Complexity of buyer behavior


It needs to be emphasized at the very outset that there is no unified, tested and universally established theory of buyer behavior. What we have today are certain ideas on buyer behavior. Some of these ideas have taken their cue from economies, others from psychology, and yet others have drawn simultaneously from several of the social sciences. Professional researchers as well as business firms have studied the subject extensively, contributing to a large assortment of knowledge on buyer behavior. However, a universally accepted theory on the subject is yet to emerge. It is with this understanding of the limitations of buyer behavior studies that are taking into consideration to proceed further discussing this topic.

Buyer, a Riddle

The buyer is a riddle. He is a highly complex entity. His needs and desires are innumerable. And they vary from security needs to aesthetic needs. These needs and desires are often at different stages of emergences and actualization. Some are latent, some manifest, while some others are highly dominant. And they have different priorities in his scheme of things. The buyer has his own ideas and plans about realizing these needs and desires. The first task of the marketer is to get close to the buyer and understand his need-structure and priorities.

Selective Perception

The buyer is exposed to a world of information about new products, new services, and new uses for existing products, new ideas and new styles. His attitude towards this literal bombardment of information is peculiar. He may ignore certain pieces of information, whereas he may actively seek out some other information. He may read certain messages, but he may not digest them. He may merely overhear some message about some product and it may register in his mind. In other words, he filters the information in a rather unconscious manner.

Buyer’s perception is selective in the sense that he perceives and retains only what he would normally like to. This selective perception is actually his defense mechanism.

Buyer not bound by Set Rules in taking Buying decisions

When the buyer takes a buying decision, no rigid rule binds him. Sometimes, the decision is taken on the spot. That does not necessarily mean that it is an irrational decision. Sometimes he may decide after a long search after evaluating the various alternatives available and after reassuring himself with the opinion of those who have already purchased the product. Still, he may subsequently feel that his purchase was impulsive or even foolish! He may go to a shop after having taken the decision to buy a product; but he may not buy. For no apparent reason, he may postpone the purchase or even drop the very idea of purchasing the product.

The buyer is also influenced by his social environment, which consists of his family, his society, his neighbor, is friends, his job and his colleagues.

Finally summing up it is very clear from the above discussion that buyer behavior is a complex subject. Every component of his social environment leaves some imprint on him and influences him in his day-to-day life. It influences his buying behavior too. The buyer is not a passive being, allowing himself to be manipulated easily by the marketing man. He is dynamic and downright difficult.