Consumer buying behavior is about the study of customers who purchase goods and services for the final consumption. The buying behavior of a consumer can be explained using a step by step approach where each and every purchase decision is made according to the above mentioned process. The consumer buying process can be visualized as follows:
This is where the consumer identifies that he has an unsatisfied need to be satisfied. In other words he recognizes that he has a problem that needs to be solved using a good/service. As an example, an undergraduate who just enrolled for a degree is given assignments to be submitted with deadline. He needs portability in the computer to work at home as well as at the college. This is where he recognized he has a problem which can be solved with laptop.
This is where the consumer starts searching information about the products that can satisfy his satisfied need. He gathers information about features of the product such as performance, durability, warranty, price, after sale services and quality. He may uses sources such as advertisements, brochure and feedback from the people who already use the product. As an example the undergraduate who wanted to buy a laptop would gather information about laptop brands such as HP, Dell, Mac and Acer in terms of price, durability, speed, warranty, performance and color.
This is where the customer evaluate products based on chosen criteria such as performance, durability, warranty, price, after sale services and quality on competitive basis. This will help o make the brand and product choice. As an example the undergraduate who gathered information about laptop brands such as HP, Dell, Mac and Acer will now evaluate the product in terms of price, durability, speed, warranty, performance and color.
This is where the customer make the final choice and ends up effectively purchasing the product. Once the purchase decision is made it can not be changed. As an example after the evaluation of many brands of laptop the undergraduate decides to purchase a Mac computer due to the high battery life.
Post Purchase Behavior
This is the behavior of the consumer upon consuming the good. Post purchase behavior could be of 02 forms:
Positive post purchase behavior
This is where the the consumer holds a positive feedback about the product and happy with the product quality. When there is positive post purchase behavior he will engage in repeat purchases and spread positive word of mouth about the product encouraging others people to buy the product. As an example if the undergraduate is happy with the performance of the Mac laptop he will recommend his fellow students to purchase a Mac and will be brand loyal to Apple by purchasing more of Apple products.
Negative post purchase behavior
This is where the customer is dissatisfied with the product and holds a negative feedback about the product. This will result in bad word of mouth about the product. Organizations should always try to avoid negative post purchase behaviors. If the undergraduate who purchased the Mac is not happy with the laptop he will persuade is friends not to buy a Mac as his experience about Mac is negative.
(To read about organizational buying behavior click here. To read about organizational buying vs consumer buying click here. )