The paper is written in the form of reflection. The discussion and analysis of the recent purchasing event is expected to provide sellers with a set of recommendations about how to improve buying experiences. The essay shows, how buyers make their decisions and what information and stimuli they take into account.
Needless to say, that in our purchasing decisions we pass a long pathway from analyzing our purchasing goals, through available options and marketing stimuli, up to making a purchase and analyzing its consequences and effects. The way we, personally, make our purchases are similar to the ways in which our customers make these very purchases. That is why whenever we seek to increase the overall effectiveness of our marketing strategies we should primarily look into how we, ourselves, evaluate and analyze our purchasing behaviors.
Recently, I was lucky to buy a new dishwasher. The need for the product came as a response to the difficulties I and my family were experiencing when dealing with the issue of dishwashing. Dishwashing was something I never liked, even hated in my life. My family members, too, never showed any willingness to participate in this not very pleasant activity. Given the time, which I spend at work, in my studies, and at home, sometimes it was very difficult to find time to clean the dishes. That is why, on a family council, we decided that we finally had to make that critical purchase.
Certainly, my decision to make this purchase was not without external and internal influences. The marketing stimuli, which impacted my decision, were numerous and many. Generally, “the two major sources of influence in perceiving are (1) external events, objects, and situations, and (2) internal influences, such as personal goals, interests, and drives” (Guido, 2001). On the one hand, I did realize that the current markets have already turned dishwashing machines into a critical necessity, and I did not want to lag behind these popular trends. On the other hand, I was driven by the need and the desire to get rid of something I never liked to do. I was confident that to trust dishwashing to a machine was the best and the most correct decision I could take at that time.
The major information inputs came (a) from advertising; (b) from my neighbors and friends who have experience with using such technical devices; and (c) from technical literature and the Internet. The latter actually helped me weigh all pros and cons of such technical solution and to choose the most appropriate, and the most cost-effective model. It took me about a week to gather all information relevant to my purchase. This information about objective benefits and drawbacks, the popularity and reputation of the brand, the price, and the warrant and reliability of the brand have finally become the determining forces in my choosing this product.
Now, I consider myself an experienced buyer, and I can make several important recommendations to sellers. First, sellers do have to broaden the range of available information about their products. For example, they can use the Internet (currently, the most popular and accessible information resource) to objectively evaluate their products, their benefits, and to compare their products to those of competitors. Second, potential buyers should be given an opportunity to discuss the product with the company representatives. The major mistakes salespeople and consultants do is in imposing their “positive” image of the product on buyers. To make buying experiences easier, sellers should be able to create the most objective picture of their product, with emphasis on its positive sides, and to create an atmosphere, in which the buyer, and not the seller, takes the ultimate purchasing decision.
In this discussion, it is also important to note the relevance and importance of the so-called “post-purchase dissonance”. “This is likely to occur if you are selling a new idea or change strategy. This is dissatisfaction that occurs when the buyer has time to reflect on the decision” (Hatton, 2006). I did not experience any dissonance, and I was lucky to purchase the product which serves its purpose and fulfills its function very well. However, in my life, I also had a sense of complete dissatisfaction with something that looked differently in the store at the moment of making the purchase. That is why the major seller’s task is to avoid idealization, and to try to emphasize realistic benefits of the product, which will help the buyer avoid disappointment after the purchase was made.
Guido, G. (2001). The salience of marketing stimuli: An incongruity-salience hypothesis on consumer awareness. Springer.
Hatton, A. (2006). The definitive business pitch: How to make the best pitches, proposals and presentations. Pearson Education.