Consumer buying behavior is a complex phenomenon that needs to be analyzed carefully, because a lot of factors affecting consumer buying behavior like environmental, psychological etc. Moreover, consumers react differently to the same set of Marketing Ingredients (4P’s) which shows that each consumer has certain background and motivations that are resulted in different behaviors. But the basic rule working behind the behavior of every consumer is that he tries to satisfy his needs and wants. So those companies which are focusing on this rule can effectively understand the consumer buying behaviors of the consumers in the market.
Types of Consumer Buying Behavior
Mainly there are four major types of consumer buying behavior which are based on the intensity of involvement in buying and the alternative options of the product (brand). These are as follows.
- Complex Buying Behavior
- Dissonance-Reducing Buying Behavior
- Habitual Buying Behavior
- Variety-Seeking Buying Behavior
Each of these are discussed one by one.
- Complex Buying Behavior:
Complex buying behavior is exhibited by the consumers, when the involvement level in a purchasing is high and also there are different brands available in the market that represent different values. In such cases the product searched for buying is relatively expensive and risky. The product also covers the aspect of self expression and the frequency of purchase is also occasionally. This means that the customer searching for such types of products wants to understand about the category of product completely. He makes efforts in this regard to obtain the highly beneficial product that can best meet his requirements.
For example, if a consumer wants to purchase a personal computer, then he cannot get the clear idea of computer through his RAM, Processor etc. Instead, he first tries to make his beliefs about the categories of different brands of computers. After which he develops his attitudes and finally purchase a certain personal computer on the basis of his learning process. The companies should understand the behavior of consumers in the gathering of information and its evaluation. The marketers of the companies need to explain the attributes and the importance of the different offered brands to such consumers. They should reflect the features and benefits of each brand to motivate the consumer for making a purchase of high involvement.
- Dissonance Reducing Buying Behavior
Dissonance Reducing Buying Behavior represents such case in which the involvement of the consumers is high, but the available brands show less differences. The purchase of the product is relatively quicker in this kind. For example, in case of purchasing of a carpet by a consumer, he first learns all the available brands with their relative specifications like price etc. As carpet is also self expressive and expensive product, but its alternative brands have little difference among them. So, the consumer tries to check every brand quickly and make a purchase mostly on the basis of given price or the ease of purchase.
After a purchase, there may also a problem of post purchase dissonance by the consumer, in case when the features or benefits declared by the company do not completely exhibited by the product (carpet), or even when the carpet shows some disadvantages too. In such case, the company should provide after sale service for the help and support of such problems of the customers.
- Habitual Buying Behavior
Habitual Buying Behavior is one of the types of Consumer Buying Behavior in which the involvement of consumers in the purchase is low along with the few differences among the alternative brands. In this case the products offered are cheap and purchased frequently. For example, if a consumer purchases sugar from the market, he exhibits habitual behavior in such a way that he does not inquires different brands and prices of sugar. Instead, he buys it simply from the first shop without making any extra efforts.
In habitual buying the consumers are not involved in the learning process of understanding the features of brands, nor they develop attitudes to make a purchase. Instead, they are involved in passive learning in which they get brand familiarity through different sources like magazines, advertising, television etc. When consumers are familiar with any brand, they just buy it without exhibiting post purchase evaluation because they are not fully involved in the purchase.
The companies offering low involvement product with few brand differences should use the factor of price and sales promotion to increase its sales of products. The company should use the symbols and images to create the brand awareness, because these things can easily be remembered. Moreover the television is preferred for advertising in which short duration ads are shown repeatedly so that the consumers can easily remember the brand. Another trick in this regard is that the companies should link its low involvement products to certain relative issues. Just like any toothpaste manufacturing company can link its toothpaste to prevent cavities. This linking would make a low involvement product into high involvement, which in turns increase the sales of the company.
- Variety-Seeking Buying Behavior
The fourth type of Consumer Buying Behavior is variety-seeking buying behavior in which the involvement of consumer is low, but the brands exhibit much perceived difference. In such situations, consumers are switched more from one product to another. For example a consumer wants to buy a cookie, so he does not try to learn different brand and specifications of cookies, rather, he simply buys a certain brand of cookie and make use of it to make an evaluation, and the next time he may buy another brand of cookie. This switching of consumer from one brand to another is not based on the dissatisfaction, but on the base of testing the variety.
The companies should adopt different marketing strategies based on the market share. The market leaders should promote the habitual buying by keeping the larger shelf space, increased stocks on the shelves and showing repeating advertising messages. While the firms holding a little market share, should adopt different marketing strategies, which encourages variety seeking behavior by reducing prices of products, coupons, free samples, special deals along with the advertising that provide reasons to test something new.