The five stages of consumer decision making
There are five stages of consumer decision-making concerning the buying of products. This is based on the model of the decision-making process by buyers developed by Engel, Kollat and Blackwell in 1963. This section of the paper comprehensively discusses the stages of the consumer purchasing process.
The first stage is the Problem recognition. It is the most important stage since it brings out the need for purchasing a particular product. The stage requires a lag between actual and desired situations that is very significant. The ease of acquisition and the price of the product have to be accepted by the consumers. Three cases usually result in the gap dividing the ideal and the actual situations. These are the change in the ideal situation to the same real situation, the change in actual situation with the same ideal situation, and the change in both cases. The need recognition by a customer is caused by the internal stimuli. The driver factor, in this instance, is the advertisement exposure. The needs include social need- driven by the desire to belong to the various social environments, functional need- driven by the function of the product and, the need for change- which is driven by the desire to change ones lifestyle.
The second stage is the Information search. After the consumer has identified his/her problem, the following step is to acquire more information about the product. Depending on the complexity of the choices involved, more or very little research is needed by the buyer. The information that the consumer bases his choice includes internal and external information. The internal information refers to the information that the buyer already knows. The external information refers to the information that the consumer gathers from users with past experiences like friends and relatives about the product. However, most consumers usually pay more attention to their internal information than the external ones.
Another stage of consumer purchasing process is the alternative evaluation. After collection of information, the consumer will have to choose the best option amongst the presented ones. The customer focuses on the objective and subjective characteristics of the product to make the decision. The objective characteristics deal with the actual functions of the product while personal ones are the attributes gathered from external sources about the product. The consumer will then classify the given products according to these characteristics and get an evaluation of the most important ones. The customer then makes a consideration set of products which entails goods with a high probability of being purchased by him or her.
The next stage of consumer purchasing process is the Purchase decision. The user will choose from the set of products in the consideration list, and decides on the most preferred product.
The last stage is the Post-purchase consumer behavior. After acquiring and using the product, the customer assesses the satisfaction of the product. He/she can either feel satisfied or disappointed by the product. Either of these cases determines how loyal the customer will be to the product.
Theories of buying behavior
There are some theories that explain the behavior of purchasing by consumers.
The first one is the Cultural theory. This theory asserts that the culture of a person influences what one believes in or values in life. The beliefs and the values influence the decisions made by these people concerning the buying of goods. Group membership and social class have a lot of influence on the buying behavior of various individuals.
The second theory is the Environmental theory. The desire to acquire particular products varies from place to place by the same buyer. The same customer tends to show differing buying behaviors in considerations with the prevailing situations. For instance, a consumer will spend a lot of time in search of a particular juice type while on shopping. However from work, he/she will consume any milk they access first.
There are some factors that affect the consumer buying behavior that are categorically discussed in this section.
The first factor discussed here is the cultural factors. Individuals get influenced mostly by the society, friends, and family members. They gain characteristic behavior, preferences and different values from their culture. The subcultures such as religious, gender, ethnic groups and nationality influence the buying behavior of individuals. For instance, ethnic cosmetics has a larger market in Africa as compared to other continents.
The second factor is the Personal element. A persons age influences buying behavior. The persons lifestyle, values, and activities evolve with age. For instance, at an early, people prefer fast foods as compared to older stages of life when they prefer to eat healthy food that are safe for their age. The purchasing power and the individuals income have numerous effects on consumers buying behavior. It determines the places of acquiring the commodities and the value of the products purchased.
Other factors that have been put into consideration are the psychological factors. These factors include motivation that acts as the driving power to consumers to purchases an item. For higher sales, the products should be branded in such a way that they create a need for its acquisition by the customer. Additionally, perception is vital in this area. The opinion that a consumer gets from the brand of a product is critical to his decision making on the buying of the particular product. The customers will give attention to the products that are new in the market. They perceive that these products have certain advantages over the old ones thus changing their buying behavior.
