|Type of paper:
|Marketing Consumerism Human behavior
Marketing influences every aspect of life since everyone has found themselves purchasing an item. Having in mind that majority of buyers find some of the products bought not satisfactory as per their needs, it is essential to look at the steps that are involved when a customer wants to purchase a product. This is because apart from impulse buying, most consumer purchases include the consumer identifying a need that needs to be satisfied through a particular product, gathers information regarding the solution for the demand, weighs among alternatives of meeting the need before reaching the purchase decision which is also not guaranteed as post-purchase evaluation may lead to a return (Jones, 2014). There are instances where one may not be satisfied with some products and may tend to display specific characteristics in their buying behavior and thus the various factors affecting the buying behaviors across the six progress steps of the consumer buying process. The six progress steps include Motive development, information gathering, Proposition evaluation, Proposition Selection, Purchase, and Re-evaluation with each step having the probability of changing the customer's decision towards acquiring a product. Thus, through this six-step model of consumer buying behavior, the essay will discuss consumer behavior regarding what and how they think and should do when purchasing a product as well as the implications and applications of the consumer proposition acquisition model.
The first step of the six-step model of consumer behavior process is motive development which applies when consumers recognized the problem they faced and find out the product that could satisfy their demand (Mandel, Rucker, Levav, & Galinsky, 2017). The need can be categorized as rational motives and irrational motives where rational motives usually happen when an essential need is scaring, such as water or food, and occurs almost in every day's life. Meanwhile, irrational motives often happen when the product is exclusive or highly-priced. Such needs that can be categorized to develop from irrational motives include most luxury goods. The motives can also be classified as latent, passive, and active motives. The consumers themselves can sometimes know the need, or the cost of purchase can be over the consumer's expectation of satisfaction. The consumer can also know the demand, and the consumer is clear how the product can satisfy their life of emotions. According to Maslow's theory, the motivation of consumer purchasing can be divided into five stages through which the consumer will find their needs stage by stage starting from Physiological needs, Safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs to self-actualization needs (Lester, 2017). When a person has satisfied the need from one step, the person will then try to reach the next stage upwards. For instance, when a person has met his Physiological needs, such as having enough food and water, the person will then move not to the next stage of safety needs. Thus people will always try to reach the next stage once a previous stage's need has been satisfied.
Secondly, a consumer will gather information, trying to get the best product to satisfy their needs since most people demand a low price with good quality (Jones, 2014). However, most products cannot have both, and thus, the consumer will try to get some information to make the best benefits from a product. This information gathering and be categorized as internal and external, where internal once means the consumer makes the decision of purchasing a product based on their knowledge or opinion. The information can sometimes be taken from memory or own experience. For example, when a person tried the Mac burger from McDonald's and found it good, then the person might choose the same product the next time when they are hungry. On the other hand, external information gathering can happen when the person gets their information from outside sources such as TV, radio, internet, or recommendation from other people. It mostly happens for the consumer to compare between all information they can get and find the best deal, appearance, and quality they can find from the product. Upon gathering of the information regarding a product, the consumer then weighs whether the product is likely to satisfy their needs and if it can then they move to the next step of evaluating alternatives to the product identified.
The third step in the model is proposition or alternative evaluation where an individual or organization gathers all the available information they can get to decide on the product that is best for them (Khan, 2018). However, the individual or business might consider another alternative decision and decide on the one that best suits their needs. This can be done by ranking the products and deciding on the most appropriate based on rational and irrational reasons. Also, the evaluation may be influenced by the existing taste among other consumers as well as the rating the products have. For example, a consumer may want to buy a specific type of product but does not know what company to buy it from and thus end up solving the problem by deciding on which company has the best rating and value of money. This is evident in the mobile phone industry where most consumers opt for Iphone as compared to other brands due to the ratings and the existing taste of the products in the market.
The fourth step of the six-step model of consumer behavior is proposition selection. This step comes in when an individual or business has selected what they want and finds it to fit their specific needs (Khan, 2018). However, due to the time taken before acquiring them, the product goes out of the market, and thus, the individual or business has to re-evaluate on what they want to buy. As a result, the individual or business will have to settle for the second option that they ranked as the best fit for their needs. This selection can either be tasked and non-tasked, where it involves the marketing ads present in a shop to lead customers to purchase more than the product they list down. Thus sales or promotion can guide the consumer to buy stuff that they never aimed to buy and thus affect the proposition process.
