Consumer is considered as the king in the modern world market. So the main aim of every marketer is to meet the consumer needs and satisfy them better than the competitors. Marketers always look for emerging trends and innovations to attract the target customers. Consumer is the only factor which controls the whole market nowadays. So the behavior of the consumer in the different market situations should be analyzed to survive in the market. Consumer is a person who purchases goods or services for his end use. Consumer behavior is a psychological process in which the consumer plans to purchase a product, makes purchase decision, implements the plan and reviews the decision. Consumer behavior is controlled and influenced by various internal and external factors and those factors guide a person to buy or not to buy a particular product. The factors can be psychological factors, sociological factors or economic factors. The influence of these factors might be different in the consumers based on their mind sets. The process of the consumer behavior ends after taking a buying decision. The purchase decision making process involves several stages in which he consumer goes through mainly six steps and at last makes the decision of buying or rejecting a product.
Consumer behaviour is a process of decision making concerned to a product purchase. The end user’s psychological, economic, socal, personal and cultural factors leads him towards a particular commodity. Amog these the psychological factors have an important role which controls the mental process of a consumer and push him to take the buying decision. The buying decision process starts from problem recognition and ends with post purchase decision. The end user is the decision maker and who controls the whole market with his critical decision making process. The behaviour of the consumer decides the marketability and success of a product.
For example, a new soap is introduced by Hindustan Unilever and the in market there is a tight competition in this industry. If the product can attract the consumers with its quality and price then the product will survive. The decision to buy or not to buy that product is taken by the consumer only.
FACTORS AFFECTING CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
Consumer behavior refers to the selecting, purchasing and the consuming of goods and services for the satisfaction of their needs. There are different activities involved in the consumer behavior. Primarily the consumer assesses what’s his need and then purchases the most promising commodity.
After selecting the commodity the consumer analyzes the existing prices of commodities and takes the purchase decision about the commodities. In the meantime, there are various other factors influencing the purchases of consumer such as cultural, psychological, personal and social.
Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior
Chart 1 Source: (KELLER, 2009)
Psychological factors affecting consumer behavior
Out of these factors the psychological factors has a main role while purchasing a product. When we think from a human being perspective a consumer’s mind and his related personal characteristics influences and directs him what type of product should purchase or of what quality. The need of a consumer becomes a motive when he has an intense wish to buy something. The stimulus-response relation makes a consumer to make the purchase decision. The marketing and environmental stimuli enter the consumer’s consciousness, and along with some consumer personality which leads to purchase decision making. There are four key psychological processes- motivation, perception, memory and learning- mainly influence consumer behavior.
ROLE OF MOTIVATION IN CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
Among these factors motivation plays an important role in influencing the consumer behavior. The motivation level also affects the buying behavior of consumers. Every person has different needs such as physiological needs, biological needs, social needs etc. The nature of the needs is that, many of them are generally pressing while others are least pressing. Therefore a need becomes an object when it is more pressing to direct the person to hunt for satisfaction.
For example, a consumer may get motivated by an advertisement of a burger in television which is attractively shown and the advertisement is sequenced with good captions and conversations and who gets eager to run for it. The strategy used in advertisements stimulates the need in the mind of the buyer and he makes the decision.
If the consumer is motivated by a particular product then he has to go through the process of decision making. The decision making process is the crucial moments through which a the consumers decides the survival of a product in the market. Actually the outcome of their decision making process is the future of a commodity. There are six stages for the decision making process.
CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS
Stages of the Consumer Buying Process
Six Stages to the Consumer Buying Decision Process (For complex decisions). Actual purchasing is only one stage of the process. Not all decision processes lead to a purchase. All consumer decisions do not always include all 5 stages, determined by the degree of complexity…discussed next.
The 6 stages are:
Problem Recognition (need awareness)
It is the difference between the desired state and the actual condition. Hunger stimulates the need to eat. If a person has a particular drive to buy something or the need is triggered by the internal or external stimuli to buy something and becomes a possibility of making purchase.
Can be stimulated by the marketer through product information-did not know you were deficient? I.E., see an advertisement for a new pair of shoes, stimulates your recognition that you need a new pair of shoes.
