MODELS OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
After reading this unit, you should be able to: • • • • identify the different levels of consumer decision-making explain the process of consumer decision-making differentiate between types of buyer decision behaviour describe the buyer behaviour with the help of an input, process, output model
Structure 9.1 Introduction 9.2 What Is a Decision? 9.3 Levels of Consumer Decisions 9.4 Process of Decision- Making 9.5 Types of Purchase Decision Behaviour 9.6 Stages in the Buyer Decision Process 9.7 Models of Buyer Behaviour 9.8 Summary 9.9 Key Words 9.10 Self-assessment Questions 9:11 Further Readings
In this unit we shall examine how a consumer actually arrives at the decision to purchase a specific product or brand out of the so many available in the market. Or, in other words, we shall study the process of consumer decision-making. In the previous unit we had discussed a simple model of consumer decision-making, comprising an input, process and an output. A consumer receives stimuli from the environment and the specifics of the marketing strategies of different products and services, and responds to these stimuli in terms of either buying or not buying the product. In between the stage of receiving the stimuli and responding to it, the consumer goes through the process of making his decision.
WHAT IS A DECISION?
A decision is the selection of an alternative out of the several number of alternatives available. It is only when theme are two or more alternatives available that there is the need to make a choice. In the field of consumer behaviour, we are only concerned with situation in which the consumer has to take a purchase decision where there is a choice available.
LEVELS OF CONSUMER DECISIONS
As a buyer or consumer you are all the time making decisions such as what product to buy (a book or a shirt as a birthday present for your friend), Which brand (Lux, Liril, Hamam, Rexona or OK toilet soap) from where (Super Bazar, nearby corner shop, chemist), etc. Table 1 presents a summary of the different levels of purchase related decisions most commonly encountered by consumers. The table highlights the broad range of choices the consumers have to select from when making a decision, starting from the generic product category level to the brand level and retail outlet level.
PROCESS OF DECISION-MAKING
The most basic and important requirement for the marketer is to understand how consumers make choices. Ajzen and Fishbein have attempted to explain human choice behaviour in their theory of reasoned action which states that: "Generally speaking-human beings are usually quite rational and make systematic use of information available to them. People consider the implications of their actions before they decide to engage or not to engage in a given behaviour." Thus, making a decision is a rational and conscious process in which the consumer evaluates each of the available alternatives to select the best amongst them. Each decision you make involves an elaborate mental thought process, a degree of active reasoning, though on the surface it may not always seem to be so. This may be because over a period of time you have taken certain decisions so many times that they now seem to be made almost automatically but that is not true at all. Even your daily decision of buying a loaf of bread involves the element of active reasoning as buying a new sofa set for your drawing room. However, in the former case, the extent and intensity of active reasoning may be much less as compared to the latter case.
In the case of bread, the only decision variables may be which brand, quantity and retail outlet. But in case of buying a sofa set the decision variables are far more in number. These may be: • • • • • ready-made or made to order from a furniture shop or...