What You Need To Know About Consumer Buying Behaviors

Consumers make purchase decisions when they buy small items, such as a cup of coffee, and when they buy larger items, such as a house. After recognizing a need or a want, consumers begin searching for products or services that fit their needs. They evaluate their options, taking note of everything from pricing to a brand’s reputation, before marking a purchase. Four types of consumer buying behavior outline product purchase decisions:

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  • Impulse Purchases. When a consumer stands at the checkout and notices lip moisturizer, magazines and gum, and adds one of the items to his cart of groceries, it’s often referred to as an impulse purchase. The consumer makes a purchase with little to no thought or planning involved. In most instances this happens with low-priced items.
  • Routine Purchases. There are items consumers are used to purchasing every day, once a week or monthly. These can range from a morning cup of coffee from a nearby convenience store, to milk, eggs and cheese from the supermarket. Customers spend very little time deciding whether or not to purchase these items and don’t typically need to read reviews or consult with friends for their opinions before they make routine purchases.
  • Limited Decision Making. When customers engage in purchases that require limited decision making, they may seek advice or a suggestion from a friend. For example, if a young professional is preparing for an interview and wants to get her hair colored the week before, she might solicit advice from friends to find out which salon does good hair coloring work. The consumer may research a few options, but the search is not as thorough, or as time consuming, as with a higher priced item.
  • Extensive Decision Making. Purchases for high priced electronics, such as a television, computer or camera, or major purchases such as a home or car require consumers to use extensive decision making. Consumers spend substantial amounts of time researching a high number of potential options before they buy. They speak with trusted friends, family, colleagues and sales professionals, and read reviews and ratings online and in consumer magazines. The decision making process lasts longer, as the consumer is investing a substantial amount of money.

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