All the behavior determinants and the steps of the buying process up to this point are operative before or during the time a purchase is made. However, a consumer's feelings and evaluations after the sale are also significant to a marketer, because they can influence repeat sales and also influence what the customer tells others about the product or brand.
Keeping the customer happy is what marketing is all about. Nevertheless, consumers typically experience some postpurchase anxiety after all but the most routine and inexpensive purchases. This anxiety reflects a phenomenon called cognitive dissonance. According to this theory, people strive for consistency among their cognitions (knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, values). When there are inconsistencies, dissonance exists, which people will try to eliminate. In some cases, the consumer makes the decision to buy a particular brand already aware of dissonant elements. In other instances, dissonance is aroused by disturbing information that is received after the purchase.4 The marketer may take specific steps to reduce postpurchase dissonance. Advertising that stresses the many positive attitudes or confirms the popularity of the product can be helpful. Providing personal reinforcement has proven effective with big-ticket items such as automobiles and major appliances. Salespeople these areas may send cards or may even make personal calls in order to reassure customers about their purchase.
- Buyer behavior takes place in an exchange setting and addresses two questions:
- How do potential buyers go about making purchase decisions?
- What factors influence their decision process and in what way?
- Buyer behavior is a problem-solving process and entail the following decisions:
- need identification
- determined by the discrepancy between what we have and what we want
- determined by the relative importance of the problem
- information search and processing is a five-step sequence:
- retrieval and application
- identification and evaluation of alternatives
- product/service/outlet selection
- the purchase decision
- postpurchase behavior
- need identification