Buyer Behaviour

.. ers. Social surroundings such as the person that the students are with will either increase or decrease search. Health Supplements As decision making for purchasing for health supplements is a very low involvement activity, the consumers may recall their past experiences. The consumer purchases the recalled brand, and habitual decision-making has occurred.

For example, a student who has an allergy problem may recall the previous brand of allergy relief they have used previously, therefore the allergy relief is purchased at the nearest store without further information search or evaluation. In other cases, when students have a different health problem to what they have before, they will start to search information for the cure of that new problem. Students can get information by asking their friends and families for advice or they can simply go into the store and ask the sales person for their opinions. However, students will have limited external information search before the purchase of the health supplements they need. That is because the information they need can be obtained quickly within just one visit to a pharmacy store. There is no need to compare the prices between stores because they are more likely to be the same.

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The consumer’s perceived risk for health supplements is low; therefore consumers are not likely to engage in extensive problem solving and search as they would for products such as formal clothing. In the questionnaire conducted regarding to health supplements and formal clothing, respondents were asked to fill in a table base on Judy Zaichowsky’s Personal Involvement Inventory (1994). The table required respondents to rank health supplements and formal clothing from one to seven for different involvement attributes. The results are displayed on the graph below: As the graph shows, students responded that formal clothing is consider to be much greater of importance than health supplements. Most attributes were ranked higher for formal clothing and health supplements were ranked lower due to its less importance to students.

4.3 Evaluating of Alternatives While consumers are gathering information about various alternative solutions to a recognised problem, they evaluate the alternatives and select actions that seem most likely to solve the problem. Evaluative criteria are the various features a consumer looks for in response to a particular problem. The number of evaluative criteria used by consumers depends on the product, the consumer and the situation. ((Neal, Quester & Hawkins, 2000, p.5.3-5.4 & p.5.22) Formal Clothing In the process of evaluation, a student will evaluate the characteristics of various formal clothing and choose the one that is most likely to fulfil her or her needs. The evaluative criteria of the students include tangible cost, social and psychological measures. The importance of particular evaluative criteria differs from consumer to consumer.

The decision to purchase formal clothing is base on the following evaluative criteria: Price – the price range in which the students can afford and the price they are willing to pay. There are many important aspects associated with the evaluation of price. These include the alternatives they have to substitute in order to buy the formal clothing. Quality – this also involves price; as to what level of quality they want for their formal clothing will sometime depend on price. If they desire a high quality material formal clothing it is more likely going to cost higher in price. Brand – many students have their preferred brands. Even though the style does not appeal to them but the brand name may have a big impact for some certain students.

Because the brand has an image that is desirable, and because students trust it to mean durability and style. Style – this involves their desired social and psychological state after purchasing. It includes how the students will want their reference groups to see them if he or she wears the formal clothing. And how they want to feel when they wear that formal clothing they have bought. Store – students have their preferred store when come to choose their formal clothing.

This may due to their previous purchasing experiences at that particular store. All of the above evaluative criteria will be used by the students to judge the suitability of each potential purchase. The evaluative criteria regarding the purchase of formal clothing are complex due to the level of perceived risk involved with such a high involvement purchase. Typically, high involvement planned purchases (such as formal clothing) follow the more complex compensatory decision rules. A compensatory model involves students evaluating each formal wear they view across all need criteria. In this instance, one formal wear may compensate for weaknesses in one criterion. However, often consumers will go through different stages of rules, that is, they will utilise a range of rules when evaluating alternatives with different attributes being evaluated by different rules at each stage.

There are certain criteria regarding the purchase of formal clothing that the students is not willing to accept at a minimum level. Style and price are two attributes that was found from the interviews. Students are not prepared to lower their expectations; therefore the compensatory model does not always apply in this situation. These two criteria are more non-compensatory rules. Initially a disjunctive approach was adopted by respondents, where they would evaluate all formal clothing that meet their requirements concerning style. Then they would move onto an elimination-by-aspects approach. This involved them choosing formal clothing that rated highest on their next most important criteria (price), and then continuing through the other attributes (brand, quality) until only one formal wear remained.

In summary, the formal clothing purchase decision involves both compensatory and non-compensatory models depending on the stages of the evaluation. At early stages of evaluation non-compensatory rules is used but as the process moves towards making a decision to a purchase the compensatory rules become more important. Health Supplements In health supplements evaluation, involved consumers would find many brands unacceptable, whereas the uninvolved consumers would find many brands acceptable. And also the involved consumer would be more attentive to advertising and would interpret and consider the message being communicated. The less involve consumer would be less attentive to ad messages and more likely to accept them.

Uninvolved consumers are more willing to consider a wide range of brands because of a lack of commitment to one or several brands. Given a lack of commitment, they are less willing to spend time interpreting advertising messages and evaluating brands. As a result of this, consumers purchase the most familiar brand and buy the same brand repetitively. Due to all this, the evaluative criteria for health supplements are not as complex as for the formal clothing. Therefore the health supplements purchase decision is not considered appropriate to use the compensatory decision rules.

