Strategy and Buying Decision Making

The purchase of a refrigerator is a high involvement buying decision and it requires a lot of deliberation on the consumer’s part. There are a lot of challenges involved in such a purchase which include not getting complete information about the market, not being able to define the parameters on which that they should base their decision on and finding out ways to overcome the risks involved. It is an extensive problem solving procedure and a long term commitment. The risks involved in buying a refrigerator are:

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1. Financial Risk: Because a huge amount is involved in such a purchase. 2. Societal Risk: The risk of the purchase not being approved by the friends/family of the consumer. This risk can be minimized by making a purchase strategy. Initially the consumer should fix the evaluation parameters which in this case are the Looks, Functions, Size and Price of the refrigerator. Then the consumer should gather information about the different refrigerators available in the market through Brochures, online research, expert reviews, salesmen (shop visit), friends and family. The buying decision process is divided into several steps:

1. Need Recognition: The consumer recognizes the need for a new refrigerator because of external factors like the firms’ marketing strategy and his/her sociocultural environment. This might be a need for a larger/ frost free refrigerator. The need is recognized when the product that the consumer possesses starts malfunctioning or becomes obsolete.

2. Information Search: The second step after the consumer recognizes the need is to find out information about the refrigerators available in the market through various channels. 3. Evaluation of Alternatives: This steps involves evaluation of all the alternatives available in the market that satisfied the consumer’s need. Here first the evaluation parameters are decided and then the alternative options are judged on the basis of those alternatives. 4. Intent To Purchase: The consumer is said to have an intent to purchase if he has a positive buying decision. But the ITP may or may not be converted into an actual purchase.

5. Purchase: Once all the evaluation is done and the consumer had a positive buying decision, the actual purchase happens. 6. Post-Purchase Evaluation: Once the purchase is made the consumer will start comparing the actual performance of the refrigerator with the expected performance. If the actual performance is better it will lead to a repeat purchase, if the actual performance is equal to the expected then the consumer will be neutral but if the actual performance is lesser then the expected then it will lead to switching of brands.

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