Marketers, who advertise their services and products over the internet, must develop comprehensive marketing strategies. This will enable a marketer’s product to remain pleasing to its online customers. Consumer behaviour is influenced by the various factors, such as social pressure and consumer education or literacy levels. The educational level of a consumer will determine his buying behaviour (Overton 2001). Educated people are more informed unlike those, who do not possess any or have little education.
A consumer, who is educated, will not only be aware of the existence of different options of products, but will also know the components or the ingredients used to make a particular product. Such a consumer will opt for products that may contain less or more organic compounds. Social pressure has the potential to affect online consumer behaviour. Consumers may be compelled to use certain products because people, whom they perceive as their role models or simply admire, use these products or services (Overton 2001). They, thus, admire to fit into their role model social class.
Challenges of Consumer Online Behaviour for Marketers
Marketers will try to use information from various fields, such as sociology, psychology and economics to understand consumer behaviour (Evans, Jamal & Foxall 2009). However, this is not always an easy task. Marketers, who want their products to continue being on the lead, need to have a comprehensive knowledge of consumer behaviour. They need to know that marketing strategies need to be integrated with other factors in order to increase sales. Marketers have to understand the buying process of their consumers. They must know how their consumers determine their purchasing choices (Evans, Jamal & Foxall 2009). All of these are hard to keep the record of. Some of the above factors are beyond a marketer’s control (Bacon 2004). This is because consumer buying behaviour will be influenced by many factors, such as cultural, economic, demography and other personal consumer qualities. This presents a challenge to marketers of online services and products (Bacon 2004).
Differences between Online Consumer Behaviour and Traditional Consumer Behaviour
The internet has been available to the public for several years now. Since the introduction of the internet, the interest in the online commerce or business has grown. Online consumerism of products and services has increased over the years (Noel 2009). Consumer, who can access the internet, can do their shopping while seating at the comfort of their homes. Online consumer’s behaviour comprises of activities that consumers take in respect to making resolutions about buying various services and goods over the internet (Noel 2009). It is also the way the customers respond to services and products after their marketing. Consumer behaviour involves focusing on the psychological and other factors that can help motivate or demotivate people from buying products or services online (Blythe 2003). Online consumer behaviour tends to be more diverse, unlike the traditional one. Those, who shop online, do not have physical contact with the marketers.
Key Aspects of Consumer Behaviour
There is a wide collection of elements that influence online consumer behaviour. These aspects can generally be divided into external and internal motivations to purchase services or products (Bacon 2004). Societal aspects of consumer behaviour are those that are connected to the effect of external components, such as culture, social class and family. Online customers habitually make choices based on the traditions and beliefs of the society which they live in (Foxall 200). Clients being influenced by the social system, which they live in, frequently buy services and products that they feel are suitable for their social class. Social aspects can also play a related role in a smaller household environment. Other professional associations and social groups will buy online products informed by other members of their social class (Foxall 2000).
Environmental factor is another external aspect that affects consumer behaviour. The weather, time of the day and the immediate surrounding have the capability to influence one’s behaviour. During the winter season, a consumer buying behaviour will be different from that of summer (Brennan, Canning & Mcdowell 2007)
Consumer behaviour can also comprise individual decisions or purchasing behaviour that is intended to help another organization. The individual purchasing choices a person makes will normally vary from those, made professionally if the buying is made by the worker of an organization, rather than by the business owner himself/herself (Goodman 2005).
Gender and age are also the aspects that affect consumer behaviour. When targeting consumers, online marketers must be aware of the differences between women and men. They must also be aware of the age of their customers. Men and women will shop in a different way. Men tend to buy services or products that they feel are more personal. They will only buy products that are meant for their personal use (Bacon 2004). On the other hand, women will purchase services or products that they feel are personal and can be used by their family or close friends. Age has also the power of influencing consumer behaviour. People will change their preference of services and goods with the passage of time (Bacon 2004). Family life cycle also falls under the aspect of age.
Personal aspects include individual needs, occupation, economic situation and desires. They are all internal aspects that affect consumer behaviour. Personality changes from an individual to another (Noel 2009). People will always be under diverse circumstances in their lives. Personality will be characterised by aggressiveness, dominance and self-confidence. All of these are crucial in shaping and affecting consumer behaviour.
Psychological aspects of consumer behaviour can include things like motivation, attitudes or beliefs and a person’s perception on the various online services and products. The level of motivation will make a consumer buy services or products that appears to be more appealing and satisfying (Noel 2009). Therefore, a consumer’s need or want becomes a motivation. when it is more persistent.
Consumer Behaviour across All Consumption Stages
Consumption stages are highly affected by the aspects that affect consumer behaviour. It entails the whole process, which consumers make their purchasing decision in. The consumption stages involve need identification or problem awareness, information gathering, selection of the most appropriate service or product, purchasing and finally, post-purchase evaluation (Blythe 2003). A consumer will first acknowledge that he has got a need that requires satisfaction. Then he will gather information based on the aspects that affect his or her purchasing behaviour. This may be something like a belief, social influence and their current economic situation. A customer will then choose the most appropriate product that he feels will satisfy the current need or want (Blythe 2003).
