Buying one good or the other is considered part of a daily operational process. Individuals vary in their buying process. There are various reasons why goods or services are offered in the markets. This unit examines the buying process, and reasons why people buy goods or services offered in the markets.
This is one of the necessary marketing functions. Buying is the activity that is involved in all transactions. Any buyer aims to obtain the right quality from the right source at the right price.
This is a set objective that is difficult to adhere to because the activities listed above have conflicting outcomes.
There must, therefore, be trade-offs between these conflicting activities to determine the combination of activities that will earn the highest profit. To ensure that the stated objective is practicable, a company must :
- Buy, efficiently and wisely, to obtain the best value for the company’s money.
- Ensure that there are enough goods and services available to the company to meet its needs at all times.
- Manage the company’s inventory to provide the best services to customers at the least cost.
The Buying Process
In any given transaction, there must be a seller and a buyer. Although in Nigeria, most often, buyers are always more than sellers, therefore demand is always more than supply.
Thus, suppliers determine the market for the goods that should be sold, and the quantity and price to be sold. Hence, buyers have to take whatever is offered; but in economies like that of the U.S.A., Japan, U.K., etc., buyers pick and choose from the very many available sources, based on the peculiarities of their demand.
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Buying is not an act. It is a process of many related activities. The buying decision is only one action in the process. The process is a probe problem-solving coach. Once the process has started, potential buyers can withdraw, at any stage, in order to actualize purchase, while some stages can be skipped.
A total stage approach is likely to be used only in certain buying situations. Infrequent behavior is a routine affair in which the aroused need is satisfied, in the usual manner, by repurchasing the same brand.
However, if something changes appreciably, such as price, product, services, etc., buyers may reopen the full decision process and consider alternative brands or products.
a) Felt Need
The process stage is when an unsatisfied need (motive) creates inner tension. This may be a biological need, aroused internally (e.g. the person feels hungry); or the need may have been dormant until it was aroused by an external stimulus, such as an advertisement or the sight of the product.
Once the need has been recognized, often, consumers become aware of conflicting motives or competitive uses for their resources of time or money. Often are conflicting needs, and buyers must resolve these conflicts before proceeding.
b) Searching for Alternatives
Once a need has been recognized, both product and brand alternatives must be identified; supposing Mr. Abu needs to be in Lagos from Minna. The available alternatives are:
- To go by bus in the night (luxury bus)
- To go by taxi
- To go by bus in the daytime
- To go by train
- To go by airplane, etc.
The search for alternative and methods used in the search is influenced by such factors as:
- Costs-in terms of time and money
- How much information the consumer already has from past experiences
- The amount of the perceived risk if a wrong selection is made.
Once the entire reasonable alternatives have been identified, the consumer must evaluate each one, in preparation for making a purchasing decision. The criteria consumers use in their evaluation include past science and attitude toward various brands, others include- family opinions and reference groups.
c) Purchasing Activities
After searching and evaluating, the consumer at some point must decide whether or not to buy.
Therefore, anything the marketer can do to simplify decision-makings attractive to buyers because most people find it difficult to make a decision. Sometimes several decision situations can be combined, marked ted as one package.
To do a better marketing job, a marketer needs to know the answers to many questions regarding consumers’ping behaviors.
At this point in the buying process, marketers are trying to determine the consumer patronage buying motives. Some of the reasons for shopping at certain stores are as listed below:
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i) Conveniencee location, rapidity of service, ease of locating merchandise, etc.,
iii) Assortment of merchandise
iv) Services offered
v) Alternative store appearance
vi) The caliber of sales personnel
vii) User’s behaviors
The marketer must learn the use of a product and who uses the products, where they are used, when they are used, and the other items with which they are used. All these are geared towards identifying marketing opportunities and better ways of handling these marketing opportunities.
Once a consumer is satisfied with the use of a product, he/she will repeat its phishes and become loyal to the company’s product. All the behavior determinants and the step in the buying process, up to this point, operate before or during the time a purchase is made.
However, a buyer’s feeling, after the sale is significant for a marketer. People may feel dissatisfied with the product purchased because of one reason or the other.
Typically, buyers experience some post-purchase anxieties known as cognitive dissonance.
Post-purchase cognitive dissonance occurs because each of the alternatives considered by the consumer usually has both advantages and limitations.
Thus, the post-purchase process should be, critically, studied and evaluated to sustain buyers’ brand loyalties.
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