The Purchase Process

It is always complex for a buyer to go through the purchasing process, especially one as extensive as an extended problem-solving (EPS) scenario. The customer may frequently become frustrated due to the size, complexity, and features of the many buying options; the final two steps of such consumer decision-making are the purchase and post-purchase. The purchase stage is more important from the standpoint of the manufacturers or marketers.

An Overview of the Purchase Process

Before we examine buying anatomy, it will be helpful to visualize the many sorts of buying. Customers make two kinds of purchases. Purchases made on trial and again. A product trial occurs when a consumer purchases or is convinced to purchase for the first time, in a lower amount than average, and with a certain degree of reluctance. As a result, a trial consumer may decide to continue or discontinue purchasing the product after the trial period. In any case, the trial is the stage of purchasing behavior in which the aim is to assess a product via use.

On the other hand, recurrent purchases demonstrate the customer's dedication to the product, company, and others. It is directly tied to brand loyalty building and indicates that the product satisfies the consumers' expectations. Another essential point should be made here. The buying process identifies the natural purchasing environment and its visible influence on the process. Until recently, marketers have only known what should happen in customers' minds. At this step, marketers may see how mental evaluations are transformed into buying behavior during purchase. The importance of the purchasing process is heightened by two factors: one from the standpoint of marketers and one from the perspective of customers.

The purchasing process is tied to the marketing mix from the marketers' standpoint. Therefore, customers purchasing the examined item validate the success of the marketing mix used by marketers compared to rivals. Non-selection will alert marketers to the need for a change in the marketing mix following a detailed examination of the underlying causes of brand rejection. Customers' attempts to choose the best brand end with a buy action. They not only give up money in exchange for a product, but their choice of the brand also implies that they must rely on it alone to fulfil projected advantages and satisfaction, at least until the next buying occasion.

As a consumer enters the stage of choosing, he or she must make decisions about the following −

  • Where to buy from? (store purchase vs. non-store purchasing)

  • How much should I spend? (Quantum decision)

  • How do I purchase? (Cash, credit, or hire buy, for example.)

Two key sets of factors impact these judgments. Although the first set of forces concerns purchasing intentions, the second group is concerned with situational impacts.

Buying Stage and Situational Influences

First, it demonstrates that the selection process is only performed through a mix of purchasing intents and environmental circumstances. The other is that while the individual influence of buying intents or attitudinal data on the choosing process is considerable, more is needed.

Whereas situational impacts are numerous, the five listed in figure 15.1 are the most important. The situation, in general, is described as anything beyond the underlying inclinations and features of the individual yet beyond the qualities of the stimulus object to be acted upon. Therefore, noise, light, and temperature in the store are examples of physical settings. The sort of customers who visit the shop is referred to as their social surroundings. Shopping motivations and goals are included in task descriptions. Temporal concerns include time constraints and the time of day selected for shopping. Lastly, antecedent conditions allude to the monetary and financial status and the mood of the transaction.

Such impacts will become apparent if you recollect your most recent purchase at an elegantly constructed department store in Bombay or Delhi and compare your sentiments to those resulting from a comparable buy in an average shop. Despite purchasing intents being of comparable strength, situational considerations would have distinguished the two identical purchase processes.

Physical Surroundings

Physical surroundings substantially affect customer decisions, according to research. Since they comprise geographical and institutional location, décor, noises, scents, lighting, weather, and visual configurations of product or other material surroundings in the purchasing process, physical surroundings are the most clearly observable characteristics of a purchase situation. These cues impact consumer decisions through sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Marketers employ the notion of 'atmospherics' to maximize the physical surroundings impact by inventing and regulating the proper mix of physical surroundings during the purchasing process. Music and crowd control are two trendy parts of the point-of-purchase atmosphere.

Social Surroundings

Social surroundings, like physical surroundings, are essential in choosing behavior. The presence of other people and their impact on the purchase or use of a product are referred to as the social environment. There are several scenarios in which the presence of others may impact the decision-making process. In a store, for example, if you see the presence of high-society people, you may purchase a premium item even though you had meant to purchase simply a low-priced item.

Furthermore, finding highly renowned persons or acquaintances known for their excellent purchasing sense may alter your resistance to the business or boost product credibility. Additionally, shopping is frequently a communal affair in which many other persuasions engage with the customer and vendor. They also have an impact on communication. The following are some broad conclusions −

  • When shopping with friends, a consumer is more likely to make unplanned purchases and visit more stores

  • Selling to unaided buyers is more accessible than selling to those accompanied by advisers

  • Compliance to group views exists even when the buyer knows that others are incorrect about a given product choice.

Task Definition

A variety of factors influence buying decisions. Motives influence both the content and the direction of a buying process. In the current setting, these purchasing goals are called task definitions. The procurement process is influenced by task specification in the following ways −

  • The intention of the purchase may influence the result of the buy. If a product is being purchased as a present for a close friend, the expected reaction of that friend will determine the buying job.

  • The product's usage circumstance will determine the job definition. A public consumption of a product in such events as weddings and social get-togethers, for example, will place a greater focus on purchasing than a private consumption of the same product.

  • As a result, marketers make task specification a significant aspect of buying. Indian marketers have investigated occasion-based marketing opportunities.

Temporal Factors

Temporal variables or time are part of each given transaction. These timings range from the allocated minutes of a day to the year's season considered relevant to the transaction. Time can be measured in absolute units as well as in comparative measures. The following temporal considerations influence the purchase −

  • The time availability determines the buying strategy for a particular product.

  • The more significant the quantity of available time, the greater the information search.

  • When combined with other variables (such as hunger or happiness), time might have a more noticeable effect.

  • Marketers can utilize time compression, a mechanism through which they use time effectiveness for maximum impact.

Time and consumer behavior research show that an after-five shopper spends significantly less time shopping than a regular-time client. Similarly, it has been discovered that the longer the time difference between two transactions, the greater the likelihood of a thorough information search.

Antecedent States

Lastly, situational elements, moods, and bodily states, as well as thoughts, have an impact on the purchasing scenario. Keeping all variables constant, a hungry customer is likelier to conclude his shopping faster than a pleased one. Similarly, a consumer disappointed because he could not find the necessary goods or answer at the earlier stores may be critical of the later outlets he visits through no fault of his own. The mood has considerably impacted product or outlet selection and attentiveness to various advertising messages.

Steps to Benefit from Situational Influences

After thoroughly considering numerous scenario elements, it is necessary to explain marketers' responses. The following are some marketing actions −

  • Determine the impact of relevant situational variables through appropriate research

  • Consider appropriate segmentation and positioning based on the findings

  • Develop an appropriate marketing mix incorporating the above

  • Remember the general findings and hypothesized relationships between situational variables and the purchase process


The customer's purchasing intent and surrounding circumstances impact the buying process. These situational elements include physical surroundings, social surroundings, task description, temporal dimensions, and antecedent circumstances. Non-store buying, often known as direct marketing, is now just as significant as shop buying.

Updated on: 31-Mar-2023


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