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Business & Consumer Buying Processes

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According to the authors (Mullen et al., 2013), "Consumer decision making is essentially a problem-solving process. Most consumers, whether individual consumers or organizational buyers, go through similar mental processes in deciding which products and brands to buy."

The consumer buying decision process is determined by many factors, which are characterized as situational, psychological, and social. Situational impacts are results from time, location, and circumstances which affect the buying decision process of a consumer.  Situational influences can affect a buyer during any stage of a buying decision process and can cause the consumer to shorten, extend, or cancel the process.  For example, the buyer’s temporary mood and condition, reason for purchase, time perspective, physical surroundings, reason for purchase. Psychological influences partially determine people’s normal behavior wherein it influences the consumer's behavior. The consumer initial psychological influences on behavior are personality, self-concept, lifestyles, lifestyles perception, motives, learning, attitudes, character, and self-concept.  Although these are internal psychological factors, they can be strongly affected by external social forces. Forces that are exercised by other people are social influences, e.g., the consumer's family, culture, social, opinion leaders, classes, reference groups and role in society.

The business buying process is prone to put more importance on economic needs related to how a purchase will benefit the organization in achieving its objectives.  It often leads to a more systemic assessment of possible choices maybe through a formal vendor analysis, e.g., the motivation of the buyer; the demographics of the buyer, and the nature of the purchasing process and the relationship between buyer and seller (Mullen et al., pg 124).  The business purchases vs. consumer purchases are also predicated on how extensive the decision processes may be; and depending on how necessary the purchases are, e.g., business purchases, that involves products or services that are relatively complex and expensive (Mullen et al., pg.124).  When it comes to business purchase there are three kinds of organizational buying processes 1) (new-task buying, 2) straight rebuy, and 3) modified rebuy) whereas the consumer is the person that makes the final decision to buy the product or service whether it involves extensive problem-solving, limited problem-solving or routine response behavior (Mullen et al., pg. 129)  

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