Psychological Factors in the Consumer Decision Making Process


Psychological Factors in the Consumer Decision Making Process

Several factors influence the behavior of customers in their decision-making process. Psychological factors deal with the individual's mind or psyche of buying particular products that bring about maximum satisfaction. This essay discusses some critical psychological factors influencing the customer decision-making process.

Motivation

People gain an inner drive to purchase or acquire items that will satisfy their needs whenever they have motives. A person with high motivation is also goal-oriented. In the case of consumers, there must be a need acting as a motive, which stimulates the consumers to decide to make purchases. Individuals always have some types of needs which do not become a motivation while there are others which trigger a motive in the mind of consumers. This means that consumers arrange their needs into a hierarchy. The most survival needs are at the bottom, while luxuries are at the top. The needs found at the bottom trigger the most motivation compared to those at the top of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. These motivating needs include thirst, hunger, and other basic requirements.

Learning and Socialization 

Learning results from various experiences, and it depends on intention, knowledge, and skills. In conditional learning, a specific stimulus may force the consumer to act in a similar situation according to how they responded in a past event. However, cognitive learning requires the customer to apply all the attitudes, skills, and knowledge to derive satisfaction while solving the problem at hand.  

On the other hand, socialization enables customers to develop skills and knowledge from other people in the society. They learn from others about a particular product and proceed to modify the acquired knowledge by researching before making purchases. While interacting with people from various social settings, the information gained orients the consumers into making certain inclined decisions about purchasing particular products in the market. 

Attitudes and Beliefs

Brand images created in the minds of consumers play a significant role in the customer decision-making process. The brand image forms beliefs and attitudes that define where the customer decisions about a particular product rest. For instance, individuals who believe that 'milk chocolate is sweet' will present a positive attitude towards the product, and they will always be willing to purchase it. Marketers will then have to change their products to suit the needs, beliefs, and attitudes of customers because it is hard to modify these factors.

Perception

This factor shows what the customer thinks about a particular product. For instance, some people believe that HP laptops are the best, while others believe that other brands are also good. The difference in perception may make the customers purchase different products even if their needs are similar. Selective attention makes individuals pay attention to specific products that immediate family members use. In this case, people tend to show interest in advertisements that have information about a particular product. Selective distortion makes consumers understand information as per their existing thoughts. Selective retention, additionally, consumers only remember information that they believe is relevant.

Marketers need to understand the consumers' psychological factors in the decision-making process. They will be able to understand the background drivers and determinants of diverse behavioral characteristics presented towards specific brands. 

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Published on: 8 May 2020

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