Consumer behaviour

Consumer behaviour is the study of when, why, how, and where people do or do not buy [[Product (business)|product) It blends elements from psychology, sociology, socialanthropology andeconomics. It attempts to understand the buyer decision making process, both individually and in groups. It studies characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics and behavioural variables in an attempt to understand people's wants. It also tries to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends, reference groups, and society in general. Customer behaviour study is based on consumer buying behaviour, with the customer playing the three distinct roles of user, payer and buyer. Relationship marketing is an influential asset for customer behaviour analysis as it has a keen interest in the rediscovery of the true meaning of marketing through the re-affirmation of the importance of the customer or buyer. A greater importance is also placed on consumer retention, customer relationship management, personalisation, customisation and one-to-one marketing. Social functions can be categorized into social choice and welfare functions. Each method for vote counting is assumed as a social function but if Arrow¶s possibility theorem is used for a social function, social welfare function is achieved. Some specifications of the social functions are decisiveness, neutrality, anonymity, monotonocity, unanimity, homogeneity and weak and strong Pareto optimality. No social choice function meets these requirements in an ordinal scale simultaneously. The most important characteristic of a social function is identification of the interactive effect of alternatives and creating a logical relation with the ranks. Marketing provides services in order to satisfy customers. With that in mind, the productive system is considered from its beginning at the production level, to the end of the cycle, the consumer (Kioumarsi et al., 2009).

Belch and Belch define consumer behaviour as 'the process and activities people
engage in when searching for, selecting, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services so as to satisfy their needs and desires'.'

Black box model
ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Marketing Environmental Stimuli Stimuli BUYER'S BLACK BOX Buyer Decision Characteristics Process Problem recognition Attitudes Information Motivation search Perceptions Alternative Personality evaluation Purchase Lifestyle Knowledge decision Post-purchase behaviour BUYER'S RESPONSE

Product Price Place Promotion

Economic Technological Political Cultural Demographic Natural

Product choice Brand choice Dealer choice Purchase timing Purchase amount

The black box model shows the interaction of stimuli, consumer characteristics, decision process and consumer responses. It can be distinguished between interpersonal stimuli (between people) or intrapersonal stimuli (within people). The black box model is related to the black box theory of behaviourism, where the focus is not set on the processes inside a consumer, but the relation between the stimuli and the response of the consumer. The marketing stimuli are planned and processed by the companies, whereas the environmental stimulus are given by social factors, based on the economical, political and cultural circumstances of a society. The buyers black box contains the buyer characteristics and the decision process, which determines the buyers response. The black box model considers the buyers response as a result of a conscious, rational decision process, in which it is assumed that the buyer has recognized the problem. However, in reality many decisions are not made in awareness of a determined problem by the consumer.

Information search
Once the consumer has recognised a problem, they search for information on products and services that can solve that problem. Belch and Belch (2007) explain that consumers undertake both an internal (memory) and an external search.

Sources of information include:
y y y y

Personal sources Commercial sources Public sources Personal experience

The relevant internal psychological process that is associated with information search is perception. Perception is defined as 'the process by which an individual receives, selects, organises, and interprets information to create a meaningful picture of the world'

The selective perception process
Stage Description - Selective exposure consumers select which promotional messages they will expose themselves to. - Selective attention consumers select which promotional messages they will pay attention to - Selective comprehension consumer interpret messages in line with their beliefs, attitudes, motives and experiences - Selective retention consumers remember messages that are more meaningful or important to them The implications of this process help develop an effective promotional strategy, and select which sources of information are more effective for the brand.

Information evaluation
At this time the consumer compares the brands and products that are in their evoked set. How can the marketing organization increase the likelihood that their brand is part of the consumer's evoked (consideration) set? Consumers evaluate alternatives in terms of the functional and psychological benefits that they offer. The marketing organization needs to understand what benefits consumers are seeking and therefore which attributes are most important in terms of making a decision.

Purchase decision
Once the alternatives have been evaluated, the consumer is ready to make a purchase decision. Sometimes purchase intention does not result in an actual purchase. The marketing organization must facilitate the consumer to act on their purchase intention. The organisation can use variety of techniques to achieve this. The provision of credit or payment terms may encourage purchase, or a sales promotion such as the opportunity to receive a premium or enter a competition may provide an incentive to buy now. The relevant internal psychological process that is associated with purchase decision is

integration.Once the integration is achieved, the organisation can influence the purchase decisions much more easily.

