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The Psychological Processes in Decision Making

Psychological Processes in Decision Making

Mental processes that lead to decision making need to be rational to optimize the benefits of choices made. Making decisions based on emotional rather than rational needs may have serious consequences for an individual. Consumer decision making processes vary. Some consumers do a thorough search of a product prior purchase, while others are more of impulse buyers. Needs motivate consumers to purchase certain products. Consumers have a tendency to prioritize their needs with the preferences for the basic needs. The more basic the needs are, the more motivated a consumer to purchase a product is. Marketers focus on this aspect to convince a consumer of the need for products they are offering. Therefore, they spend much of their resources on advertisements and other forms to create consumer awareness. This paper highlights the factors that influence consumer behavior when choosing a brand. It also discusses how industrial buying influences consumer purchases and explains how marketers predict responses to different products purchased.

Factors that influence consumer choices

There are several factors that influence consumer choices. An individual may be influenced by family, friends and even the cultural setup of the environment that they live in (Andrews, Kiel, Drennan, Boyle, & Weerawardena, 2007). For a consumer to choose a certain brand over another, they take into account their cultural values and preferences as it plays a huge role in consumer expectations. A customer is highly likely to choose a brand that does not go against the cultural values and beliefs. For instant McDonald’s fast food has adapted their services to the specificity of the consumers in different cultural and religious conditions. For instance, they use halal certified products in Arabic and Islamic regions, and they do not sell any pork products in Islamic areas. They have also customized their products to fit into the needs of all Indians, African-Americans and other national groups. This is in an effort to influence the consumer preference. Cultural trends are widely followed by people, and it is amplified by their compliance with social burden. This affects consumer shopping habits, and hence their choices of new products. Social pressure creates the desire in people to belong to certain social classes or even follow fashion trends (Shiau & Luo, 2012). Because of elevated visibility created by the media, consumers are consciously or unconsciously influenced to purchase the product.

 Social factors greatly influence consumer choice of the brands. Different consumers belong to different membership groups related to place of residence, work or other social origins (Goh, Heng, & Lin, 2013). Members of the same group tend to have similar choices because of similarity in lifestyle and mindset. Some consumers are also influenced by a group that they wish to belong to; hence, they chose brands in an effort to imitate members of that group. The fundamental principle governing the current competitive market is consumer orientation to products. Consumer needs motivate the producers to manufacture only those products that meet the ever changing consumer demands. Sometimes, customers may not know their inner desire for this or that product, and their buying behavior can be unconsciously influenced by different factors. Social factors play a key role especially in the purchase of such sensitive items as vehicles. To survive in the current market, it is essential for the producers to earn customer loyalty. The diversity of cars allows the consumers to make choices within the range offered by the producer.

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 In addition, personal factors also influence the buying behavior of consumers. Different consumers have different characteristics. Person’s life, values and environment affect his or her buying behavior. For example, depending on age, a consumer can change their diet and stop consuming unhealthy foods during their middle age because their health is more vulnerable to it now. Moreover, brands play greater role in choices of consumers at the age of 25 than at the age of 65 years for instance. The buying habit of a consumer also depends on revenues that impact their purchasing ability. People always tend to purchase what they can afford; therefore, pricing plays a huge role in consumer decision to buy a product. Depending on their personality and self-concept, different consumers have different tastes of different products. This is because consumers buy not just products that meet their needs, but the ones that are consistent with their image and status.

What is more, such psychological factors as motivation, beliefs and attitudes determine the consumer choices. Motivation is the customers’ expression of need to buy a certain product. This usually works at the subconscious level of a consumer. To increase the sale, producers increase consumer motivation, and therefore reinforce their need. Perception of a specific brand can also influence consumer choice. This depends on previous experiences and information that a consumer has on different products. Some consumers focus on details and hence are sensitive to different brands. The attention of the consumer to a certain brand depends on the environmental stimuli. For example, if an individual is bored in a subway, they will turn their attention to products displayed around. They are also more attentive to stimuli based on their need. For example, a consumer intending to buy a car will pay more attention to car advertisements than any other advertisements.

How product advertisements influence consumer choices

Advertising through different forms has significant influence on consumer choices.  Advertisements attract consumers’ attention on a daily basis, and most companies spend much of their resources on advertisements in an effort to convince a consumer that their products are superior to others (Gupta, 1988). The advertisers spend a significant amount of time to understand the consumer way of thinking and the emotional processes that influence the customer need to purchase a product. However, it is difficult to determine the consumer needs as it is hard to predict the quantity of products they need.

