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Question:

Discuss about the Consumer Behaviour.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Consumer behaviour is a discipline of management through which marketers try to assess the consumer buying decisions (Ammi, 2013). Consumer behaviour assessment assists in judging customer needs so that organisations can fulfil them accurately.

Background of the task

Overall purchase behaviour of a consumer differs depending upon the involvement level of the products that consumer purchases (Blythe, 2013). An assessment of the consumer buyer behaviour helps organisations in devising marketing strategies to target consumers based on their decision making process (Armstrong, 2012) Therefore, analysis of buyer behaviour is very important to business organisations. Study of consumer behaviour classifies products as high and low involvement products (Close, 2012). Low involvement products are generally less expensive and frequently purchased products. The time spent on decision making of purchase of such products is low (East & Wright, 2013). However, high involvement products are expensive and seldom bought products. The time and attention spent on such products is high (Hoyer, 2012). Therefore, consumer purchase decision and behaviour varies depending on involvement level of the product.

Purpose of the report

The purpose of this report is to assess the overall decision making process of high and low involvement products purchased by a customer during a particular week. This report also intends to assess the process involved in purchase decision of a high involvement product. Furthermore, the report will try to compare and contrast the difference in purchase decision of high and low involvement products.

 

Format of the report

The Report follows business format. A single customer is described through this report The report then discusses the low and high involvement purchase decisions of this single customer. In continuation, the purchase decision of high and low involvement products is compared. Further, insights gathered from the discussion are listed. Finally conclusions are drawn based on the findings.

Description of the consumer

Understanding of consumer behaviour is based on understanding of consumer‘s traits and background (Kardes, 2014). Consumers are affected by their pear group, personal habits and other personal traits (Lantos, 2012). Therefore, it is important to understand the customer to understand further purchase decisions (Lantos, 2012) Following is the description of the consumer whose purchase decision analysis has been conducted in this report. The consumer’s age, habits and traits have an important role to play in consumer decision making process.

Description of the customer

Age

29

Gender

Female

Marital Status

Single

Family

Living with Parent

Education Level

MBA

Generational Cohort

Adults born between 1961 and 1981)

GEN – Y

Value segment

Real Conservatism & Conventional Family Life

Psychographics

·         Concerned with health and appearance

·         Wants and enjoys a healthy lifestyle but is limited by time

·         Finds fulfilment in family and career

·         Prefers the radio over the TV

·         Loves spending any time available with her daughter

·         Does not enjoy shopping activities without a purpose

·         Prefers to save than spend

 

Personality Traits

·         Loves people and society, altruistic, supports and cares

·         Tidy and willing to help

·         No problem to adapt to the majority, avoids controversy

·         Respects authority

·         Seeks contact with other people

·         Likes control over environment

·         Strongly oriented to reality and presence

·         Looks for meaningful activities

Table-1 Source: Made by Author (2016( Adapted from (Armstrong, 2012)

The above description shows that consumer is a female belonging to the young generation. Hence, her purchase decisions may be youth centric. She may buy products that appeal to youth like fast food, fitness services and smartphones. Consumer is traditional by nature and believes in family values. Therefore, family oriented and traditional products may also appeal to her.

Consumer behaviour insight

Consumer insight mapping is required by business organisations to understand the exact nature of consumer demand and the purchasing pattern of the consumer (O'Shaughnessy, 2012). Consumer insight helps in creating a proper marketing message. Through consumer insight, the marketers can communicate in a way that can be understood by the people (Samli, 2012). Consumer insight involves understanding the customer needs and aspirations so that those products can be made available to them which they desire.

 


The consumer matrix shows that the chosen consumer purchases grocery, food and health and fitness related items on a weekly basis. The customer is a young, single, female, student who purchases food and grocery items on a daily or weekly basis. Pear group is a major influencing factor for the customer. Additionally, items are also purchased based on past experience. The consumer believes in family values and has great concerns for health.  The consumer goals include spending more time with family, live a healthy lifestyle and purchase value for money products so that money can be saved. Spending more than needed is a major fear of the customer while shopping. Therefore, priority areas of the customer are value for money shopping and healthy lifestyle.

