Consumer Buying Process

Introduction

When making purchase decisions, consumers go through a number of stages. However, these stages depend on the type of product being purchased. Koklic and Vida (2011, p.634) asserts that making buying decisions differs with regard to their importance and degree of complexity. There are two main types of purchases that consumers undertake in their consumption process. These purchases are classified depending on whether the buying process is a deed based on a habit or a decision making process. McDonald (p.287) categorizes the purchase processes into two categories which include high-involvement purchases and low-involvement purchases. High involvement purchases relate to purchase of properties such as a home, car or investing in stock.

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The decision making process for high-involvement purchases is complex. This arises from the fact that it is a risky and an occasional activity whereby a large amount of money is involved. High-involvement purchases are also very important in a customer’s consumption patterns. This arises from the fact that they contribute towards achievement of their ego and social needs. On the other hand, low involvement purchases are mainly undertaken through an impulsive decision. In order to understand the consumer decision making process, this paper evaluates the decision making process with regard to purchase of a property in London. The author compares it with the decision making process when buying a bottle of soft drink. Additionally, the author also describes how marketers of low-involvement products benefit from the knowledge of the two decision making processes.

Decision making process of a high-involvement purchase

Purchasing a property is categorized as high-involvement purchase. Therefore, when making a decision to purchase a property in London, there are a number of stages that will be taken into consideration. These stages are discussed below.

Need recognition

This is the first stage in the decision making process. In this stage, a consumer identifies the need to purchase a particular product. According to Lamb, Hair and McDaniel (2011, p.190), the need to purchase a product is stimulated by an imbalance between the consumer’s expected and actual state. Lamb, Hair and McDaniel (2011, p.190) further asserts that the need to purchase a property can either be triggered by an external or internal stimulus. Internal stimuli may arise from a customer’s personal experiences while external stimuli result from outside sources.

There are various sources of external stimuli. For example, in their operation, businesses undertake aggressive advertising and promotion so as to stimulate the customers to recognize the need to purchase a certain product. With regard to properties, marketers conduct a market surveys in an effort to identify the prevailing market trends. As a result, they are able to develop products that meet the needs of the customers. In its operation, IKEA which is a renowned home furnishing company evaluates the market trends determine the customers preferences with regard to home and home appliances. Findings of a market research conducted by IKEA revealed that customers are increasingly demanding stylish homes. As a result, the firm is able to produce properties that meet the customers’ demands.

Additionally, an outside source of stimuli may be as a result of a recommendation by another person to purchase a particular property. In this case, the need to purchase a property in London arose from a recommendation by my uncle to use the gift of the money as a deposit for a mortgage transaction. Additionally, the need to purchase the property was enhanced by recognition of unfulfilled want with regard to owning a home. As a consumer, owning a home is one my core investment decision that I intend to achieve in the future.

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Information search

Upon recognition of the need to purchase the property, the next stage in the consumer decision making process entails conducting comprehensive search for information regarding the property (Abramson & Brewer, 2011, p. 1). This will aid in identification of the various alternatives that are available in the market. Over the past few decades, the property market in the UK has undergone a significant growth. As a result, there are a large number of options that investors can select from. When searching for information, consumers can consider internal and external sources or information. Internal sources of information entail information possessed by a consumer regarding a particular product as a result of past experience. On the other heard, external sources of information entails sourcing for information from the external environment. Some of the sources that a consumer can consider include sourcing for information from neighbors, friends and family. On the other hand, a consumer can consider commercial sources such as from dealers, advertisements and sales people (Lomax, 2008, p.121).

