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Consumer buying behaviour process

Consumer buying behaviour process

What is consumer buying behaviour?

According to Kotler et al (2009), consumer behaviour is the study of how individuals or groups buy, use and dispose of goods, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy their needs and wants. Consumer behaviour can be divided into two types: high-involvement behaviour and low-involvement behaviour. High-involvement behaviour is also called complex buying behaviour.

Customers sometimes spend a lot of time to make a decision to buy a product/service. They become heavily involved in the purchasing process. This involvement is called high-involvement or complex buying behaviour. High-involvement behaviour can be seen as a process which contains the following stages:

Problem recognition

In this stage, customers recognise that they have a problem to deal with. For example, a customer has decided to go to Dubai on holiday. Problem recognition is also called Need Recognition.

Information search

Having identified a problem, the customers need to search for information which can address their problem. Going back to the holiday example, the customer should now search for airlines going to Dubai from his/her home country. Airlines such as Qantas, British Airways, Qatar Airways, and Emirates may be some of the examples.

Evaluation of alternatives

The customer should now carry out an evaluation of alternative airlines which have flights to Dubai. He/she must evaluate the best option possible based on a number of criteria e.g. price, in-flight service, safety standard, duration of the journey and so on. Is it Qantas, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates or any other airlines?

Purchase decision

The customer now needs to make the final decision on buying the product/service. The Internet has made purchasing products/services easier than ever before. The customer can log on to the website of the selected airlines to book a flight very easily and comfortably.

Post-purchase behaviour

It refers to the feeling the customers have after consuming a product/service. The feeling may be positive, neutral, or even negative. It is not unusual for customers to have concerns after making a purchase decision.

To sum-up, consumer buying behaviour is a process. However, this process is mostly associated with complex buying behaviour. Marketers need a comprehensive  understanding of consumer buying behaviour so that they can develop and implement marketing strategies to address the needs and desires of their customers.

The article publication date: 07 December 2016

Further reading/references

Kotler et al. (2009) Marketing Management, 1st European Edition, Prentice Hall

Lancaster, G and Reynolds, P. (2004) Marketing. 1st Edition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Photo credit: Pixabay

Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.