Internal search, memory.
External search if you need more information. Friends and relatives (word of mouth). Marketer dominated sources; comparison shopping; public sources etc.
A successful information search leaves a buyer with possible alternatives, the evoked set.
Hungry, want to go out and eat, evoked set is
Evaluation of Alternatives–need to establish criteria for evaluation, features the buyer wants or does not want. Rank/weight alternatives or resume search. May decide that you want to eat something spicy, Indian gets highest rank etc.
If not satisfied with your choice then returns to the search phase. Can you think of another restaurant? Look in the yellow pages etc. Information from different sources may be treated differently. Marketers try to motivate by “increasing” alternatives.
Purchase decision-Consumer takes the buying decision regarding product, package etc.
Post-Purchase Evaluation–outcome: It is the state of Satisfaction or Dissatisfaction. I.e., Cognitive Dissonance, a question of: – have I made the right decision. This can be reduced by guarantees, warranties, after sales communication etc.
For example, after eating an Indian meal, may think that really you wanted a Chinese meal instead.
The motivational factors may be internal or external. Consumer may be motivated by his own feelings snd desire about a particular product or he can be motivated by some external recommendations. Consumer may resist the product recommendations conditional on the perceived credibility of the recommender and he relies on their own judgements.
INFLUENCE OF MOTIVATION IN CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
Motivational theories and its implications
People have many needs at any given time. The needs are influenced several psychological factors like motivation. Some needs are psychogenic or biogenic and the need becomes a drive or motive. When it becomes motive the inner urge to buy a product turn out to be a goal. There are several theories related to the concept of motivation. Two of the best known theories of consumer motivation- those of Abraham Maslow and Frederick Herzberg- implies some different concepts in consumer behavior.
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MASLOW’S NEED HIERARCHY THEORY OF MOTIVATION
Abraham Maslow wanted to explain why people are motivated by particular needs at particular times. The answer given by Maslow was the human needs are arranged in a hierarchy from most basic to least-psychological needs, safety needs, social needs, self esteem needs, and self actualization needs. People will try to satisfy their most basic and important need first. After succeeding the basic need, he will then goes to the next most important need. He divided the need to basic needs and the growth needs.
Source: (KOSHY, 2009)
The basic or deficiency needs are to be met first.
For example, a starving man [need 1] will not take an interest in any musical party [need 5], not in how he is viewed by others [need 3 or 4], not even in whether he’s breathing fresh air [need 2]; but when he has enough to eat and drink, the next most significant need will turn into prominent. As long as people are motivated to meet these needs, they are moving towards growth, toward self actualization.
Based on this theory the consumer has the basic and growth needs. If the consumer satisfies his basic needs he will look for the next. The degree of satisfaction depends upon the quality of the product or service which they get and in what level they get it.
For example, if the area of market is comprised of middle class people they need to buy products to meet their basic requirements. Say low cost bath soap- the marketer look for promotional activities to sell those products only. The marketer will not try to distribute high standard or high priced products.
Consequently, satisfaction of the consumer depends on the level where the performances of the product/service match to the consumer’s expectation connected to them. If the performances of the product are placed away from the buyer’s expectations, who will be unsatisfied, and if these correspond to the expectations, who will satisfied, when the performances of a product will bridge the buyer’s expectations, he will be contented.
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Once the basic needs like food, water, rest etc. needs area satisfied then the safety needs are to be met. Employment is a need of safe living. Monster.com, rediff.com like websites helps the consumers to meet their employment safety needs.
HERZBERG’S TWO FACTOR THEORY OF MOTIVATION
Herzberg developed a two factor theory of motivation that differentiates Motivational factors (factors cause satisfaction) from Hygiene factors (factors causing dissatisfaction). The absence of the hygiene factors is not enough to motivate a purchase but the satisfiers should be present. For example, a camera that does not come with a warranty would be a dissatisfier. However the presence of warranty of a product would not act as a motivator to purchase a product, because it’s not a source of built-in satisfaction. User-friendliness would be a satisfier.
Herzberg model of motivation
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