The fifth step of the six models of consumer buying behavior is the purchasing stage which occurs upon need recognition and completion of information gathering. Once the consumer has been contented with the findings from the information search, they now decide to purchase the product. Despite, the stage of purchase being reached after the completion of all stages leading to a conversion, it is never a sure bet that the customer is going to purchase as the consumer may be lost and thus necessitating the need for marketing at this stage as it was in the previous stages. However, marketing at this stage is straight forward and thus need to be kept simple by testing the brand's purchase process online to ascertain whether it is complicated with many steps or the site's loading time is slow to distract the customers (Sinha & Johri, 2016). Furthermore, marketing at this stage involves checks and making adjustments to the selling process to ensure that customers have less hassle purchasing products since when the process is too difficult, both customers and revenue can be lost easily.
The final step of the consumer buying process is the post-evaluation step, which involves customers deciding whether they are satisfied with the decision made to purchase the product. Therefore, it is evident that even if the purchase has been made, this is not the end of consumers being influenced to buy a product since their dissatisfaction would mean loss of loyalty and revenues as they would not return to purchase it any longer. This is because if the customer feels as if they made an incorrect decision to purchase the product, they may opt to return it, which would result in losses or revenue and customers. However, if they are satisfied with the decision of buying the product, then they could return to purchase more. Hence, to mitigate the issue of customers returning products, the business needs to identify the source of dissonance and offer an exchange that is simple and straightforward (Sinha & Johri, 2016). However, it is important to note that even if the customer is satisfied with a product, the probability of them making a future purchase from the brand is still in question and thus making the need to make follow-up surveys and emails to thank the customer for making the purchase as well as inviting them to buy the brand another time. Some business offer rewards for referrals to reach more customers as well as use the buyers as ambassadors of their products.
Among the areas that the consumer proposition acquisition model above has been applied is the elimination of Kodak in the photography industry due to their failure to listen to consumers motives to introduce digital cameras that would better serve their needs. Besides, the publishing industry is another example of how the gathering of information could help a business overcome its competitors by availing critical information to its consumers. For instance, one can gather information from Amazon before proceeding to purchase a book which has aided it to remain competitive in the market as their customers do not rely on biased blogs for crucial information regarding their products. Additionally, celebrity endorsements have done a great deal in aiding consumer proposition or alternative evaluation since through association of a brand with a celebrity; it is more likely for consumers to consider the brand as compared to those that have no celebrity endorsements.
In conclusion, consumer buying behavior is influenced by many factors that have been exhaustively addressed by the six-step model of consumer propositions and acquisition. Since purchasing is an everyday issue, businesses need to invest in ensuring that all the customer needs are well addressed across all the steps to avoid losing customers along the process. Besides, businesses need to embrace the real-time feedback system to ensure that they reap from the benefits of high product ratings as far as consumer persuasion is concerned. On the other side, it is also important for customers to adhere to these steps to ensure that they get value for their money and get fully satisfied upon acquisition of the various products.
Jones, S. (2014). The Six Stages of the Consumer Buying Process and How to Market to Them. Retrieved from https://www.business2community.com/consumer-marketing/six-stages-consumer-buying-process-market-0811565
Khan, S. (2018). Factors Affecting Consumer Buying Behaviour and Consumer Preference towards Organized Retail Outlets in India. Journal of Advances and Scholarly Researches in Allied Education, 15(5), 202-211. doi:10.29070/15/57734
Lester, D. (2017). Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow). Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, 1-6. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1483-1
Mandel, N., Rucker, D. D., Levav, J., & Galinsky, A. D. (2017). The Compensatory Consumer Behavior Model: How self-discrepancies drive consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 27(1), 133-146. doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2016.05.003
Sinha, A. K., & Johri, D. B. (2016). Product-related factors affecting consumer online buying decision. Management Insight - The Journal of Incisive Analysers, 12(1). doi:10.21844/mijia.v12i1.11387
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