Relationship between Brand loyalty, repeated purchasing, and corporate image
The three gives a representation of the dedication and customer loyalty regarding the brand of the product. It indicates the clients desire to acquire a particular product name. Consumers usually involve themselves with particular names and will always choose such brands when buying. The corporate image, on the other hand, gives psychological pictures a particular community has concerning a particular brand. The company has to produce a brand that attracts the customers. Repeat purchasing occurs when a product pleases a customer who then purchases it more than once. These three aspects are correlated, and the company does its best to combine them for successful marketing.
The company can use a combination of five methods in conducting its market research. The first technique is Survey. Its reliability depends on the sample size: that is, the larger the sample size, the more reliable the results. There are some survey types that the company can put in place. Amongst them include the in-person type of survey that is applied in areas that are congested like malls and are interviews. Customers are presented with the product samples and their views collected on the spot. It is expensive but very reliable. Another type of survey is through Telephone. It is less costly but generates only up to a maximum of sixty percent reliability. Online surveys response rate is unpredictable. It also produces unreliable results since there is no control over the respondents. Its preferred where the customers views are required. Mail surveys are relatively cheap and used to access a big audience.
Another type of research technique is through focus groups. In this case, moderator questions and a distinct group of people is considered as focus group. In most instances, the sessions are carried out in observation rooms. At least three focus groups are usually required for a reliable and balanced result. Two to three hours is the usual duration that is typically used in conducting this process.
Observation and field trials are other imperative research techniques. Observation gives an accurate picture of the actual behavior of the consumers on how they use actual products. It is the most reliable since it gives the most accurate picture of the customer product usage. Field trials involve placing the new product in particular stores to conducts testing on customers response to the product. It helps in making adjustments in prices, improvement of packaging and other relevant modifications.
Research on customer loyalty to the new product
The most important aspect of increasing the customer satisfaction is the relationship building focus. The active drivers of customer loyalty are the development of the healthy relationship between sales and teams involved. There are three types of clients in broad a classification. These include those who are very loyal and shops only in the companys goods, those that never buy the companys products and the regular individuals in their shopping who are likely to shop for the companys product. In a questionnaire conducted to determine the loyalty of consumers to the organization, a scale of 0 to 10 was used. 20% of the correspondents rated the company between 4 and 6 out of ten. Another 20% rated the company below 4 out of ten while the remaining 60% rated the company product above eight out of ten. This shows that most of the customers are very loyal to the companys products. The organization achieved this kind of loyalty due to its extra provision of services more so in times when the customers need them most.
Validity and Reliability of customer loyalty research
Validity in research is used to refer to the client rating degree to their relevancy. The validity of this analysis was determined by content-related method evidence. This was carried out by two approaches; first there was a review of the process of generation of the survey questions. The questions were generated based on the subject matter. The second approach was the analysis and summarization of the feedbacks for specific contents. The responses matched the quantitative survey content making it valid. Reliability refers to the consistency of results from the research. Focus was on the inter-rater reliability that indicated that different customers who received same kind of service gave similar feedbacks.
Marketing plan for greens and salads
The Vixo organization will focus on restaurants and the individual consumers of the greens. It is quite easy to target our market since the customers are met at two distinct places. Restaurants: The organization through its agents will target the customers by introducing the Gardens and its products to these restaurants. This is to be done through meeting sessions with different buyers at every restaurant. About thirty restaurants are targeted for a formation of a long-term relation with the organization. Individuals: the customers here are expected to buy the products at different markets that are located in Tokyo. The large market in downtown is set to operate three times a week to attract large customer base for higher profits.
Market size trend of greens and salads
There is a rapidly growing demand for salads and greens by the customers. The primary clients, in this case, are the restaurants. It is next to impossible to get a restaurant that lacks salads on its menu. About ninety percent of the foodservice operations targets freshness that only greens and salads can offer. The popularity gains by salads are both short-term and long-term. The short-term refers to where the salads are up to menu point while long term dated up to five points ten years ago. Salads presentations in restaurants are of two approaches. Individual priced salads account to over eighty percent of all the salads being sold. Around fifty percent of the restaurants sell their salads as accompaniment. According to the studies done by the MenuMine, a Research Institute in Oak, there has been increasin...
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