In the process of purchasing the health supplements, the number of evaluative criteria used is few. Three out of four respondents that complete the questionnaire said that they most often purchased the health supplements from a store that is convenient and has the sales person’s expertise of the health supplements. The non-compensatory model is more suitable because the students tend to rate their evaluative criteria first in terms of the convenience of the stores, secondly their familiarity with the e products offered, and lastly, their evaluation of the price of products offered. Therefore, the elimination-by-aspects and lexicographic rules are more applicable in this case. 4.4 Purchase Decision Formal Clothing The formal clothing purchase is planned in al instances.

It involves the consumer moving from an intention to buy to a commitment to buy. The time between intention to buy and the actual purchase is typically longer concerning high involvement decisions. In another word, a purchase involves a complex decision is not normally made immediately. Sometimes the purchase being made is not always as planned. That is because many factors can still influence consumers’ planned purchases.

For example, a student might have evaluate all the formal clothing that fits his or her requirements, then he or she may have made a decision on which one he or she wants to buy; but maybe then he or she saw a sale at in a store, and then he or she ended up buying in from a different store as to what he or she has originally decided. Many students end up buying a particular formal clothing due the person that is with them with the time; friends and families have major influences on their purchases. Store atmosphere is also an important factor for purchase. In the formal clothing questionnaires, three out of four respondents said that their final purchase of the formal clothing is affected by the store’s atmosphere. A pleasant atmosphere will encourage a purchase most likely. Stock outs may also affect a purchase.

Many consumers would have thought and decide what they would like to buy in which store. But then stock out may occur then the consumer must decide between whether to buy the same brand but at another store, switching brands, delay the purchase or just end up going without the purchase altogether. Health Supplements The purchase decision in regard to health supplements ranges from planned purchases, for instance a student knows they have to stay up late because there is an assignment due the next day therefore they need to buy some energy pills, through to impulse situations where the consumer is shopping in supermarkets and they realize they need to buy some pills to boost their immune systems because they have been getting sick all the time; therefore problem is induced and the purchase situation is brought about. Consumers buying health supplements do not care much on where they buy their products from. Therefore, the store layout and the store atmosphere don’t really have a big influence on customers when comes to the purchase.

4.5 Post Purchase Process Formal Clothing Purchase of formal clothing is a high involvement purchase decision; most high involvement purchase decisions involve one or more of the factors that lead to post purchase dissonance. Post dissonance occurs when after making a difficult, relatively permanent decision to a chosen alternative requires the person making the decision to give up the attractive features of the unchosen alternatives. For example, a student bought a expensive formal dress that is of a well know brand, but then she discover that the dress was not well perceived by her peers the way she had wanted in the first place; therefore, post dissonance occurs. The level of satisfaction was determined by the initial performance expectations and the perceived performance relative to those expectations. Basically, consumers develop certain expectations about the ability of the product to fulfill instrumental and symbolic needs.

The students determine whether or not the formal clothing meets their expectations by Asking around their friends for opinion on whether or not they think the purchase they have made is correct. Reactions from others when they seem them wear the formal clothing they have purchased. If they have purchased the formal clothing value for money. For example, there might be a sale at a store for formal clothing, and they may found that the one they have bought is better or worse than the one that is on sale. To the extent that the product meets these needs, satisfaction is likely to result. Most of the respondent from the interview said that they were reasonably satisfied with the overall purchase they have made.

And three out of four respondents said they evaluate the formal clothing after purchase by asking their friends’ opinions or from their friends’ reaction. Health Supplements The health supplements are evaluated after the purchase only if there is a noticeable product failure such as the tablets they have bought did not perform as what they have expected. Most likely, if students were dissatisfied with the product failure, they are likely to turn and try other brands of a similar product next time. 5.0 Implications for Marketing Strategy As consumer markets become more and more competitive, marketers need to understand very thoroughly both the needs and desires of their potential consumers; which product features can be combined to satisfy these needs and desires. A better knowledge of consumer behaviour can enhance the company’s understanding of itself and its environment. Product bought by habit and low involvement purchases such as health supplements tend to be purchased more frequently in which provide a greater opportunity for positive reinforcement and brand loyalty.

With each successive purchase of the same brand, the chances of consumers buying again increases until there is a high probability that the consumer will continue to repurchase. It is important for marketing management to identify the position of its brand in the market and as the strategic implications of this applies to every aspect of the marketing strategy. Companies selling low-involvement, habitual products such as health supplements must ensure that their products are distributed extensively. This is because the health supplements industry produces high turnover and low margin products. Widespread distribution is important as consumers seeing the products often will help remind them to buy, and it also keeping with the fact that the most consumers purchase the health supplements from a particular store because of the store’s convenience.

