Buying behavior differs greatly for different types of products. As participants and deliberation in the buying process increase, buying decisions become more complex.
The types of consumer buying behavior depend on buyer involvement and the degree of differences among brands.
Four types of buying behavior are;
- Complex Buying Behavior.
- Dissonance- Reducing Buying Behavior.
- Habitual Buying Behavior.
- Variety-Seeking Buying Behavior.
Complex buying behavior is when the consumer is highly involved in the purchase and the knowledge about significant differences between brands, it is called complex buying behavior. Buying a car is an example of complex buying behavior.
In Variety seeking behavior, there is low involvement of the consumer regarding the product, and there are significant differences between brands. Consumers generally buy different products not due to dissatisfaction but due to seek variety.
For instance, an individual may shop around for different breakfast cereals because he/she wants variety in the mornings!
Sometimes in Dissonance buying behavior, the consumer is highly involved in the purchase, but there are a few differences between brands.
Highly involvement again means that the product is expensive, but due to a few differences between brands, consumers will buy the product frequently.
Like consumers, while buying wall paints, buy them quickly as there are few differences between brands. An example would be buying a diamond ring, as people believe there is little difference between diamond brand manufacturers,
In Habitual buying behavior, there is low involvement of the consumer regarding the product, and there are few differences between brands.
The consumer goes to the market and buys the product. Purchase of a food commodity such as salt, flour, or sugar is a good example.
Let’s learn about all four types of buying behavior in details;
1. Complex Buying Behavior
Consumers demonstrate complex buying behavior when their involvement in the purchase is high, and when they perceive significant differences among brands. Consumers’ purchase involvement is high when the product is costly, risky, purchased infrequently, and highly self-expressive.
In such a situation, the consumer has much to know about the product category.
For example, a personal computer buyer may not know what attributes to consider. Many product features carry no real meaning: a “Pentium chip,” “Super VGA resolution,” or “8 megs of RAM.”
In a complex buying situation, the buyer will go through a learning process that involves developing beliefs about the product, developing attitudes, and making a contemplated purchase choice.
Marketers of high-involvement products need to know the information-gathering and evaluation behavior of high-involvement consumers.
They must assist buyers in learning about product-class attributes and their relative importance, and about what the company’s brand offers on the important attributes.
It is also necessary for marketers to motivate store salespeople and the buyers’ acquaintances for influencing the ultimate brand choice.
2. Dissonance- Reducing Buying Behavior
Dissonance- reducing buying behavior happens when consumers are highly involved with an expensive, infrequent, or risky purchase but perceives little difference among brands.
For example, consumers buying split type air conditioner may face a high-involvement decision because air conditioning is costly and self-expressive.
Still, buyers may consider most air conditioner brands in a given price range to be the same.
In this situation, because perceived brand differences are not wide, buyers may shop around to learn what is available, but relatively quickly. They may respond primarily to an attractive price or to purchase convenience.
Consumers might experience postpurchase dissonance in the form of after-sale discomfort when they notice certain disadvantages of the purchased air conditioner brand.
This can also occur if the buyer hears favorable things about brands not purchased. To counter such dissonance, the marketer should undertake proper after-sale communication and support to help consumers feel happy about their brand choices.
3. Habitual Buying Behavior
Habitual buying behavior happens when consumer involvement is low, and the perceived brand difference is low.
For example, take flour; consumers have insignificant involvement in this product category. They go to a store and ask for a brand. If they keep asking for the same brand, it is out of habit rather than strong brand loyalty. Consumers have low involvement with most low-cost, frequently purchased products.
In cases of habitual buying, consumer behavior does not follow the typical belief-attitude-behavior pattern.
Consumers do not look for extensive information about the brands. They do not evaluate brand features and make strong decisions about which brands to buy. Instead, they passively receive information from the media to which they are exposed.
Repetitive ads build brand familiarity rather than brand conviction. As consumers’ involvement is low, they may not make a postpurchase evaluation.
Thus, the buying process contains brand beliefs acquired through passive learning. Habitual buying behavior has important marketing implications.
Since buyers are not highly committed to any specific brand, marketers of low-involvement products with few brand differences may use price and sales promotions to encourage product trial.
Ads of low involvement products should emphasize only a few key points. Visual symbols and imagery should be used extensively. Ad campaigns should consist of a high repetition of short-duration messages.
Visual media like television should be preferred to print media because it is a low-Involvement medium suitable for passive learning.
4. Variety-Seeking Buying Behavior
Consumers undertake variety-seeking buying behavior in situations characterized by low consumer involvement, but significant perceived brand differences. In such cases, consumers often do a lot of brand switching.
For example, when buying cookies, a consumer may hold some beliefs, choose a cookie brand without much evaluation, then evaluate that brand during consumption.
But the next time, the consumer might pick another brand out of boredom or try something different. Brand switching occurs for the sake of variety rather than because of dissatisfaction.
Variety-seeking buying behavior calls for different marketing strategies for the market leader and market challenges. The market leader will encourage habitual buying behavior by carrying large stocks and running frequent reminder advertising.
The market challenger will encourage variety seeking by using various sales promotion tools such as cash discounts, special deals, coupons, free samples that will induce buyers to try new brands.