In order to succeed in any business, and especially in today’s dynamic and rapidly evolving marketplace, marketers need to know everything they can about consumers- what they want, what they think, how they work, how they spend their leisure time. They need to understand the personal and group influences that affect consumer decisions and how these decisions are made. And, in these days of ever widening media choices, marketers need to not only identify the target audience, but they should also know where and how to reach them.
Knowing the customer is thus very important. A study of consumer behaviour, though not guaranteeing 100% success in the marketplace, raises the possibility of success. By studying the potential customer, a marketer gains insight into the attitudes, interests, lifestyles etc. of the target segment. It will help in identifying groups of consumers with similar lifestyles who are likely to behave in similar manner when some product related news is communicated to them. Then the marketer can plan effective strategies to reach them, and make an offer.
A marketer in order to sell effectively must know answers to two specific questions: one, how do the consumers behave in general and when subjected to certain elements of marketing mix; two, why do they behave the way they do. When a prospective customer receives a marketing cue (product, price, promotion, and placement related) he undergoes a process of decision making. This decision making is conditioned by a variety of influences, viz., personal, interpersonal, and nonpersonal factors. If the impact of these factors on consumers is positive, then they may decide to take a purchase related decision relating to the product category and the brand belonging to it. Otherwise, a purchase may not take place. Once purchased, in the post- purchased stage consumers experience positive or negative feelings. These in turn provide a feedback for the next round of decision- making. Hence the success of a marketer depends heavily on his ability to understand the consumer behaviour and influence consumer positively at each and every stage of the buying decision process.
Kotler and Keller (2011) highlighted the importance of understanding. Understanding the consumer buying behaviour and the how the customers choose products and services can be extremely important for manufacturers, as well as service providers as this, provides them with competitive advantage over its competitors in several aspects. For example, they may use the knowledge obtained through studying the consumer buying behaviour to set their strategies towards offering the right products and services to the right audience of customers reflecting their needs and wants effectively.
Another valuable argument is provided by Egen (2007) on the importance of understanding the consumer behaviour. According to the author, better awareness of consumer buying behaviour is a positive contribution to the country’s economic state. The author further argues that the quality of goods and products are exceptionally good in countries where buying behaviour of consumers is well understood. This in turn increased the competitiveness of the products and services in the international market increasing the export potential of the country. Meanwhile, high quality of domestic products and services lead to sophisticated domestic customers’ base (Blackwell et al, 2006)
In addition to efforts of better understanding the consumers’ buying behaviour, companies also engage in advertising and promotion activities to influence the consumers’ purchasing decision. However, when they are engaging in such types of activities, they need to consider other external factors such as the overall economic conditions of the country, politics, technology and ethnic culture all of which are beyond the control of both the company and consumer Lancaster et al (2002).
To sum up all the arguments stated above, it is clear that better understanding of the consumer buying behaviour through studying and identifying their needs leads to huge long term benefits to the businesses. However, as stated by Kotler et al (2005) it is essential to mention that despite the great efforts to learn and understand the buying behaviour of consumers, it is very difficult to identify the exact reasons why a consumer purchases and prefers one product or service over another one. This is because consumers sometimes make purchasing decisions based on their emotional beliefs which they even themselves are not well aware of
For citing this article use:
- Uppu, R. K. (2016). A study on consumer behaviour with reference to organized and conventional retail stores in Guntur and Krishna districts Andhra Pradesh.