The Consumer Decision-Making Process as it relates to Replacing a Laptop Computer Introduction As firms and markets have grown in size, many marketing decision makers are physically, demographically or socially isolated from their customers and so must turn to consumer research (Kettle, 2008). The consumer that I have chosen to analyses is a middle class female, who is in her ass, and has recently started her own cleaning company. She has broken her laptop and is considering what device she should buy to replace it.
She works from home ND needs to be able to communicate with her employees and clients. She very rarely travels, but when she does she prefers to communicate by phone and be hands free. She also likes to read electronic books whilst traveling. Functionality and price are both equally important to her. In this report I will be describing the characteristics that affect this consumer’s behavior, outlining the consumer decision-making process as it relates to purchasing replacement devices, and providing recommendations of how they can influence the stages of the decision-making process.
The Characteristics that Affect Consumer Behavior There are four types of characteristics that affect consumer behavior: cultural, social, personal and psychological. Marketers cannot control these factors, but they must take them into account (Kettle, 2008). Personal characteristics include age and lifestyle stage, occupation, economic situation, lifestyle and personality (Kettle, 2008). This is one of the main characteristics that can affect this consumer buying decision e. G. Most consumers when purchasing technology products will try the product in-store, but decide to purchase the product online because prices were cheaper.
Younger consumers, such s the one described, are more likely to exhibit this behavior, when compared to older consumers, partly because they are more familiar with navigating the web for online purchases (Minted Report, 2012). Consumers also tend to stick to brands they know when they are looking for technology products. Those most likely to exhibit this behavior include young consumers aged 16-24 (Minted Report, 2012). This might be due to as a result of social pressures. Lifestyle is a person’s pattern of living as expressed in his or her activities, interests and opinions (Kettle, 2008).
In this case the consumer would base her decision on her interests such as reading electronic books. Research shows that female laptop shoppers are more interested in styling and design and also require more assistance at the point of sale (Minted Report, 2009). Cultural factors have a significant impact on consumer behavior. Culture is the most basic cause of a person’s wants and behavior. Growing up, children learn basic values, perception and wants from the family and other important groups. Marketers might be wanted by customers (Kumara, 2012).
The Types of Consumer Buying Decisions Complex buying behavior is the type of buying decision behavior that would be associated with this purchase. Often noticeable by consumer confusion, this behavior is demonstrated when consumers are highly involved in a purchase and perceive significant differences among brands. Marketers are offered with an opportunity to influence the purchase decision at the stage where consumers seek information about a products attributes and differential value. Products in complex buying decisions are usually expensive, not bought very often, and highly expressive of the individual buyer (Sloppier, 2006).
When buying a laptop, you need to pay a big sum of money. People don’t usually buy a laptop more than very five years. The laptop also says a lot about its user. When consumers get involved in the buying decision and perceive big differences among brands, it is seen as a complex buying decision. Consumers in the complex buying category want to make the best possible decision, and so they have high involvement in their buying behavior. Therefore they need to know as much as they can about the type of product and the available brands.
When buying these products, consumers tend to experience cognitive dissonance. This is described as a buyers discomfort caused by post purchase conflict (Kettle, 2008). Marketers therefore need to understand the information-gathering and evaluation behavior of such consumers. They need to help buyers to learn about the features of this type of product and the importance of each feature (Sloppier, 2006). Other products that may warrant this type of buying behavior, that would be suitable for this consumer include: Notebooks, Tablets, desktop, and an eBook reader.
The consumer wanting to buy a computer, or any of these other alternatives, may not know what attributes to look for. She may want to purchase an eBook reader, as she enjoys reading electronic books. In terms of digital, reading, the e-reader is by far the most popular device, but perhaps most surprising result is that approaching one in ten adults has read a book on a laptop, more than has read a book on a tablet computer (Minted Report, 2012). This shows that buying an eBook reader may not be suitable for this consumer as price is important to her.
As the consumer can read eBooks on the laptop, it would be more appropriate for her to save money and not buy an eBook reader. The Components of the Decision-Making Process The buying decision process starts with need recognition, where the buyer recognizes a problem or need (Kettle, 2008). The consumer identifies that she has an unsatisfied need to be satisfied. In this case, the consumer has broken her laptop, and is in need of a new device to work on business related tasks. She needs portability in the computer to work at home as well as, whilst traveling.
She also is when she recognizes she needs a new device to fit her needs. It is important for marketers to research consumers to find out what kind of needs or problems arise, what brought them about and what led the consumers to this particular product (Kettle, 2008). This stage does not take very long; it could be as simple as recognizing hat you need to buy more milk. Information search is the next stage in the process, in which the consumer is aroused to search for more information (Kettle, 2008).
