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Different Approaches and Models in Consumer Behaviour Theory

Question

Task: Give a detailed account of various approaches and models in Consumer behaviour theory.

Answer

Introduction
Every individual is distinct and possesses different sets of preferences while selecting a product for him. The distinctive requirements of the customers make them unique and diverse from others. Different consumers follow a different type of buying patterns and lead to the upsurge of distinctive trends. It is after evaluating these trends, the various marketing companies supply different products to satisfy the consumer's needs. The trend in the market is analyzed legitimately and based on the observations the desired product is devised out for the consumers. The major brands in the market devise their unique products and services according to the various needs of consumers. The following report a detailed analysis of various phases concerned with the buying process of a product or service and the aspects which have the potential to influence consumer behavior. In the later section of this report the product fulfilling factor is being analyzed using Maslow's Hierarchy.

Various phases of purchase making decision according to Consumer behaviour theory
The process of making a judgment in selecting a product or service, which continues before and after buying, is very confusing and complex. The process is complex because of the presence of various influencing factors present in the market. At the time of the purchase, the consumer looks forward to his needs and select the apt product from a vast number of choices. For instance, if a customer has made his mind to buy a bar of chocolate, he may be driven towards the delicious Michel Cluizel chocolate which in his point of view is tempting.

Engel, Blackwell, and Kollat in 1968 proposed five stages which influence various phases of Consumer Decision Making according to consumer behaviour theory. These four stages are:-

  1. Need Recognition or problem recognition
  2. Information search
  3. Alternative evaluation
  4. Purchase decision
  5. Post-purchase behavior

Need Recognition/ Problem Recognition
It should be understood that the consumer buys a product from the supplier to satiate his needs or problems. The stage of problem recognition is considered as one of the most complicated stages. This stage displays the craving of a consumer towards a certain product. The guided selling acts like digital advice by the marketers play a vital role in influencing the choice of the consumer in this stage (Mata & Nunes 2010).

The management of the company should work according to their stimuli to understand the consumer behavior and their psychological urge to buy any product or service.

Information search
After recognition of a need or the problem, it is the information about the product the consumer seeks next. This stage is very risky for the company and its management since the information provided can irritate the consumer in case they are being baffled by the irrelevant choices and information. If there is a choice overload the customers often get overwhelmed and waver their choices. This problem could be alleviated by the process of guided selling since it reduces the choices of consumers by giving awareness about the product. The customer can do a thorough analysis of this information and observe its pros and cons Jane, Stephen & David (2013, p 17-19).

Alternative Evaluation
By this stage of consumer behaviour theory, the customers should have gathered all the information they should have needed to make the choice, so this stage also could be termed as the decision-making stage. The consumer characterizes the features of the product into two sections which are subjective characteristics and objective characteristics.

The decision to make the purchase
In this stage the customer should have done all his research with the information he has acquired and ready to buy the product. All the pieces of information collected by the consumer make a strong impact on the choices made by him Milkman, Chugh, & Bazerman (2009, p 379 - 383). Although the consumers may develop a tendency to change their choice even after this researches.

Post-Purchase Behavior
The business of the company doesn't end after the sale of the product. The company needs to retain its customers. Hence, they have to build a strategy for customer satisfaction to get repeated business. The chance of repeated business depends on the satisfaction of the customer towards the product. In the case of satisfaction with the purchase, the consumer will recall the experience and end up being loyal to the brand. If in this stage the customer is dissatisfied with the product, he will again start these five steps to arrive at a suitable choice.

Now in the further part of the report, we are going to discuss the four factors which have the potential to make an impact on the consumer decision in selecting a product or service provided by the brand. These factors which influence the decision-making process to buy a product or sales from the selected brand are personal, social, psychological, and cultural.