Factors, such as education level and preference, will help to determine the service or product to be purchased. Having made a decision to buy a particular product, the customer will then purchase the service or product from the best online outlet that is offering this particular product or service at the cheapest price. Finally, the consumer will evaluate his or her decision after buying service or product. The consumer will evaluate whether the service or product bought satisfies the current need. In case if the customer or consumer feels dissatisfied, he will opt for a different service or product in future (Overton 2001)
Modern-day Issues Influencing Buyer’s Behaviour
As the online buying behaviour of the consumers advance, so do the marketing methods used by companies in order to sell their products and services to the customers. For the companies to provide the customers with the products they need, marketers need to understand the elements that influence the consumer’s purchasing behaviour and pattern. This is why marketing firms conducts market surveys and research (Overton 2001). The main elements that influence the consumer purchasing behaviour are usually the economy and the stability of the job. The contemporary issues influencing the potential customers are very evident: the world economic crisis of 2007, and rising influence of technology experienced all over the world (Evans, Jamal & Foxal 2009).
Nowadays, consumers are more engrossed to the items that bring diverse features together with the quality. A customer wants not only products that are long lasting, but also the products that are dependable (Bacon 2004). This means that the firms will be required to invest a lot of resources and time in determining the components used to make those goods. Items of high quality normally ensure better functioning of the products; hence, attract more buyers.
Consumers worldwide are becoming wise now, especially with their money and spending patterns. The customers are restraining from using a credit card in making purchases that put them into debit. Recent research indicates that only one third of the US consumers claim to use their debit cards in making purchases (Bacon 2004). This means that consumers are becoming stringent in their budgeting tactics. As a result, it influences their purchasing behaviour.
In order to attract more consumers to specific products, many companies are adjusting their marketing strategies. It includes provision of incentives for the consumer to make purchases (Noel 2009). Consumers are only making purchases, when provided with the shopping incentives, such as special buying discounts and bottom prices. Studies indicate that approximately 35 percent of consumers in the United States of America are more likely to shop in firms offering discounts and outstanding promotions (Noel 2009).
Mobile phones have created various platforms for the consumers to make online purchases. Consumers not only use their phones for sending texts and making calls, but also for surfing and shopping in internet. As the applications become more popular, more and more people are getting interested in using online applications to make purchases (Noel 2009). According to the consumers’ affairs, the sale of smart phones has grown with an enormous rate of approximately 82 percent since 2008. This increase has consequently influenced the online purchasing behaviour and patterns (Noel 2009).
Key Issues In Organisational Buyer Behaviour and How They Differ From Consumer Behaviour
Basically, the organizational buying involves purchasing products and services in order to produce other products and services with an aim of reselling them to the final consumers for profit (Blythe 2003). On the contrary, consumer buying is where the final consumer purchases the products and services himself of herself for the personal consumption. There are various significant differences between the organisational and consumer buying that have significant effects on the marketing of products and services.
Consumer market usually comprises of many small-scale buyers, while organisational market consist of a few buyers, but the large ones. In the consumer market, demand for the goods normally occurs, when the need for the product and services is recognised (Blythe 2003). Therefore, the demand created is usually large in scale. On the contrary, the demand for products and services in the organisation is usually a result of summation of the demands for products and services from the consumer market. For instance, the organisational market demand for clothes normally depends on the quantity demanded by the final consumer of the same product. In addition, the demand for products and services in the consumer market is often heavily influenced by the fluctuations in prices (Blythe 2003). Therefore, the demand in the consumer market is considered as being price-elastic. In the organisational market, demand is normally not affected by the price variation in the short term; thus the price is considered to be inelastic.
In general, a firm marketing products and services usually have fewer prospective buyers, as compared to marketing in the consumer markets. In most cases, 80 percent of the total output in the previous case is sold to approximately 10 to 12 organisations. It means that the necessity of a single customer to the firm-to-firm (B2B) marketer is usually far in excess of that of a customer marketing company (Foxall 2000). Nevertheless, the situation is usually more complicated, especially in the consumer markets, where the significance of the trade intermediaries, for instance, hyper-market, is so immense that even though the products and services have a decisive market of a large number of people, the businesses’ immediate consumer usually ranks beside those of central organisational buyers (Foxall 2000).
Although organisational buyers are normally affected by the emotional factors, such as appearance of the office equipment, dislike or and like of sales personnel, it is normally evident that the entire organisational purchasing pattern is usually more rational. The decision on whether to buy or not is made on the basis of the economic principles (Brennan, Mcdowell & Canning 2007). This normally happens since the organisational buyers are required to justify their purchasing decision to the members of the organisation. For instance, sales persons of the caterpillar tractor usually base their sale presentation on the fact that even though the initial cost is normally higher than that of their competitor, the maintenance cost of the tractor over the life-span is normally lower (Brennan, Mcdowell & Canning 2007). This rational economic principle has proved to be efficient for many years. Consequently, the consumers are progressively using life-cycle costs when evaluating the value of the products. Furthermore, the decision on whether to purchase a product or a service or not is normally simple in the consumer market, since it depends on the wish of the customer. However, in the organisation the process is usually complicated due to the need to abide by the purchasing procedure that carries a lot of professionalism (Brennan, Mcdowell & Canning 2007).
It is usually rare in the company-to-company marketing for the customer to determine the product conditions, and for the merchant to change their goods and services to meet them. This is practicable because of the large prospective incomes that result from such products and services (Goodman 2005). This is a feature that is uncommon in consumer marketing, where most products can be developed to meet the market segment needs; but beyond that, meeting the needs of an individual normally proves to be inefficient (Goodman 2005).