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Buying Process of Disposable Razor


The buying process which a man might go through to purchase a disposable razor plays a key role in consumer buying behavior because it involves stages that the man make the purchase or not.  This is analyzed by the buying process and consumer buying behavior continuum developed by Engel et al (Warwick MBA: Market Analysis course notes, 2001) and part of problem-solving process from McCarthy et al (1999) as illustrated in Figure 1:

Need recognition

The first stage of the buying process is need recognition.  According to Kotler et al (1999), a need may be recognized from internal or external stimuli.  A man may recognize a need from his internal stimuli to replace an old or non-function disposable razor to a new one.  Another man may be triggered by external stimuli, such as marketing programs to a need to try a disposable razor that he never uses before.   

The need of repeat consumers usually comes from internal stimuli.  They perceive that .one brand does as well as the next・ so they are in high degree of brand preference (McCarthy et al, 1999) and not bother to change.  However sometimes they are also triggered by external stimuli to change brand when there is significant difference in the price of the product.  Disposable razor is sort of convenience product for its low price and widespread distribution (McCarthy et al, 1999).  Due to low risk and low involvement, repeat consumers may make routine purchase or stock some quantities as .the razor makers seems always to have them on sale・; or the purchase can be made with time pressure when a need is great.  Hence the situation is habitual decision-making and the consumers usually go straight to the purchase decision.

Dibb et al (2001) defined impulse buying as .the behavior that involves no conscious planning but results from a powerful, persistent urge to buy something immediately・.  Their needs are usually triggered from external stimuli at the place or time of purchase.  A man might be convinced by a salesman or attracted by an advertisement to the purchase decision when he walks through a store.  Since they are emotion driven, they usually go straight to the purchase decision.

The need of a new consumer is usually triggered by external stimuli.  A man might decide to try disposable razor instead of real razor when he saw an advertisement about its convenience and low price.  This change means that there is a trade off between low cost with functional quality and status, hence extra information is required for the first purchase.  The situation is mid-range problem solving due to medium level of involvement and risk, and hence entering to the part or other stages of the process.

Information search

In order to make a right decision, the new consumer needs to do an internal search or/and external search (Dibb et al, 2001).  Internal search is the search from memory for existing knowledge and ability to recall knowledge for the product (Warwick MBA: Market Analysis course notes, 2001).  The man might have passively received some information from advertisement, or have read previously from a magazine, or have heard from his friends about the disposable razor and retain part of the information in his memory.  If the information is insufficient to make the decision, external search helps to gain additional information.  However, disposable razor is a convenience product with low price, it is not worth for the man to enter into detailed search.  It is most likely that he might consult and rely on the recommendation of friends and family for the pre-purchase alternative evaluation.

Pre-purchase alternative evaluation

This is the stage that the consumers use the collected information to evaluate alternative brands in the choice set (Kotler et al, 1999).  The man might develop a set of brand beliefs and consider several attributes, then evaluate the product by rating each of the attributes to make the decision.  For the example in following table, the man might choose Bic when he wants to trade off between price and quality for convenience product.

 

Attributes

Disposable razor

Price

Quality

Convenient

Durability

Gillette

9

10

10

9

Bic

10

9

10

9

Schick

9

9

9

8

Wilkinson

9

9

8

8

However, the purchase decision might be postponed because of the attitudes from others or unexpected situational factors (Kotler et al, 1999).  The man・s wife might prefer her husband to use real razor for green factor, which might possibly change the purchase intention and go back to the first stage of the process.

Purchase decision

The purchase decision includes questions about when and where to buy the product.  Time and place also influence the purchase situation.  The man might not want to wait when he sees a long queue at the cashier at lunch hour.  The Bic disposable razor might be out of stock and the man needs to buy the product from other places.  This stage is only completed when the product is bought and goes to the consumption stage.

Consumption

For convenience products, it is quite often that the consumers do not use immediately after purchase.  The man might use the disposable razor .only for trips and in the changing room・. Or he would use it only when the real razor is broken.  Or he never uses it and divests it to somebody or just puts it aside.  Therefore, the marketing program is only effective when satisfied consumption is occurred.

Post-consumption evaluation

Post-consumption evaluation is the stage that consumers evaluate the product whether its actual performance meets expected levels (Dibb et al, 2001).  Engel et al (Warwick University: Market Analysis course notes, 2001) identified three categories of post consumption evaluation: positive disconfirmation, simple confirmation and negative disconfirmation.  Positive disconfirmation occurs when the man found that the disposable razor is better than expected for its convenience and function at that price level.  He is most likely to repeat purchase.  Simple confirmation occurs when the man found the disposable razor just meets his expectation.  He is likely to repeat purchase, but on the other hand, he might change when another brand provide a better quality with a lower price.  Negative disconfirmation occurs when the man found that the function of the disposable razor is worse than expected and it is not worth to trade off the price with quality.  He is most probably not to buy the product anymore.  In a worse case, he might tell his friends for this disappointed experience.

The discussion concludes how a man might go through the buying process to purchase a disposable razor.  The problem solving attitudes in the consumer buying behavior continuum plays an important role in the buying process.  Repeat consumers, impulse buying behavior and new consumers go through different sequences in the buying process.  Not all the buying process lead to a purchase as some consumers might need to go back to revisit certain stages, or decide not to make the purchase and stop at any stage.  The product attributes are important in alternative evaluation.  The purchase and consumption is not always happened at the same time so it is possible that the post-consumption evaluation occurs after a certain period.  The post-consumption evaluation is a critical stage whether there is a repeat purchase based on the man・s satisfaction or dissatisfaction.


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