Generally, the purchaser passes through five distinct stages in taking a decision for purchasing a particular commodity. These stages are: (i) need arousal, (ii) information search, (iii) evaluation behavior, (iv) purchase decision, and (v) post purchase feelings. (i) Need arousal: The buying process starts with need arousal. A need can be activated through internal or external stimuli. A need can also be aroused by an external stimulus such as sight of a new thing in a shop while purchasing other things. There is two-fold significance of need arousal stage to a marketing man. > First the marketer must identify the drive that might actually or potentially connect to the product class or brand and make the buyer feel that the product can satisfy the drive, he feels, and => It also helps recognize that the need levels for the product fluctuate over time and are triggered by different cues. The marketer can arrange cues to conform better to the natural rhythms and timing of need arousal. (ii) Information search: After need arousal, the consumer tries to solve it and gathers the sources and information about the product.
Depending upon the intensity of need, it produces two states of individual. The first state is called heightened attention when the consumer becomes more receptive to the information regarding the item he needs. If a consumer needs to purchase a television, he will pay mere attention to TV ads and the remarks made by friends and associates about TVs. If need is more intense, the individual enters a state of active information search and he tries to collect more information about the product, its key attributes, qualities of various brands and about the outlets where they are available.
There are four consumer information sources. (i) Personal sources (family, friends, neighbors etc. ) (ii) Commercial sources (advertisements, salesmen, dealers). (iii) Public sources (mass media, consumer?rating organizations). (iv) Experiential sources (handling, examining, using the product). Identifying the information sources and their respective roles and importance calls for interviewing consumers about the sources of information and can use the findings to plan its advertisements. (iii) Evaluation behaviour: Having collected the information, the consumer clarifies and evaluates the lternatives. There is no simple and single evaluation process used by all consumers or even by one consumer in all buying situations. The most current process of evaluation is to judge the product largely on a conscious and rational basis. Various considerations form the part of judgment such as product attributes, importance, weights, brand image, utility function for each attribute, and attitude etc. After evaluation of various alternatives, he takes the decision to buy. 3 (iv) Purchase decision: Evaluation behaviour leads the consumer to form a ranked set of preferences.
Normally a consumer buys the article, he or she likes most but there are three more important consideration for taking the buying decision: (a) attitude of other such as of wife, relatives, and friends, (b) anticipated situational factors as expected family income, expected total cost of the product and the expected benefits of the product; (c) unanticipated situational factors as looks or manner of the salesman or the way business is carried on. The marketer must consider these factors and should try to provoke the feeling of risk in the consumer And attempt to provide information and support that will help him. v) Post purchase feelings: After buying and trying the product, the consumer will feel some level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction and level of satisfaction depends very much on the expectation and the product’s perceived performance. If the product matches up to his expectations, the consumer is satisfied; if it exceeds, he is highly satisfied; and if it falls short of expectations, he is dissatisfied. Participants in Individual buying process: Following are the different roles that persons can play in a buying decision: 1.
Initiator: The initiator is a person who first suggests or thinks of the idea of buying the particular product. For example, publisher of a book initiates the professor to ask the students of his class to purchase the book. Here publisher is the initiator, the first person to initiate the buying process. 2. Influencer: Influencer is a person who explicitly or implicitly has some influence on the final buying decision of others. Students are influenced by the advice of the professor while taking a decision to purchase a book. Here professor is the influencer.
3. Decider: The decider is a person who ultimately determines any part or whole of the buying decision, i. e. , whether to buy, what to buy, how to buy, when to buy or where to buy. Children are the deciders for buying the toys, house lady for kitchen provisions, and head of the family for durable or luxury items. 4. Buyer: The buyer is the person who actually purchase. Buyer may be the decider or he may be some other person. Children (deciders) are the deciders for purchasing the toys, but purchases are made by the parents. 5. User: User is the person who actually uses or consumes the services or products.
The marketer’s task is to study the buying process and its main participants and their role in the buying process. He should initiate all of them to make the purchases of his product at different stages and through different strategies. 4 Buying roles: Industrial buying What separates the industrial market structure and demand from the consumer market is that industrial markets normally concern far fewer but far larger buyers than the consumer markets. Industrial markets usually also have a more inelastic demand, that is, the total demand for many business products is not considerably affected by price changes.
Further- more, industrial purchases normally involve more buyers and more professional purchasing efforts. There are five roles in the industrial buying decision process: 1. Users: Users are members of the organisation who will use the product or service. In many cases, users initiate the buying proposal and help define product specifications. 2. Influencers: Influencers are people who influence the buying decision. They often help define specifications and also provide information for evaluating alternatives. Technical personnel are particularly important influencers. . Buyers: Buyers are people with formal authority to select the supplier and organize terms of purchase. Buyers may help outline product specifications, but they play their most important role in selecting vendors and in negotiating. In more complex purchases, buyers might include high-level officers participating in the negotiations. 4. Deciders: Deciders are people who have formal or informal control to select or approve the final suppliers. In routine buying, the buyers are often the deciders or at least the approvers of the purchase. . Gatekeepers: Gatekeepers are people who control the flow of information to others. For instance, gate-keepers could be agents who often have the authority to prevent salespeople from meeting users or deciders. Other examples of gatekeepers include technical personnel and even personal secretaries. 5 Buying roles: Organisational buying Organisational buying is a multi person buying activity: A large number of buying situations in organisations (manufacturing, government, hospitals, and educational institutions) would involve many persons.
These persons may be from different functions (production, purchase, design, maintenance), may have different backgrounds (engineers, MBA, graduates etc. ) may have different hierarchical levels within the organisation (Managing Director, General Manager, Material Manager). Further, persons in a buying situation may appear to play different roles over the entire buying decision exercise. A grand conceptualisation of various roles of the different members is the concept of the Buying Centre. The various members of the buying centre may appear to play any of the following roles:
- Users: like production department workers/staff 2. Influencers: like Managing Director, Design Engineers or Consultants 3. Deciders: like a committee setup for taking buying decisions for specific material 4. Buyers: like the people from the purchase or materials department 5. Gatekeepers: like those who can control the flow of information within an organisation 6. Specifiers: like consultants or design or production people who may develop the specifications of the product or services needed. The concept of Buying Centre is a very useful conceptualisation