 In addition, brand image persuasiveness and presence of a celebrity endorsing a product are key factors that are aimed at making a consumer buy a product (Park & Kim, 2003). The image of a product built by the advertisers strongly influences the buying behavior of a consumer. Therefore, a well-packaged and designed advertisement can have a very big impact on consumer buying interests. In this case, an advertisement is considered a major element of economic growth of companies. In most instances, industrial buyers pay particular attention to the effects of advertisements on the consumers. Personal image is an important factor that influences consumers’ decision and perception of a product. All consumers want to own nice products and properties. People choose the best they can afford, and this is the reason why make a big deal about the product image – it is a powerful emotional force.

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Industrial buyers influence what consumers purchase

The way industrial organizations buy goods and services is vital in understanding consumer needs for reliable suppliers. Industrial buyers recognize the need for a product on the basis of consumer needs. They then find the product specification that is dependent on consumer preferences. Then, the industries check the availability of suppliers, as well as the sustainability of a product. Consumers tend to choose products that are available in the market, so they depend much on industrial buyers. If there is no industrial buying, different companies will not produce products. Without production, the consumer will not get their desired products in the market; therefore, without industrial buying, there is no consumer buying. Industrial buyers are influenced by such factors as competitive conditions irrespective of the customer demands. Industrial buyers entering new emerging markets will face few competitors; hence, they will have higher customer demand. However, as the market competition increases, the consumers are faced with more brand options from many industrial buyers.

Industrial buyers focus on the consumers economic factors. This is because consumers cannot buy what they cannot afford. Most industrial buyers in an effort to market their products introduce higher purchase services. This is where a consumer makes a down payment, and then, the rest is paid as monthly installments. This way, a consumer eventually gets the products that they really need, even if they cannot afford them. Industrial buyers that can offer this service will attract more consumers facing economic challenges than those that need the payment of products in full. In addition, industrial buyers look at the functional need of a certain product in a certain market. A dealer needs to drive the customer up for success rather than failure. For instance, it is easier for an industrial buyer to convince a consumer to buying a certain product if they have a solid financial plan.  This helps when industrial buyers are able to convince the customer that the products they are offering are the best deal for them.

Anchoring effects and sunk cost influence on decision making

Anchoring effects influences the possibility of an individual adjusting their decision about a product. When a seller of a product opens the price of a commodity, they stand a better chance of making more even after negotiation. In this case anchoring effect is a cognitive feature that influences a person to rely on the first piece of information that they receive on a product (Wu, Cheng, & Yen, 2012). For example, if a consumer needs a pair of jeans that worth 50 dollars, then they end up negotiating it to 45 dollars, end up feeling accomplished. The anchoring effect has functioned in this case. Anchoring happens when an individual feels under pressure to make certain decisions, hence end up jumping into conclusions.

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How marketers predict consumer responses to purchased products

Marketers have a challenge of presenting the consumer with motivation and reasons why they should their products over other products brands in the market (Sersland, 2015). They all strive to encourage the consumers to purchase their products within the competitive marketing arena. Environmental stimuli play a vital role in influencing consumer behaviors towards a product. The psychological processes and the interpretation of the message play a key role in understanding consumer choice of a brand. Understanding of these factors, the marketers are able to touch the hearts of the consumers winning their trust over a long period. Product itself also is important; therefore, marketers use often the product based marketing strategy to demonstrate to the consumer the importance of the product.  To achieve excellent results, the marketers look at the key consumer development loyalty, based on the understanding of the past, current and future possibilities and consumer trends.

Conclusion

The behavior of the consumer constitutes a series of both mental and physical processes that go beyond way before the product is purchased and way after the purchase of the product. Consumer behavior aims at satisfying the needs and demands of consumers. Physical and emotional activities greatly influence the consumer selection of a product. A production company that understands the effects of pricing and advertisements on products has a more competitive advantage. Consumers have different needs and preferences depending on their needs and social status. The factors that influence a consumer to purchase a product are based on the motivation and need. Consumers identify the problem they have and from the problem, they then are motivated to fix it through search of the most relevant products.  Prices play an important role in consumer purchasing products as well as the previous experiences with the same. Friends and family can influence the consumer purchase of products as they have historical preferences.