Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Consumer Buying Behaviour

Consumer Buying Behavior studies explore how individuals, groups, and organizations select, buy, use, and dispose of goods, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy their needs & wants.

A consumer’s buying behaviour could be influenced by all kinds of factors: cultural (cultural and subculture roots and social class); social( with reference to family, social roles and status); or personal (to do with age, stage in the life-cycle, occupation, economic circumstances, lifestyle, personality and self-image). The process of buying is influenced by these factors, and indeed other customers!

Depending on their circumstances, customer can be initiators, influencers, deciders, buyers or users.

And this interests marketers, who map the customer’s profile in order to streamline their product marketing.

Vicks VapoRub, therefore is positioned as a premium brand, albeit accessible to all economic belts. In ---, Vicks welcomed the rural market into it's customer population by selling 10gm tins. These tins were received skeptically at first, but soon went on to sell like hot cakes! As it stands, “The largest penetrated cold medicine in rural India is Vicks.[1]” A doubtless wise decision. This point will be revisited in the next post.

But How do Consumers Buy?

Consumers follow what Kotler describes as the Five Stage Model of Consumer Buying Process.

Need Recognition

Step one is need recognition - when the customer recognises a problem or need caused by by an internal or external stimuli.

Vicks VapoRub is relied on the health need of consumers. Colds and Flu don't (generally) have curative medicines, so people rely on symptom relief. Families would want to ensure their children are not suffering from colds and coughs so they will want immediate relief - Vicks banked on this need.

Vicks entered the Indian market after years of success internationally. Its entry impressed on people's minds' the specialised role Vicks played in relieving cold discomfort, as opposed to other balms that served general functions. Vicks slowly widened its product pool to include other products along the same principle.

Vicks continues to satisfy the same need - of cold relief - and capitalises on this desire of the parent to aid his child. 

Information Search

At This stage, the consumer is engaged in two levels of search. The first is milder, called heightened attention and the next level is active, called information search. While in the former scenario a consumer is more conscious about a product and therefore is receptive about it, in the latter scenrio the consumer actively seeks information himself. To aid in the process, important sources of information for consumers would include: personal acquaintances,commercial groups like ads,websites,salespersons etc, public media and experiential group.i.e the handling,examining, use of the product

Option Evaluation

At this stage the consumer is conscious of the values delivered by each product in consideration. He weighs each individual product alongwith its association values minus its cost. 

Purchase Decision

Just as the customer sets out to purchase a product, he is sure to have formed preferences among the brands. He may choose to buy the brand he prefers best.

To execute his decision, the customer passes through the following spheres.

·                                 Brand (Vicks ,Amrutanjan etc)
·         Dealer( dealer 1,dealer 2)
·         Quantity (one tin/tub)
·         Timing (at the time of illness, before, in the monsoon season, other seasons)
·         Payment method (cash,credit card)

The product bought may not be the product 'sought' for different reasons: availability of a new offer, clearance sales etc. 

Postpurchase Behaviour

A product is successful when the customer is delighted or satisfied with it. On the other hand, a dissatisfied customer not only spreads bad news about the brand,but also moves to a competitive product.

Vicks VapoRub is a successful product given its large market share and popular image. 

The Different Product Levels to Vicks VapoRub

CORE BENEFIT :- Vicks VapoRub is a cold and flu relief ointment providing healing and relief
BASIC PRODUCT :- Vicks VapoRub is packaged in tins and tubs beginning 10mg upwards. It has a pleasant, methanol fragrance, non greasy texture and is convenient to use and handle. 
 EXPECTED PRODUCT :- Vicks VapoRub provides instant relief and six benefits in one. It is easy to use.

POTENTIAL PRODUCT :- Vicks VapoRub could possibly come in gel form. A Vicks VapoRub ointment that leaves little no grease at all will  be an improvement.

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