The purpose of this paper is to examine the buyers’ decision process when purchasing a product and/or service. For specific purpose of this assignment, I constructed 5 interview questions pertaining to the buyer decision process. The interview questions were based around the purchase of a laptop computer. My brother, Shane Ramsey, is one person that I chose to interview. I answered the questions in the interview, since I had recently purchased a laptop as well, and because Shane helped me in the buying process. This paper will also analyze the demographic characteristics that influenced the behavior of each consumer involved in the interview.
Armstrong and Kotler (2007) break the buyer decision process into 5 stages; “need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and postpurchase behavior”. In the interview, the first question was based on “need recognition” (the first stage in the buyer’s decision process). “When did you realize you needed a new computer and why? ” When I first realized I needed to get a laptop; I had just enrolled in AIU Online and my desktop PC was old and could not support the 2007 version of the software, Microsoft Office, as required.
Also, I wanted to be able to take my school with me. Shane quotes, “I realized I needed a laptop computer a couple months before I purchased one for two different reasons. One, I was at a point in my job that I needed to be more mobile than I had been before and it was getting to be a hassle having to use other office computers and carrying usb hard drives with all my files. Two, I need access to a computer and the internet at all times, even when I’m on vacation or driving down the road” (personal communication, April 6, 2008). Shane recognized a need because of his job and portability.
This is similar to me as I recognized a need for the new computer because of the software requirements for AIU and portability. The second question is “Did you do any research before making the purchase? If so, how did you conduct the research? ” This pertains to the second stage of the buyer decision process; “information search” (Armstrong & Kotler, 2007). I did not do much research before purchasing the computer. I knew any new computer would meet school requirements, and I knew that I wanted a DVD burner. Also, I knew I would look at Hewlett-Packard (HP) because the last two computers I bought were HP.
Shane did most of his research on the internet. He also shopped at all the leading places to buy computers, including Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, Comp USA, and Sam’s Club. He also researched the different processors and their speeds, and the different amounts of RAM available (personal communication, April 6, 2008). Shane researched his purchase for 2 months before he completed his transaction. Shane influenced my purchase with the research he had conducted along with what my father had said. The third question in the interview, “Did you compare different brands? If so, how did you evaluate each brand? ; deals with the “evaluation of alternatives” (Armstrong & Kotler, 2007). I compared 2 brands when I went to buy the computer.
I compared Sony and HP by price per similar style and screen size. Sony was priced a little higher and I have heard mixed reviews in the past on Sony and its’ computers. Shane compared Dell, Vision Computers, Sony, and HP. He used their internet sites to compare feature to feature. He also considered each of their customer service reputations and personal experience with the brands or things he had heard from other people (personal communication, April 6, 2008).
Were you influenced by anyone before making your purchase, and were there any factors that led to the final purchase? ” is the fourth question in the interview. It is based on “purchase decision” (Armstrong & Kotler, 2007), the fourth stage in the buyers decision process. I was influenced by my brother and by my father. Both of them had recently purchased new laptop computers. They told me what they had learned after researching laptops and what brands and style they had bought (they both got HP).
Also, my father offered to pay for the purchase on his Sam’s Club membership card. My final decision was then based off of a product offered at Sam’s Club. My brother accompanied me to the store to make the purchase. He pointed out what he got (with a big screen) and what my father had bought (with a smaller screen). My brother confessed to me that he secretly wanted the HP Notebook my father had bought because it had a touch-screen with a stylus, and a twist-and-fold screen that allowed you to work keyboard free with the stylus. I ultimately ended up buying that one.
Shane said “the speed of the processor and the size and brightness of the screen ultimately made his decision” (personal communication, April 6, 2008). Shane wanted the fastest computer that he could afford with a large screen, wire-less connectivity, DVD/CD burner drive, and a separate number pad on the keyboard. Shane needed something big, fast, and portable. I had obviously been influenced by the brother factor. Also, I was not planning on purchasing the computer from Sam’s Club, rather from Best Buy.
When my dad offered to pay for it, I changed my plan. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your purchase? Explain” is the fifth and final question in the interview. The last stage of the buyer decision process as described by Armstrong and Kotler (2007) deals with “postpurchase behavior”. The kind of behavior post-purchase that causes conflict inside a consumer, like “buyers’ remorse”, or that excited good word-of-mouth that occurs with a satisfied consumer. Even though my father had paid for the laptop, I feel I made a decision based on price and profitability. When I got the computer home; it was the wrong computer!
I called Sam’s Club and they told me to bring it back and exchange it. After I exchanged the wrong computer, I found the second one had a broken stylus port. I took the computer back one more time, and with the third try, I ended up with a brand new, and working, HP Notebook. I have been very pleased with my purchase and have told many people about it and recommended future purchases. Shane is also very satisfied with his purchase of a HP laptop computer. He says, “The processor runs the computer fast enough to satisfy me.
The screen is one of the largest you can buy in a laptop and it’s the brightest” (personal communication, April 6, 2008). Shane has all the options he wants and is able to stay connected now at all times. Shane and I did not suffer from any postpurchase behavior like “cognitive dissonance; buyer discomfort caused by postpurchase conflict” (Armstrong & Kotler, 2007). I was very pleased with my purchase as is Shane. According to Armstrong and Kotler (2007), “consumer purchases are influenced strongly by cultural, social, personal, and psychological characteristics”.
Shane and I are influenced by our demographics. We both come from an affluent family, and are both in the same social class as the other. We are both heavily influenced by our family, of which, my father is the “opinion leader” (Armstrong & Kotler, 2007) and is very opinionated on tech gadgets and other things. He has the knowledge and personality to sway our purchase decisions. Shane and I are close in age and we both are in the same occupation. Although, I am a student, we both operate and manage restaurants. We have similar personalities and traits and our lifestyles are remarkably similar.
We also, were both motivated psychologically by our personal experience with HP. We both ended up with similar computers because our demographics are so closely related. In conclusion, this paper has examined the buyer decision process outlined by Armstrong and Kotler (2007). I have examined each step in depth through the interview questions designed and executed. I have compared and contrasted each consumer’s answers as they are relevant to the stages of the process. I have also explained how similar demographics between the two consumers affected their purchases.