Many health supplements companies have been successful in their distribution of their products. Healtheries has climbed to number on in personal products in the supermarkets, this success is attributed to the channel switching from chemists and health food shops to super market chains. (Marketing, 1999, p.23). Concerning health supplements purchases, sales person’s expertise in health supplements is essential. The retailers will need to train their sales people to have adequate knowledge about the products they are selling. Many consumers buy from stores like pharmacies and health food stores because they need to seek more information about the health supplements products; therefore, it is important that the retailers can provide information for their customers.

The nature of advertising and promotion also differs according to the involvement level of the purchase. In low-involvement decision process, consumers engage in very little external search before they make a purchase. Therefore it is crucial that consumers immediately think of the company’s brand when they recognise a problem. To create such brand awareness, the company needs to do mass advertising so that its brand is quickly recalled from consumers’ long-term memory. In contrast, market characterized by complex decision making such as formal clothing market are more likely to use advertising selectively to convey their information to a specific audience.

Complex decision-making requires promotions that will stimulate prepurchase deliberation. Marketers should rely more on advertising and personal selling for this purpose. When consumers perceive a significant risk in purchasing of a product, the company should try to lower that perception of customers. There are a number of strategies in which can be done to lower the consumers perceptions of risk for formal clothing and health supplements product. These can be: Price the product higher than average.

(health supplements) Give good warranties and guarantees. (formal clothing) Distribute the product through retailers that have a high-quality image. (health supplements and formal clothing) Use a high-quality sales force composed of people who can give consumers convincing reassurance. (health supplements) Develop an extensive image-building campaign for the product and the company. (health supplements and formal clothing) Provide customer service number.

(health supplements) Provide lots of information about the product through brochures, packaging, instructions, articles in magazines and a well-trained sales force. (health supplements) To conclude, here is a summary of the strategies in which can be used by manufacturers and retailers of high and low-involvement decision processes products: High-Involvement Decision Processes Promotion 1. Sell product through skilled sales force. 2. Use strong persuasive messages in advertising.

Distribution 1. Use a more limited distribution system. 2. Ensure that distributors are trained to provide outstanding service. Pricing 1.

Consider charging premium prices. 2. Avoid use of frequent sales. Low-Involvement Decision Processes Promotion 1. Use mass advertising to create sales awareness. 2. Use heavy amounts of repeat messages. Distribution 1.

Use an extensive distribution strategy. 2. Consider use of coupons and other price incentives to reach more price-conscious groups. 6.0 Conclusion The decision-making processes of health supplements and formal clothing are completely different. The level of involvement the consumers has in the purchasing decision for formal clothing is high, this is because their perceived risks such as financial and psychological risks are high as well.

In contrast, the health supplements purchase has little or no risks involved therefore low involvement occurs in the purchase decision. A consumer simply feels a physical problem will purchase health supplements. There is not need for an extended information search because the consumer does not consider the purchase important enough to was time and effort in its search. The formal clothing purchases in another hands; involve an extensive information search. The types of information search also have influences on the types of advertising used.

Regarding to the low-involvement health supplements purchase, mass audiences are targeted through repetitive advertising. Marketers must try to induce a higher level of involvement from customers through their advertising and promotion strategies. Formal clothing advertising is much more specialised and focused. Marketer uses persuasive advertising messages to induce sales. And informative and detailed advertising are often used to assist consumers in their information search.

The complex nature of the evaluative criteria of formal clothing reinforces this idea, where alternative solutions are evaluated using numerous criteria, in contrast to health supplements are mainly evaluated mainly on the basis of convenience and sales force’s expertise. Post purchase dissonance was found in one of the formal clothing respondent where the purchase did not really meet his expectation. The main factor that influences the respondent’s purchase of formal clothing is style. This is due to the high perceive risk in their self-esteem. The purchase can range from planned to impulse purchase and most consumers buying health supplements adopt a ‘store first, brand second’ approach. The final purchase is of significance important to the marketers since it represents profits for after all their marketing efforts.

Therefore the decision making processes that consumers goes through is also important as it helps the marketer to gain an understanding of the way to increased their revenue. The ability for marketers to apply strategies that influences the consumers’ decision is the key to successful marketing. 7.0 References Lilley, R. US giant will pep up Local Vitamin Market. (1996 March 1).

The National Business Review, p.32. Hanna, N., & Wozniak, R. (2001). Consumer Behaviour: An applied approach. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Mowen, J.C., & Minor, M. (1998). Consumer Behaviour (5th Ed.). New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Neal, C., Quester, P., & Hawkins, D. (2000), Consumer Behaviour: Implications for marketing strategy (2nd Ed.). Australia: McGraw-Hill.

Tossman, D. Who’s winning the battle of the Shelves?. Marketing, p.23. 8.0 Marketing Essays.