Analysis of decision making process of weekly purchases

Weekly purchases are generally repeat purchases which satisfy basic and daily needs (Schmitt, 2010). These are also known as low involvement purchases.  The customer’s weekly shopping items consists of food, grocery and health and fitness related products. Bread is a weekly purchased item as per the consumer matrix. Customer also purchases fruit , vegetable and chicken once a week. Customer spends on yoga and health supplements once a week.  Most of these products like fruits, bread, burger, car petrol etc. are repeat purchases and low involvement products. Low involvement products are the products which are purchased without much time given to decision making process (Schiffman, 2013). During the purchase of low involvement products, customer purchases as per convenience and habit.  Mostly these purchases occur due to influence from peers, parents or personal choices and same choices are repeated multiple time. Customer has purchased most of these items based on own experience and some like coffee on a colleague’s suggestion.

A few items on the consumer’s weekly shopping list can also be termed as moderate involvement. Moderate involvement products are those which are not extremely frequent but they are also not so expensive that consumer will spend a very long time deciding about them (Wells, 2012). Mostly moderate involvement products are purchased after a brief search and simple decision making (Baines, 2013). Peer group is the major influencing factor in moderate involvement products (Kotler, et al., 2015). Products like Yoga closes and Airline tickets were purchased by consumer after brief search and discussion with friends and family. However, too much time was not spent on information search and the products were purchased through a simple decision making process. Following chart throws light on low and medium involvement products.

Low and Moderate Involvement Products

Figure1: Source: Made by Author (2017) Based on (Kotler, et al., 2015)

On analysis of the customers’ purchase matrix for the week, it can be observed that the weekly purchases involves basic needs fulfilling products like bread, noodles and coffee. These products are not very expensive; therefore, consumer does not pay too much attention to the nature of the product. The products are bought through convenient mediums like nearby café and fast food restaurants. Additionally, there is not much analysis of the product after consumption. Therefore, the customer may continuously keep buying from the same place due to habit and convenience.

 For an organisation to bring about a change in this type of buying pattern, there is a need for extensive and dedicated marketing communication, so that the organisation can break through the habitual buying pattern of the consumer (Baker, 2012) .These are low involvement products; therefore, the customer does not spend time on deciding and does not actively look for product features. Therefore, marketing communication needs to be frequent and interesting to catch the consumer’s attention (Blakeman, 2014). Following chart shows the decision making process followed during purchase decision of low and moderate involvement products

Purchase Decision process – Low involvement Products

Figure 2: Source: Made by Author(2017) Based on (Szmigin, 2014)

The above process is followed by customer during every purchase (Armstrong, 2012). However, for small purchases and basic needs the problem identification is a continuous and frequent process (Sethna & Blythe, 2016).

According to the customer purchase matrix, a need was identified by the customer for certain basis need products like bread, burger, fruits and vegetables. Additionally, need was also identified for certain moderate involvement products like airline tickets. The customer did not do much information search for low involvement products and purchased them from the nearest market. There was not much evaluation of alternatives and customer purchased the bread and other basic needs items based on convenience and time saving. Customer was also aware of the quality of these items from previous purchases. As the customer was habitual of purchasing these products, not much post-purchase evaluation was done. Therefore, daily low involvement products were bought by the customer based on habit, convenience, less time criteria and low attention span (Blythe, 2013). Major influencers in purchase decision of customer in case of low involvement products were peer group and parents along with own past purchase experience.

