Marketing, as on present day is all about understanding the consumer’s needs and satisfying them effectively. All success stories emphasize and re-emphasize the fact that effectiveness of any marketing effort lies in the accurate identification of the consumer’s needs and satisfaction through service delivery.
Consumer behaviour is the intersection of marketing studies and human behaviour aimed at this effectiveness of marketing efforts in the society. It is studied to understand the reaction of any consumer towards any product/service. Before proceeding to the details of the consumer behaviour we need to understand very clearly the difference between customers and consumers. A customer is the person who is in direct contact with the sales personnel and procures the product but a consumer is the one who uses the product. For example, a lady buys a Johnson’s baby soap for her baby. Here the lady is the customer and her baby is the consumer. So, for the success of this marketing effort focusing on the consumer needs is much more important than focusing on the customer’s needs.
The study of consumer behaviour has been derived from psychology, anthropology, political science, sociology, socio-psychology and economics where we come to know about the behaviour of a person in different set ups say as an individual, as a group member, or as a member of an organisation. There is a sequence of activities that is being followed by the consumers while buying any product. They are:
- Problem Recognition: Perceived different between ideal and actual state of affairs.
- Search for alternative solutions: Search relevant information about potential solution to the problem from external environment or activate knowledge from the memory.
- Evaluation of alternative: Evaluate the competing alternative in terms of salient beliefs about relevant consequences and combine this knowledge to make a choice.
- Purchase: The purchasing decision whether to buy the product or not.
- Post purchase use and re–evaluation of the alternative choice: whether to use the chosen alternative after evaluating it under the light of its performance or to change the product/brand.
The consumer behaviour is that branch of study which evaluates human behaviour in each of these above perspective as:
- How the customer goes in search of information:
Whether he goes in for external search (through internet and other sources) or an internal search (experienced personnel).
- How the consumer goes about purchasing a product:
The behaviour mainly focuses on (5 W & 2 H)
- Who will buy the product?
- What he will buy?
- When he will buy?
- From where he will buy?
- Why he buys?
- How often he buys?
- How often he uses the product?
- How he evaluates the offer of the marketer:
Compare the product with other brands and evaluate over the judgement of going for the product bought.
- How the consumer uses the product:
E.g. A person buys a news paper. The purpose may be reading it, spread it and sit on it, social slandered and many more.
- How he disposes off the product:
The disposal pattern of the consumer such as sell it off to obtain the scrap value, just throw the product’s remaining, using the scrap for some other utility.
Even to be more specific, the marketer studies the consumption analysis which says that why and how people uses any particular product in addition to why and how they buy. In present day the stream of consumer behaviour helps the marketer to be customer-centric which is very much important for the marketer to sustain in the hyper-competitive marketing environment. With the help of consumer behaviour marketers are trying to create the wants for the needs of the customer.
Before going to the influencing factors of an consumer or to say to understand the buying behaviour of an individual customer lets focuses on who decides what product will be available for choice by Consumers and its evolution in Europe and UK.
Channel partner United States Europe Orientation
Whole seller 1750-1850 1560-1760 _____
Manufacturer 1850-WW2 1760-WW2 Manufacturing orientation
Retailer 1970-2000 1970-2000 Selling oriented
Consumer 2000+ 2000+ Customer oriented
The factors which effects the decision making of a consumer are:
- Culture of an individual.
- Available resources.
- Past experience.
- Peer Group.
- Product’s feature.
- Word of mouth (WOM).
- Retail display.
- Store ambiance.
- Loyalty program.
- Product available.
The above mentioned influential factors results in the the pattern of how a customer obtain product, How he/she consumes the product and how he disposes it. To be more specific Obtainment of the product comprises of:
- How the customer decides what he want to buy.
- Alternative products the customer consider buying.
- Point of purchase.
- What is the mode of payment (Cash/Card).
- How the customer procure the product to the door steps.
What is the Pattern of consumption:
- How the consumer uses the product.
- Storing pattern of the product (if required).
- Who is the consumer.
- How much is being consumed.
- How much the product meets the expectation of the consumer.
and Disposing pattern:
- How you get rid of the remaining product.
- How much you throw away after use.
- Weather the consumer will resell the items themselves or through the consignment store.
- How the consumer recycle the product.
The consumer behaviour is the most important and crucial area to be analysed by the marketers to sustain in the market effectively and efficiently. The marketer should be marketing oriented hence support customization of the product and it also helps in the relationship management hence gaining customer loyalty Even the retail segment is booming with the permission of F.D.I. by 51%. If the products are made but not been purchased won’t help any organization. The product should match the set of criterion which are desired by the consumers.
“Increasingly, the mass marketing is turning into a mass niches.”
– Chris Anderson.
– Author of THE LONG TAIL.