Considering the fact that purchasing a property is a risky and costly purchase involvement, I will undertake a comprehensive and purposeful search for information. The need for information search is also enhanced by the fact that I currently do not have knowledge regarding the purchase of properties. When seeking information about properties in London, I will consider sourcing it from reputable property magazines in UK. One of the magazines that I will consider is The Home of Premium Property magazine. The magazine gives a wide range of information regarding properties for sale such as home in London. Additionally, I will also consider searching for information from reputable property dealers in London. Considering the current growth in Information Technology (IT), I will consider searching for information over the internet. The internet will act as a rich source of information on homes for sale in the UK. This will aid in gathering a wide range of information which is necessary in making an optimal purchase decision.

Evaluation of alternatives

Upon gathering the necessary information regarding a particular product either actively or passively, consumers should evaluate the various alternatives presented in the market (Lomax, 2008, p. 121). The objective of evaluating the alternatives is to determine the most appropriate home to select. Additionally, evaluating the alternatives is also aimed at identifying the property which will deliver the desired benefits. Some of the factors that I will consider during the evaluation phase include the quality and price of the home. With regard to quality, I will evaluate the location of the home, the basic utilities available and ease of accessing them. I will also evaluate whether the home is well designed and fitted with stylish appliances in accordance with the current market trends. Another factor that I will consider in evaluating the alternatives is the neighborhood. Consideration of these factors will aid in the determination of whether the property represents value for money upon purchase. In summary, the objective of conducting an evaluation on the various alternatives is to effectively zero-in on the most appropriate property. To ensure effective selection, I will consider assigning a score on the various evaluation factors considered. The home with the highest score will be selected for purchase.

Purchase decision

According to Iman (n.d, p.140), the purchase decision is dependent on the result of the evalution phase. After conducting a comprehensive evaluation on the various alternatives regarding properties in London, it will be possible to make a purchase decision. However, the probability of executing a purchase decision will be determined by the degree of awareness, interest and desire to purchase the property. Upon making a purchase decision, there are a number of transactions that will follow. These entail conducting negotiations with the sellers and finalizing the purchase. After the sale, both the buyer and the seller will be required to sign the necessary purchase documents and arrange how the money will be transferred. Upon delivery of the finances, the owner will be required to transfer the property to the buyer.

Post-purchase evaluation

According to McDonald (1998, p.287), consumers purchase products with the objective of maximizing their level of utility upon consumption. Post-purchase evaluation entails determining whether the product purchased led to attainment of the desired level of satisfaction. After purchasing the home, I will evaluate the experience attained in order to determine whether the outcome is as it was expected. When selling products, markets promise buyers different benefits associate with consumption of their products. As the buyer, I will evaluate the various features and benefits of the home and compare them with the actual outcome. This will aid in identifying any discrepancies. According to Iman (n.d, p.141), discrepancies in the product may result into buyers complaining and even seeking legal redress.

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Comparison of the decision making process with a low-involvement purchase

The decision making process when buying a bottle of soft drink is a low-involvement purchase decision. According to Laetitia & Huang (2008,p.32), purchasing a bottle of soft drink is considered to be a routine response behavior. As a result, not all the stages in the buying process are taken into consideration. Similar to high-involvement purchases, the need to purchase a soft drink may arise from internal and external stimuli. The internal stimuli may arise from one feeling thirsty while the external source may be as a result of an advertisement on the soft drink.

Low-involvement purchases are less risky compared to high-involvement purchases. Purchasing high-involvement products such as a home is regarded as an extended problem-solving. Additionally, purchasing high-involvement products is risky since a considerable amount of money is involved. Therefore, making a poor decision may result into the buyer incurring a significant loss. As a result, a considerable duration is taken when searching for product information.

Considering the fact that purchasing a soft drink is a routine response behavior, there will be no need to search for information. However, I would rely on my previous knowledge for example the brand name of the soft drink to make a choice. Due to the minimal risk associated with low-involvement purchases such as a soft drink, post-purchase dissonance is not highly emphasized. On the other hand, post-purchase dissonance with regard to high-involvement products such as a home is very important. Failure to deliver the promised features may result into the buyer seeking a legal redress.