The consumer purchase matrix also has certain moderate involvement products like Yoga classes and airline tickets. These items were bought after limited information search and discussion with peer group. However, the consumer was not overly involved in the purchase and made a decision after a short search. Post purchase evaluation was not too extensive and very strong opinion was not formed about the product. Therefore, less attention span and less information search are the features of low and moderate involvement products

 

Analysis of purchase of high involvement product

In contrast to low involvement products, high involvement products are more expensive; therefore, more time is spent on searching about such products (Armstrong, 2012). Additionally, the need for such products is an advanced need. Such needs arise from need for comfort or luxury (Ammi, 2013). High involvement product which the customer recently purchased is IPhone 7 Plus. This is a high end smartphone for heavy users (Ammi, 2013). Customer was looking for a brand switch as she was not satisfies with the earlier smart phone, Samsung Note. Customer had issues with android operating system as well. Therefore, past purchase was not satisfactory. Hence, customer felt a need for replacement of the phone.

As the customer was not satisfied with android operating system, the next available option of IOS was opted for by her. The customer asked friends and also searched on the internet regarding good IOS phones. IPhone 7 plus appealed to the customer due to its good reviews, colour and shape. Additionally, a friend also influenced the customer’s choice. After information search and getting convinced about this new phone the customer made the purchase decision.

It can be deduced from the above that IPhone 7 Plus was purchased after an extensive information search. As this was an expensive high involvement product, there was an extensive evaluation of the product and the customer found the product satisfactory.

Therefore, in case of high involvement products, more attention is given to the product and customer is highly involved in the purchase decision.

Comparison between the purchase decision of high and low involvement products

Consumer purchase decision is dependent on many varying factors (Armstrong, 2012). Some consumers are able to make quicker decisions based on their knowledge and experience (Armstrong, 2012). However, decision making can be divided into two broad categories; High involvement decision making and low involvement decision making. Following chart makes a comparison between low and high involvement decision making.

High involvement Vs Low Involvement purchase decesion

Figure 3: Source: Made by Author (2017) Adapted from (Armstrong, 2012)

Consumer purchased daily need products like food, health and fitness services throughout the week. These were low to moderate involvement products as they were relatively cheaper, were a part of habitual baying and did not feature on high attention span list of the customer. Consumer made the decision of purchasing these products based on past purchase experience, experience of a friend and parents. Convenience and easy availably were also factors which influenced this decision making.  Low involvement purchases are purchased frequently.  For example, the purchase of bread and burger which the customer purchased in this week may get repeated next week as well. following is the process followed during low involvement product purchase

Low Involvement Products –Purchase Decision Process

Figure 4: Source: Made by Author (2017) Adapted from (Ammi, 2013)

Therefore, in case of low involvement products, decision making is simple and based on fast satisfaction of needs and convenience. In the case of the customer being analysed, the purchase was based on low involvement, quick decision making based on past purchase and advice from peer group. For example, the customer bought bread from the shop that had supplied the bread in the past to the customer. Customer did not do much information search. Additionally, not much past purchase evaluation was done. Adjustment was made based on experience and repeat purchase was made based on habit or adjustments made as per past purchase. Even if the customer gets dissatisfied ,she  would just shift to another product without giving too much attention to the dissatisfaction.

On the other hand, in case of high involvement products, decision making process is longer. Customer is greatly impacted by the decision because the products are expensive. In the case of this customer, there was dissonance with proviso product hence, there was even more caution in purchase decision. The customer did extensive information search and then chose the product which suited the requirements in the best possible manner. The basic difference between the process of high and low involvement products is that the information search is more intensive in these products. The reason is that these products are very expensive and are purchased once in a while.

Following is the process followed by the customer to make the purchase decision.