Postpurchase evaluation
It is common for customers to experience concerns after making a purchase decision. This arises from a concept that is known as ³cognitive dissonance´. The customer, having bought a product, may feel that an alternative would have been preferable. In these circumstances that customer will not repurchase immediately, but is likely to switch brands next time. To manage the post-purchase stage, it is the job of the marketing team to persuade the potential customer that the product will satisfy his or her needs. Then after having made a purchase, the customer should be encouraged that he or she has made the right decision.it is not effected by advertisement.

Internal influences
Consumer behaviour is influenced by: demographics, psychographics (lifestyle), personality, motivation, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. consumerbehaviour concern with consumer need consumer actions in the direction of satisfying needs leads to his behaviour of every individuals depend on thinking process

External influences
Consumer behaviour is influenced by: culture,sub-culture, locality, royalty, ethnicity, family, social class, reference groups, lifestyle, and market mix factors.

Factors influencing the behaviour of buyers.
Consumer behaviour is affected by many uncontrollable factors. Just think, what influences you before you buy a product or service? Your friends, your upbringing, your culture, the media, a role model or influences from certain groups? Culture is one factor that influences behaviour. Simply culture is defined as our attitudes and beliefs. But how are these attitudes and beliefs developed? As an individual growing up, a child is influenced by their parents, brothers, sister and other family member who may teach them what is wrong or right. They learn about their religion and culture, which helps them develop these opinions, attitudes and beliefs (AIO) . These factors will influence their purchase behaviour however other factors like groups of friends, or people they look up to may influence their choices of purchasing a particular product or service. Reference groups are particular groups of people some people may look up towards to that have an impact on consumer behaviour. So they can be simply a band like the Spice Girls or your immediate family members. Opinion leaders are

those people that you look up to because your respect their views and judgements and these views may influence consumer decisions. So it maybe a friend who works with the IT trade who may influence your decision on what computer to buy. The economical environment also has an impact on consumer behaviour; do consumers have a secure job and a regular income to spend on goods? Marketing and advertising obviously influence consumers in trying to evoke them to purchase a particular product or service. Peoples social status will also impact their behaviour. What is their role within society? Are they Actors? Doctors?Office worker?and mothers and fathers also? Clearly being parents affects your buying habits depending on the age of the children, the type of job may mean you need to purchase formal clothes, the income which is earned has an impact. The lifestyle of someone who earns £250000 would clearly be different from someone who earns £25000. Also characters have an influence on buying decision. Whether the person is extrovert (out going and spends on entertainment) or introvert (keeps to themselves and purchases via online or mail order) again has an impact on the types of purchases made.

Maslow¶s Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs theory sets out to explain what motivated individuals in life to achieve. He set out his answer in a form of a hierarchy. He suggests individuals aim to meet basic psychological needs of hunger and thirst. When this has been met they then move up to the next stage of the hierarchy, safety needs, where the priority lay with job security and the knowing that an income will be available to them regularly. Social needs come in the next level of the hierarchy, the need to belong or be loved is a natural human desire and people do strive for this belonging. Esteem need is the need for status and recognition within society, status sometimes drives people, the need to have a good job title and be recognised or the need to wear branded clothes as a symbol of status. Self-actualisation the realisation that an individual has reached their potential in life. The point of self-actualisation is down to the individual, when do you know you have reached your point of self-fulfilment? But how does this concept help an organisation trying to market a product or service? Well as we have established earlier within this website, marketing is about meeting needs and providing benefits, Maslows concept suggests that needs change as we go along our path of striving for self-actualisation. Supermarket firms develop value brands to meet the psychological needs of hunger and thirst. Harrods develops products and services for those who want have met their esteem needs. So Maslows concept is useful for marketers as it can help them understand and develop consumer needs and wants.

Types of buying behaviour.
There are four typical types of buying behaviour based on the type of products that intends to be purchased. Complex buying behaviour is where the individual purchases a high value brand and seeks a lot of information before the purchase is made. Habitual buying behaviour is where the individual buys a product out of habit e.g. a daily newspaper, sugar or salt. Variety seeking buying behaviour is where the individual likes to shop around and experiment with different products. So an individual may shop around for different breakfast cereals because he/she wants variety in the mornings! Dissonance reducing buying behaviour is when buyer are highly involved with the purchase of the product, because the purchase is expensive or infrequent. There is little difference between existing brands an example would be buying a diamond ring, there is perceived little difference between existing diamond brand manufacturers.

To summarise: ‡ There are five stages of consumer purchase behaviour ‡ Problem/Need Recognition ‡ Information search. ‡ Evaluation of purchases. ‡ Purchase decision. ‡ Post purchase behaviour. ‡ Culture has an impact on the company. ‡ Marketers should take into account Maslows hierarchy of needs.

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