Benefits that marketers of low-involvement products would gain from knowledge of the difference in the two purchase processes

The comprehensive decision making process for high-involvement purchases presents marketers with an opportunity to improve their marketing strategies. For example, in the need recognition phase, marketers can formulate effective promotional strategies that are aimed at stimulating the consumers to recognize the need to purchase a particular product. One of the ways through which they can achieve this is by integrating an effective advertisement influences the consumers buying process. For example, soft drink manufacturing companies can achieve this by creating awareness regarding the benefits associated with consumption of the soft drink.

The information search stage will be beneficial to marketers in that they will appreciate the importance of creating effective market awareness regarding their products. This will lead into creation of sufficient knowledge regarding the existence of the product in the market amongst the customers. The resultant effect is that the probability of the firm’s product being included amongst the various alternatives that the customer will consider purchasing is increased. This means that there is a high probability of a firm attaining its profit maximization objective through increment in the firm’s sales revenue.

Conclusion

The analysis above illustrates the fact that customers go through a number of stages in their purchasing process. However, the decision making process differs depending on the type of product being purchased. Some purchases are considered to be high-involvement purchases while others are low-involvement purchases. High-involvement purchases may entail purchasing properties such as a car or a home. In this case, the decision making process when buying a home on London is a high-involvement purchase decision. On the other hand, low-involvement purchases entail purchasing consumer products such as soft drinks.

The first stage in the consumer decision making process is recognition of a problem and hence the need to resolve its. This stage is evident in the two purchase processes. Need recognition may either arise from internal or external sources. After identification of the need, the next stage entails searching information regarding the product. In this stage, the consumer is able to identify the various alternatives that are available in the market. Information search for high-involvement purchases differs from that of low-involvement purchases. For low-involvement purchases such as soft drinks, the consumer may have knowledge regarding the product considering the fact that the consumer’s behavior is a routine response. However, high-involvement purchases are infrequent; a result a comprehensive information search is paramount. In both cases, consumers can search for information from both internal and external sources.

Upon identification of the various alternatives, the consumer evaluates each of the alternatives so as to determine the most appropriate product to purchase. During the evaluation phase, the customer should take into consideration a number of factors. In this stage, consumers mainly rely on the promises given by the marketers regarding the product. The evaluation phase result into selection of the most appropriate product or property to purchase. The product selected is the one with the highest score. The next stage after evaluation is executing the purchase.

The final stage is the post-purchase evaluation which entails evaluation of whether the product purchased meets the desired outcome. Post-purchase evaluation is conducted by comparing the marketers’ promises regarding the product and the actual outcome or experience.

The consumer decision making process with regard to high-involvement purchases can be beneficial to marketers of low-involvement products in a number of ways. Through the five stages of the consumer decision making process, marketers of low-involvement purchases can be able to formulate effective marketing strategies specifically with regard to promotional strategies. This enhances their ability to influence the consumer decision making process. The resultant effect is that they can be able to increase the firm’s sales revenue hence attaining its profit maximization objective.

Reference List

  1. Abramson, J., & Brewer, P., 2011. Purchase involvement of new car buyers: A descriptive study. New York: Cengage.
  2. Koklic, M., & Vida, I., 2011. Consumer strategic decision making and choice process: Prefabricated house purchase. International Journal of Consumer Studies. Vol. 35, issue 6, pp. 634-643. New York: Wiley Publishers.
  3. Laetitia, R., & Huang, W., 2008. High-involvement and low-involvement products: A comparison of brand awareness among students at a South African University. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management. Vol. 12, issue 2. New York: Emerald Group.
  4. Lamb, C., Hair, J., & McDaniel, C., 2011. Essentials of marketing. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning.
  5. Lomax, W., 2008. Marketing: A brief introduction. New York: Thomson.
  6. McDonald, W., 1998. Consumer decision making and altered states of consciousness: A study of dualities. Journal of Business Research. Vol. 42, issue 3, pp. 287-294. New York: Hofstra University.
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