High Involvement Products- Purchase Decision Process

Figure 5: Source: Made by Author, Adapted from (Ammi, 2013)

As propounded by this process, the customer identified a need for a new high end smart phone. Additionally, as the customer was not satisfied with past purchase experience, she was even more cautious in making the new decision. Unlike the low involvement products, customer indulged in extensive information search. Information was gathered from internet, friends and product reviews in magazines and newspapers. Ultimately, based on the dissonance of the past purchase, the customer decided not to buy android devices and buy Iphone7 plus instead, which is an IOS operated device. A lot of time was given to the decision making process and many different aspects regarding the product was debated upon by the customer. Unlike low involvement purchase, the decision was not quick or based on convenience and availably. Lot of evaluation was done post purchase and strong opinions about the product were formed by the customer based on purchase experience.

Therefore, a lot of difference exists in approach towards purchase of high and low involvement products.

Key Insights as observed from the purchase behaviour of the customer

Following are the key insights which came out of the analysis of the customer buying decision-

Low involvement purchases are the weekly purchases which the customer makes for satisfaction of basic needs, Customer does not spend too much time on these purchases and makes decisions which are based on convenience or easy availability. Influence of friends, parents or past purchases have a great role to play in such purchases. The justification for low involvement in basic needs products is that they are inexpensive and purchased frequently. Hence, any mistake in purchase can be rectified in the next purchase. Strong opinions about the products are not made and the customer cans easily shift to other products in case of dissatisfaction. The reason for this type of behaviour is inexpensive and frequently bought product. Therefore, customer does not spend too much time to look out for information on these products. Such products need frequent and repetitive advertisement to make a place in the customers mind

 


On the other hand, high involvement products are expensive and are brought once in a while. A mistake in the purchase cannot be rectified. Therefore, customers spend a large amount of time to look for such products and follow extensive information search. They learn from experience of friend, family and their own past experience. As a lot of money is involved, customers make the decision after taking into account all features of the product. Additionally, post purchase evaluation is also extensive and the customer makes strong opinion about the product. The reason for this behaviour is expensive and seldom bought products.

Conclusion

Consumer behaviour is a complicated process which involves understanding of buyer behaviour. Customers show different buyer behaviour for different types of products. Therefore, marketers need to understand involvement level of customers to properly understand their needs and wants.

 

References

Ammi, C., (2013) Global Consumer Behavior. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Armstrong, G., (2012) Marketing: An Introduction. New Delhi: Pearson Education.

Baines, P., (2013) Essentials of Marketing. Oxford: Oxford University Press .

Baker, M., (2012) The Marketing Book. New Jersy: Routledge.

Blakeman, R., (2014) Integrated Marketing Communication: Creative Strategy from Idea to Implementation. Plymoth: Rowman & Littlefield.

Blythe, J., (2013) Consumer Behaviour. London: SAGE.

Boone, L., (2011) Contemporary Marketing. New York: Cengage Learning.

Close, A., (2012) Online Consumer Behavior: Theory and Research in Social Media, Advertising, and E-tail. New York: Routledge.

East, R. & Wright, M., (2013) Consumer Behaviour: Applications in Marketing. London: SAGE.

Hoyer, W. D., (2012) Consumer Behavior. New York: Cengage Learning.

Kardes, F., (2014) Consumer Behavior. New York: Cengage Learning.

Kotler, P. et al., (2015) Marketing. Melbourne: Pearson Higher Education AU,.

Lantos, G. P., (2012) Consumer Behavior in Action. New York: M.E. Sharpe,.

O'Shaughnessy, J., (2012) Consumer Behaviour: Perspectives, Findings and Explanations. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Samli, A. C., (2012) International Consumer Behavior in the 21st Century: Impact on Marketing Strategy Development. humburg: Springer Science & Business Media.

Schiffman, L., (2013) Consumer Behaviour. Melbourne: Pearson Higher Education AU.

Schmitt, B. H., (2010) Customer Experience Management: A Revolutionary Approach to Connecting with Your Customers. Melbourne: John Wiley & Sons.

Sethna, Z. & Blythe, J., (2016) Consumer Behaviour. London: Sage.

Szmigin, I., (2014) Consumer Behaviour. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wells, V., (2012) Handbook of Developments in Consumer Behaviour. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

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