My purchasing habits tend to be minor re-purchases because of brand loyalty. I reflected on my recent purchases (and had to check my bank to see), and what I realized is that I make a lot of small purchases. I smoke Marlboro cigarettes. When the store doesn’t have “my kind” of cigarettes I will grudgingly purchase another brand that is new to me because of price.
If I analyze this single minor re-purchase habit I find that my brand loyalty overrides my desire to spend less money. I will grumble over price increases, but if they have it then I will buy the same brand and style every time. Marlboro has such a strong salience that anytime I think of buying cigarettes, even for other people, I will always think of Marlboro first. When I am unable to get the specific cigarettes I want, then I revert to price shopping.
Following the steps of buying, the first step is my need for cigarettes. Then instantly moving to step two, I look around the store for a familiar alternative. Not seeing anything familiar that I would want as an alternative, I always will ask, “What’s the cheapest? Do you have any specials?” I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the store so I will buy whatever is presented. Afterwards, smoking the cigarettes I hadn’t originally wanted, I analyze whether the flavor and smoothness was worth the purchase.
The other small purchase I make, usually daily and with the cigarette purchase, is a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. I get the same coffee every day. I know the price ($2.63), and I usually visit the same store. I have the brand loyalty, again here, by always buying Dunkin’ Donuts coffee as opposed to Starbucks. I do not like the taste of Starbucks coffee, and they don’t put the cream and sugar in the coffee for you.
Dunkin’ Donuts is a brand I know, and I have seen their logo since I was a young child. The first time I went to buy coffee there was no thought other than to go there. None of these purchases were made online, but I have often considered buying coffee and Marlboro cigarettes online.
Online purchases are rare, however my credit card does get quite a bit of use. I’m always nervous buying online that someone might steal my information and take all my money. My last online purchase was actually a major new purchase. I had to renew the web hosting for my website. When we started Veteran Awareness Coalition I knew we would need a web site, and I was very happy to build it. The biggest question was where to have the site hosted.
GoDaddy is probably the largest company to choose from. They do tons of marketing on the web, radio, television and even a racecar. Personally, I have a lot of negative impressions towards big businesses. I believe that most big businesses have lost touch with the consumer. Automated telephone systems are a very large discouraging factor. All of these negative impressions were true in my last purchases from GoDaddy. My knowledge of their company and brand made me not want to buy their product and services.
This purchase being a major new purchase meant that I had to do some research. I searched the web for company names. Then I searched for reviews of a few companies. Facebook was the next obvious location for information. I wanted to know if my friends have needed hosting, and I wanted to know what they used, what they thought of the companies I was looking at and why they used or didn’t use the companies.
I finally chose a company that was recommended by a friend on Facebook, and the company was unknown to me. I chose a company that is based and 100% operated in the United States. When I called the company a person answered the phone. Their prices were reasonable, and I never even compared them to GoDaddy. I was so impressed by the customer service that I signed right up. This whole sale provides examples on internal and external influences on a major buying decision.
External influences came from friends on Facebook for the most part. The reviews and Google searching that I did created many other external influences. The sites search placement on Google is something I look at. Internally, the negative influences about GoDaddy pushed me in another direction. My personal feelings when contacting the hosting company that I chose were a very large influence in my purchasing decision.
Consumers make purchases all the time, whether online or not. These consumers process through the five Decision Steps, and most are completely unaware they do it. Sometimes the purchase is a major new purchase, re-purchase, minor purchase or re-purchase, but it is always motivated by internal and external influences. “Could sell ice to and Eskimo” is a common phrase that describes a person who is able to influence people externally by playing on their internal influences.