
    ‘ After gathering relevant information the next step is to evaluate the various alternatives available in the market. Figure 3, shows the current desktops and laptops in the market and each brand’s personality ranking.
    ‘ The consumer will try to choose the best option available, while taking into consideration her need, taste and budget. This consumer particularly required a device that is of ease of use but can still perform all basic roles of a laptop. An affordable option is also vital as she is now a retiree but will be using her savings for this purchase. She also wanted a reliable brand that will be durable and last the upcoming years.

Figure 3 Desktops and laptops brand’s personality.

Source: Mintel (2014)

  1. Purchase Decision.
    ‘ After the brand evaluation stage, the intention to buy a specific brand will be made in this stage. This could generally be the buyer most preferred brand but two factors can come in between these processes, the attitude of others and an unexpected situational factor.
    ‘ This buyer has made a decision to go with the brand Hewlett-Packard, a highly used brand which has also earned the strongest amount of commitment from over-55s, who trust it and much prefer it to newer brands (Munson, 2014)
    ‘ She found the ‘HP 15-r101na Laptop’ most suited to her as the laptop cost a reasonable price of ??299 while still meeting all her desired needs.
  2. Post purchase Evaluation
    ‘ This is the final stage and occurs after the product has been the purchased and the customer analysis whether the product was useful and fulfilled his/her needs.
    ‘ This customer was highly satisfied with her overall experience when purchasing her new HP laptop. The staff at Argos provided her with excellent service and they were very friendly and informative throughout the whole purchase process, offering her with great advice and deals.
    ‘ She has also received a two year laptop warranty from the manufacturer, which has given her a great sense of relief and security.
    ‘ Additionally she is greatly satisfied with the specific laptop she chose to buy; she has found it easy to manoeuvre and is currently enjoying using it. She feels pleased with her purchase.

Factors Affecting Consumer Buying Behavior

Consumer decision making is essentially a problem solving process. Most customers, whether individual customers or organizational buyers, go through similar mental processes in deciding which products and brands to buy. The more marketers know about the factors affecting their customers buying behavior the greater their ability to design attractive product or service offerings to define and target meaningful market segments, and to develop marketing programs to fit the concerns and desires of those segments. The factors affecting consumer behavior are as follows:-

  1. Cultural Factors: – Cultural factors exert the broadest and deepest influence on consumer behavior. It has a significant impact on the consumer buying behavior. Cultural factors consist of culture, subculture and social class.

(A) Culture: – Culture is the most basic cause of a person’s wants and behavior. It comprises the basic values, perceptions, wants and behaviors that person learns continuously in society. Cultural values and beliefs tend to be relatively stable over time, but they can change from one generation to the next in response to changing conditions in society. For example, the baby boomers born in the United States between 1946 and 1960 have somewhat different values and behavior patterns from those of their parents. Culture is an integral part of the hospitality and travel industry because it determines our lifestyle. Marketers are always trying to spot cultural shifts which might point the new products that might be wanted by customers or to increase demand. For example, the cultural shift towards greater concern about health and fitness has created opportunities which resulted in many hotels adding exercise rooms or health clubs so that their guest can have access to it. And now companies are servicing customers who wish to buy low calorie food like McDonalds, Burger king and providing activity and health related holidays etc. Similarly, the increased desire for leisure time has resulted in increased demand for convenience products and services such as microwave ovens, ready meals and direct marketing service businesses such as telephone banking and insurance.

(B) Subculture: – Each culture contains smaller subculture or groups of people with shared value systems based on common life experiences and situations. Many subcultures make up important market segments and marketers often design products and marketing programs according to their needs. For example, the average American family now has two wage earners who probably share decisions relation to vacations, car, financial instruments and major furniture items. In contrast, Korean -Americans as a subculture in America are much more inclined to favour the male in almost all decisions, including food. Now the American markets becoming more diverse so the companies are seeking managers who understand subcultures

Cultural differences across countries create both problems and opportunities for international marketers. Although consumers in different countries may have some things in common their value, attitudes, tastes etc. but still it is a difficult task for the marketers to understand consumer behavior outside their home country. Failing to understand the differences in customs and behaviors of other country can be fall down of company and its product at international level. For example, Burger king went to India without understanding the Indian culture which forced them to close down and same thing happened to KFC when they went to India. So the marketers must decide on the degree to which they will adapt their products and marketing programs to meet the unique need of consumer in various markets.

(2) Social Factors: – Almost every society has some form social class structure. Every society has its status groupings largely based on similarities in income, education and occupation. Social classes are relatively permanent and ordered divisions in a society whose members shares similar values, interests and behaviors. Researchers have invented the five typical social class are upper, upper-middle, and middle, working and lower. Social class in nations like USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is not indicated by a single factor such as income but it is measured by combination of income, occupation, education wealth and other variables. Social classes show distinct product and brand preferences in areas such as food, travel and leisure activity. Some marketers focus on only one class. For example, Marriott Hotel in States targets only upper class and the restaurants in the downtown of Los Angles focus on middle class.

(A) Groups: – An individual’s attitudes and behavior are influenced by many small groups. These include a variety of groups that effect consumer behavior through normative compliance, value expressed influence and informational influence. Reference groups serve as direct or indirect point of comparison or reference in the forming of a person’s attitude and behavior. Marketers try to identify the reference groups of their target market. They influence consumers in many ways like they expose the person to new behaviors and lifestyles; they influence the person’s attitudes and self-concept.


In a nutshell, consumer behavior theories and concepts are of most importance to the sales people or the marketers. As products are made to cater consumer’s needs and demands, therefore, the products should be carefully marketed for the successful achievements of organizational goals. The study of consumer behavior helps them in analyzing different factors that has influence on the buying decision of the consumers. If the marketers failed to understand these factors, they would not meet their targets.

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