As opined by Solomon (2014), the consumer buying behavior is concerned with the behavioral set of attributes that are involved in the purchase of products or services. There has been dissolution of the target market as the customers are increasingly becoming more selective in the product purchases. There has also been shortening of the product life cycle stages as there is changed pattern of the customer requirements. The lack of understanding of the consumer buying patterns often ends up in making wrong marketing strategies (Solomon 2014). It is important to choose between the various alternatives that would help in the satisfying the demands of the consumer. The purchasing tendencies of the consumers follow some patterns and hence it is important to understand them.
Literature Review Scope and Objectives
This literature review would aim for assessing the impact of the internet on the purchasing decisions of the consumers. It would strive to understand the different factors that are responsible for the buying behavior of the consumers. It would also aim for assessing the different dimensions of internet and how it affects the customer purchase dynamics.
Durmaz (2014) argues that there are four factors that influence the buying decision process of customers. The situational factors comprise of the different circumstances which are faced by the consumers when they engage in a purchasing decision. The store locations often influence the consumer purchasing decisions (Rani 2014). For example, Starbucks has good location of their stores (Fitrianto and Daud 2017). There are frequent cafes of the coffee shop and also inside grocery stores. One can also find the branded coffee shop inside the airports, which becomes convenience for the travelers (Solomon 2014).
In such places, the business would get more number of customers who would not be coming there to visit the store alone but would visit them since it is a part of their journey (Solomon 2014). The physical factor of the stores also has an influence on the buying decisions of the consumers. As commented by Fitrianto and Daud (2017), the layout of the store, music played at the stores, temperature of the stores, lighting and other attributes determine the attitude of the consumers regarding the purchase of the products. The strategic fragrance also helps the customers to stay in particular shops for longer time period.
Bashar, Ahmad and Wasiq (2013) agree that there are psychological factors that are involved in shaping the purchasing decisions of the consumers. There can be several factors which influence the decision making of the individuals. They can be motives, perceptions, ability, knowledge and attitudes and personality (Bashar, Ahmad and Wasiq 2013). The motives of the customers reveal that there are several motives of the customers such as safety, physiological, love and belonging, self-actualization and esteem needs that influence the buying patterns of the consumers.
Cheung, Xiao and Liu (2014) argue that the perception of the consumers is important for determining their purchase needs. The act of perception is concerned with the selection, organization and the interpretation of the information that are important for gaining suitable meaning (Bashar, Ahmad and Wasiq 2013). The consumers have some information stored in their memory regarding any particular products or services of a specific company. The knowledge as well as ability of the consumers allows them to make specific purchase decisions and they have the highest impact on the buying decisions of the company.
There are also personality traits which influence the customers to behave in a particular manner. There are certain personality traits such as workholism, extroversion, competitiveness, aggressiveness, friendliness, self-confidence, adaptability and others (Cheung, Xiao and Liu 2014). The lifestyles of the people also have an impact on the type of purchases made by them. For example, the people who believe in maintaining a healthy lifestyle would be more inclined towards the purchase of healthy foods like organic foods.
The findings of Choo and Petrick (2014) reveal that the customers are also influenced by the various social factors. The roles or the expectations from the position within the group influence the purchasing patterns of the people. The family influences and the society influence the purchasing decisions of the people. The social stages of an individual’s life also determine how much goods they need for their personal consumption (Cheung, Xiao and Liu 2014). For example, the number of goods required would be more after the marriage of an individual (due to doubling of the consumption). The reference groups also affect the customer purchasing pattern.
The degree of the impact of the reference groups depends on the susceptibility of the influence of the reference groups (Kukar-Kinney,Scheinbaum and Schaefers 2016). There are several social classes in the society such as lower middle class, upper Americans, working class, lower class and others, which has their individual purchasing decisions (Kukar-Kinney, Scheinbaum and Schaefers 2016). The culture of the people or the set of ideas, values and attitudes of the people also affect the purchasing decision of the consumers.
According to Lu, Fan and Zhou (2016), the internet plays a major role in the marketing of modern times. In the fast paced environment of modern times, it is important to aggressively change the marketing communications plans as per the needs of the consumers. It is important to take risks as the internet provides new directions for the company (Gerla et al. 2014). The World Wide Web is able to provide the marketers with a wide source of information which are useful for them in determining the needs of the target market (Lu, Fan and Zhou 2016).
The company may need to refresh the current marketing or corporate strategies so that they can gain competitive advantage. Gerla et al. (2014) argues that it is important to incorporate new media as well as new techniques on the web in order to be successful in the current marketplace. The great strategies formulated after adequate market research on the internet helps the company to formulate effective customer strategies that would aid in higher customer penetration (Gerla et al.2014). Internet provides a wide range of platforms that help the company to understand the various attributes of the consumer buying behavior.
The social media marketing has led to an increased interaction between the companies and the customers (Gerlaet al. 2014). The brand is able to understand the various attitudes and behavioral patterns of the customers and their likings/disliking. It is important that the customers are able to express their concerns freely and internet has enabled them to do. Various customer surveys and online forums enable the customers to share/express their views with each other (Gerlaet al. 2014).