Cultural Factors
In the case of buying trends and purchasing preferences of the consumers the culture plays a very important role. It is the way the consumer has been brought up in the family and the cultured being introduced by the family which influences their palate for the products. The cultural factor should be understood by the company since they make a strong influence on each individual's preferences towards certain products which may become part of their day to day life by repeated use. Aribarg, & Foutz (2009, p 518 - 530).

Social Factors
This factor also plays a dynamic role in the product preference process. The consumer develops some behavioral patterns from the social group and etiquettes which become part of their life. The societal factors have a very close bond with the buying patterns and the companies should analyze these factors very seriously for a successful business (NSW Ministerial Advisory Committee on Ageing 2004).

Personal Factors
This factor is very synchronous to the social factor. This factor is very reliant on the age group and the way of life spent by the consumers. The buying pattern of the individual heavily depends on the age group, like the old age people onwards sixty would have a very specific range of products to be bought rather than that of a comparatively younger group of 15 from 35 Mata & Nunes (2010, p - 289).

Psychological Factors
The psychological thinking like emotional attachment, experience with the product, the motivational aspects, and the perception towards the product has a great role in consumer behaviour theory.

If considered the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the consumer is typically driven by his different requirements which should be satiated. These needs are: -

  • Safety Needs
  • Need to self-actualize
  • Psychological needs
  • Need to adore a certain producer like it or have the sensation of belonging.
  • Need to have an attitude of great esteem or self-awareness and towards others

Michel Cluizel Chocolate is being chosen in this report for evaluation and it is being observed that the product satiates the physical and psychological requirements of an individual. The consumers of the company have reported both internal and external satisfaction for its products (BS 2014a).

The idea of internal stimuli refers to the factor which satisfies the physiological requirement rather than the external stimuli denotes promotions like advertising and marketing Jones Shaw & McClean (2011, p 496).

In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs the physiological needs of the customers are being classified into three. They are:

Functional need, social need and need for the change.

Functional need: In the case of this chocolate, the major aspect is probably the functional characteristics. Various functional aspects of the chocolate like whether is ready-made or handmade chocolates will both attract the customers towards Michel Cluizel since it is providing its product in both categories.

Social Need : This need is probably generated in a person when he interacts with other members in the society or gets in touch with the social group which supplies or produces these prody=ucts.

Need for Change: Unlike the consistent consumers of the product, some customer tends to change their preference. Some times the consumers go overboard against their traditional preferences like their palate towards food and lifestyle. Sometimes deviating from the day to day activity brings improvement in the quality and dimension of living.

References
Aribarg, A., & Foutz, N. Z 2009, Category-based screening in choice of complementary products, Journal of Marketing Research, 46(4), pp. 518-530

Bray, J. P 2008, Consumer Behaviour Theory: Approaches and Models, Discussion Paper. Bournemouth University. Bournemouth

Jane P, Stephen C & David S 2013, Consumer Behaviour, Course – Taster, 1 (4), pp. 17-19

Jones, D. G. B., Shaw, E. H., & McClean, P. A 2011, The Modern Schools of Marketing Thought, In P. Maclaran, Saren, M., Stern, B., & Tadajewski, M. (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of marketing theory. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 11(4), pp. 496.

Kotler, P., & Armstrong, G 2010, Principles of marketing, (13th ed.): Prentice Hall

Mata, R., & Nunes, L 2010, when less is enough: Cognitive aging, information search, and decision quality in consumer choice, Psychology and aging, 25(2) pp.289

Milkman, K. L., Chugh, D., & Bazerman, M. H 2009, How can decision making be improved?, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4(4) pp. 379-383

BS 2014a. Australian Historical Population Statistics 2014, ABS cat. no. 3105.0.65.001. Canberra: ABS, Viewed on Aug 19th 2016, https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3105.0.65.001

NSW Ministerial Advisory Committee on Ageing 2004, Paying the price: the impact of mature age unemployment on government services, NSW Ministerial Advisory Committee on Ageing, Sydney, Viewed on Aug 19th 2016, https://www.maca.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/141535/Paying_the_price.pdf

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