Here, the consumer becomes more interested to information about any suitable device that can replace her broken laptop. The consumer would gather information about laptop brands such as HP, Dell, Mac, Acre etc. Information can be gathered internally or externally; internal search includes from memory, external includes from friends or relatives. A successful information search leaves a buyer with possible alternatives called the evoked set. ‘ The evoked set is only a fraction of brands the consumer is aware of, and a still smaller fraction of the total number of brands actually on the market (Howard & Sheet, 1969).
Evaluation of alternatives is the stage of the buyer decision process in which the consumer uses information to evaluate alternative brands in the choice set (Kettle, 2008). The consumer evaluates products based on the chosen criteria such as performance, durability, warranty, price, after sales services, and quality on a competitive basis. In this case, this consumer who gathered information about laptop rand’s such as HP, Dell, Mac and Acre, will now evaluate the product in terms of price, durability, speed, warranty, performance and color.
How consumers go about evaluating purchase alternatives depends on the individual consumer and the specific buying situation. Marketers should study buyers to find out how they actually evaluate brand alternatives. If they know what evaluative processes go on, marketers can take steps to influence the buyers decision (Kettle, 2008). After evaluating all the alternatives, the consumer’s purchase decision will be to buy the most preferred brand. For example, after the evaluation of many brands of opts the consumer decides to purchase a HP laptop due to its high battery life.
However, preferences and purchase intentions do not always result in the actual purchase choice. Many purchases involve taking some risks. Marketers must understand the factors that provoke feelings of risk in consumers and must provide information and support that will reduce the perceived risk (Kettle, 2008). Once the consumer has purchased the product, the consumer will be satisfied or dissatisfied and will engage in post purchase behavior. If the product was not what was expected, the consumer is disappointed; if it meets expectations, the consumer ill be satisfied.
Sellers should only promise what their brands can deliver so that buyers are satisfied and give positive feedback. In this case, if the consumer is happy with the HP laptop, she will recommend the product to her friends and relatives, and will become brand loyal by purchasing more HP products. If however she is not Marketing Recommendations For this consumer, functionality and price are equally important to her when deciding to buy a replacement for her laptop. A marketer needs to first identify his target consumers and understand their lifestyle, psychologies, income, spending abilities, to offer them the right product.
Individuals from lower income group would never be interested in buying expensive and luxurious products. The background and family status of an individual also influence her buying behavior. Selling a laptop to an individual who is not much educated would be pointless. In complex buying behavior, the buyer goes through a decision process consisting of need of recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post purchase behavior. The marketer should understand the buyer’s behavior at each state and what influences are operating (Raja, 2009).
This understanding will allow the marketer to develop an effective and efficient program for the target market. Marketers can use the marketing mix to target their market. The four As that are crucial to targeting the right market are product, place, price and promotion. While all four As are important a lot of stress is put on the price, this is because it does not matter how great the product is if it’s not priced correctly. The company might have the best product, but if it is overpriced no one will buy it.
The same will happen if you under price, the customer will not take the product seriously. Apple and Dell both sell imputer, but to whom they sell to and for what purposes is very different and that is why their pricing strategies are different. Place of distribution is also important. Product must be available to purchase online or anywhere that is convenient to the buyer. Goods must be available in the right locations, where customers wanted them in order for the business to do well.
Conclusion Consumer buying behavior refers to the buying behavior of final consumers. Consumer purchases are influenced strongly by cultural, social, personal, and psychological characteristics. Marketers cannot control such factors but must take hem into account. Personal and cultural characteristics are thought to be the two most relevant characteristics that would affect this consumers buying decision. Culture is the basic cause of a person’s wants and behavior. Personal factors include age, occupation, lifestyle, income, and personality.
The consumers choice results from the personal, cultural, social and psychological factors. Although the marketer cannot influence many of these factors, they can be useful in identifying interested buyers and shaping products to serve their needs consumers are highly involved in a purchase and perceive significant differences mongo brands, they undertake complex buying behavior. Buyers pass through stages to reach a buying decision. These stages include: need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision and post purchase behavior.
This model is used because it shows all the considerations that arise when a consumer faces a new and complex purchase situation, such as the one above. Marketers must understand how the 4 As are changed into responses; how the buyer’s characteristics influence how she perceives and reacts to the 4 As and how the buyers decision process itself affects the buyers behavior.