As commented by Stromquist and Monkman (2014), the internet plays an important role in the consumer purchasing behavior. The consumers would be more inclined to seek as well as trust the reviews of the company in an online sphere (Gerla et al. 2014). There is an increase in the technology savvy customers who like to consult the technological platforms before making the actual purchases. They visit the various social media as well as product rating sites so that they can get adequate information before they make the actual product purchases.
Solomon (2014) states that the internet offers several features for attracting a large number of audiences. The multiple features include the capacity, precision, speed and convenience that have revolutionalized the way customers interact in the purchasing sphere. An increasing number of customers use the internet for variety of reasons which start from gathering information to the online purchase of the products (Gerla et al. 2014).
The purchase over the internet is considered as the most popular form of purchases in the modern times. However, there is still a small percentage of population that uses the internet for making online purchases. Experts that there would be significant increase in the online purchases once the customers would be satisfied about the process and they feel safe about the online protection of the purchases (Solomon 2014).
According to Ghose, Ipeirotis and Li (2014), the consumer behavior is the most important for making intelligent marketing strategies. There are several steps of consumer behavior concerning their purchase decisions (Leung, Xue and Bai 2015). The problem identification is considered as the first major step in which the consumer decides if he is in need of a particular stuff or not. This is the stimulus which begins the process of consumer buying decision. The next step is considered as the information search, in which internet plays a major role (Ghose, Ipeirotis and Li 2014). The customer searches the internet for various product or service related information.
The different forums, reviews, social media sites and others help in the process of finding more relevant information about the products or services. The third step involves the alternative evaluation of the various options that are presented before the customers (Ghose, Ipeirotis and Li 2014). They tend to measure the various alternatives and weigh them. The advantages and disadvantages of the individual alternatives are determined and this helps the consumers to reach their best decisions (Ghose, Ipeirotis and Li 2014). The next step is considered as the actual purchasing decisions when the consumer actually buys the products or the services. A typical consumer is likely to follow all these steps when they are opting to purchase a new product.
As opined by Van (2014), internet marketing is reaching new heights and is gaining extreme popularity. The process of marketing online is known for creating and the monitoring of the customer relationships through online activities (Ghose, Ipeirotis and Li 2014). The various activities through the internet include the sharing of the ideas regarding any products or services which would satisfy the goals of both the sellers as well as buyers. The increased proliferation of the internet has facilitated the marketers to enhance their marketing programs. This kind of marketing is time-saving and cost-effective. The internet marketing deals with the planning, pricing, distribution and promotion of the products/services in the online domain.
Veríssimon et al. (2017) agrees that there are several benefits of internet marketing which is making it quite acceptable among the masses. There are a number of alternatives that are available to the consumers per product category. There are absolutely no searching costs on the internet and the consumers can search for their favorite items from the comfort of their homes (Ghose, Ipeirotis and Li 2014). The subsequent reduction in the online marketplace costs has enabled the marketers to expand the various services available online. The reduced online operation has led the marketers to venture into new market domains and implement new products (Ghose, Ipeirotis and Li 2014). The customer adoption of the new products and the investment in the various technology infrastructures has led to greater profitability of the firm.
Mafini and Dhurup (2014) states that the internet marketing is likely to be impacted by several factors. These enable direct communication with the sellers and buyers with no mediators. There would also be store storage capacity of information which can be maintained at low costs and provide sufficient information for buyers as well as sellers. There are also enough opportunities for the customization features, which ensure that the consumer can get their own desired products or services.
The customers would also get the option of giving various degrees of enhancements to the images available in the internet such as 3D image or the option of video preview. There are also options of the digital media for the products as well as physical medium for particular goods. Jiang, Yang and Jun (2013) argues that online shopping is a convenient process where the consumers are able to make direct purchases from the provider with no middle person involved. It becomes easier for them to browse the products and decide their most appropriate products.
As opined by Ghose, Ipeirotis and Li (2014), the internet is considered as relevant in the digital economy and there has been a massive explosion of the information technology in the different regions of the world. The high speed internet connection has fostered the companies to reach out to the audiences in a better manner. The firms have enabled the promotion as well as enhancement of the products as well as services through their websites (Leung, Xue and Bai 2015). The detailed product details are able to attract more number of people and they have changed the traditional consumer behavior. There has been an increase in the e-commerce activities (Veríssimon et al. 2017).
There has been large number of online shopping, which has gained sufficient popularity. The internet is responsible for providing different kinds of facilities and convenience to the buyers, which has led to an increase in the online sales (Veríssimon et al. 2017). Consumers need not go outside for fulfilling their shopping needs and help them get the items at the cheapest prices. The internet is also responsible for getting the products at the cheapest possible prices, which has led to the attraction of the online sites (Veríssimon et al. 2017). The consumers are able to save time and they are being able to get a variety of product related information by sitting at their homes.
The literature review failed to address the negative impact of the internet on the buying behavior of the customers. It only addressed the different factors responsible for the customer buying behavior. It also addressed the positive impacts of the technology on the buying behavior. The review failed to throw light on the consequences of using internet on consumer buying behavior.
The high speed internet connection has fostered the companies to reach out to the audiences in a better manner. The internet is responsible for higher purchase activities among the customers. The consumers are able to do better decision making activity by the use of internet and digital technologies. The e-commerce activities have also proliferated and the basis of which is the internet.
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Durmaz, Y., 2014. The impact of psychological factors on consumer buying behavior and an empirical application in Turkey.
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