Meaning: -Peter Drucker, a leading management expert, once stated that the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy. All that should be needed then is to make the product or service available.
Definition: -“Consumer behavior is the action and decisions process or people who purchase goods and services for personal consumption.” Defined by………… (Engel, Blackwell and Mansard)
THE NATURE OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOR IS BRIEFLY STATED AS FOLLOWS:-
1. Process: -Consumer behavior is a systematic process relating to buying decisions of the customers. The buying process consists of the following steps;
1. Need identification to buy the product 2. Information search relating to the product. 3. Listing of alternative brands.
4. Evaluating the alternative (cost-benefit analysis) 5. Purchase decision. 6. Post-purchase evaluation by the marketer.
2. Influenced by various factors: -Consumer behavior is influenced by a number of factors. The factors that influenced consumer are as follow; marketing, personal, psychological, situational, social, cultural etc.
3. Different for different customers: -All consumers do not behave in the same manner. Different consumers behave differently. The difference in consumer behavior is due to individual factors such as nature of the consumer’s life style, culture, etc.
4. Different for different products: -Consumer behavior is different for different products. There are some consumers who may buy more quantity of certain items and very low/no quantity of some other items.
5. Various across regions: -The consumer behavior very across states, regions and countries. For instance, the behavior of urban consumers is different from that of rural consumers. Normally, rural consumers are conservative (traditional) in their buying behavior.
6. Vital for marketers: -Marketers need to have a good knowledge of consumer behavior. They need to study the various factors that influence consumer behavior of their target customers. The knowledge of consumer behavior enables marketers to take appropriate marketing decisions.
7. Reflects Status: -Consumers buying behavior is not only influenced by status of a consumer, but it also reflects it. Those consumers who own luxury cars, watches and other items are considered by others as persons of higher status.
8. Result in spread-effect: -Consumer behavior has a spread effect. The buying behavior of one person may influence the buying behavior of another person. For instance, a customer may always prefer to buy premium brands of clothing, watches and other items etc. this may influence some of his friends, neighbors, colleagues. This is one of the reasons why marketers use celebrities like sharuk khan, sachin to endorse their brands.
9. Improves Standard of Living: -Consumer buying behavior may lead to higher standard of living. The more a person buys the goods and services, the higher is the standard of living.