Consumers are broken down into two main categories. Organizational and Individual. If you are making purchasing choices for companies, nonprofits or groups in general, you are acting as an organizational consumer. Far more commonly though we all act as individual consumers. Let’s take a look at how we typical consumers function day to day, I will use my own habits and tendencies to demonstrate.
Though on occasion I do act as an organizational consumer, I function primarily as an individual and so for the purposes of this study, we will focus in on the individual side alone.
Every purchase follows three basic steps. The larger and more significant the item being purchased, the more time is spent on each step, but they are all there in some form. First is purchasing behavior in which the consumer will gather and evaluate information, determine where and how they will make the purchase, if they will require any additional warranties, services or accompanying products and then finalizing the transaction. Next, the use phase will this newly acquired item be put to use immediately or saved for a later date? Will it be used in phases or will it be completely used up in one shot? Finally, the inevitable end of life disposal of this product will come. For some things that will involve a simple toss in the trash and for others it will require much more planning as it may need a large truck to remove it, or special recycling procedure or some other particular consideration.
As a marketer, the key is knowing who your consumer is and what motivates them through each of these steps. So, who am I?
I am a married, upper middle class working mother, with advanced education.
I am a homeowner in a suburban town in the North East region of the US.
Now, What motivates and influences my buying decisions? Well, I would have to say convenience is my biggest motivator. When advertising emphasizes how a product or service will streamline or simplify part of my life in a truly meaningful way, that hits home for me every time. I work full time, manage a household, chauffer a competitive dancer to classes 5 days a week and many competitions a year on top of that all while also continuing my education further to earn an additional degree so for me, I would much rather spend a little money to save a little time and hassle any day of the week!
Marketing research and design may make me more likely for a new product to catch my eye that I would otherwise have missed, but the designs themselves will almost never influence my actual purchasing decision. They have their place in the process for sure. An eye catching design will certainly draw in the crowd and that is half the battle!
Once a decision to purchase an item has been made, the next biggest influence for me would be the atmosphere and or ease of use of the store and or website in question. No matter how much I want a product, if it is only available through one website and that site is not user friendly or just plain annoying to use, I will likely end up skipping out on the purchase. I have walked away from a number of shopping carts on sites because their sites had too many pop ups, excessive load times, crashes, or other such downfalls.
What happens after the purchase? Well that depends, if it is a flop, I am quick to return. I will not hesitate to take things back. If it turns out to be a great new find however, I become your biggest advocate. I will tell everyone I know every chance I get. New manicure set that doesn’t chip for days? Every time I see a girl checking her nails with a sad look I will lean in and fill her in showing off my fantastic new look!
Bottom line: Clean stores, attractive websites, good customer service, and easy to find products will win out every single time over price. I will pay more for the same item to get it from a better quality seller. If it is a true time saver, I am probably the first in line, and if I love it, the whole world will know!