The Buyer is Boss
Millie and Liza have been friends for the longest time. Some months ago they decided to share an apartment, and that is how they found the two-bedroom unit they are currently renting. Asked what their first major buy was after the move, they chorused that they just both got laptops. Both of them had desktops, Millie even has a superior type which helps in her work as a graphics designer. Liza, a writer, had an old desktop which sufficed for word publishing and internet access.
However, they stressed they needed the laptops because “the apartment is small, there is no room for two desktops,” justifying that they needed the gadgets and did not just want them. However, they had different ideals for a laptop they have in mind. Millie, being a graphic designer, needed a high-end mobile computer which will be superior in memory and speed—and the bigger the monitor, the better. Liza, on the other hand, was more conscious about the price. She wanted a laptop that will work just like her old desktop, and she has set a budget to stick strictly on.
Friends have warned them that laptops will cost more than powerful desktops do, but the need for space was of primacy. They went on to research and window shopping. Through Yahoo Answers, a web service where people can connect to each other for questions and answers about almost anything, they found the best suggestions: computer stores in the area and eBay. While the computer stores option gave competitive prices and models, the two girls agreed they will get cheaper units from eBay. They checked the site for a couple of weeks using a single user account, and finally found the laptops.
It was Liza who found hers first. It was an mid-model Compaq Presario 1400 which was “released in 2002 according to my research. ” Apparently, Liza was researching each of the product she saw and took note of which will give her the best computer with what little money she has. Millie got hers, a second-hand MacBook, about a month after, and she too went through the research ordeal. They asserted that shopping in eBay will require lots of patience, research, and inquisitiveness, else one might end up “with a D-class item”.
Luckily, their finds were both A classes. Both Liza and Millie were contented with their laptops, but they now agree with their friends that “it is costlier to live with a laptop… we have to buy mice to avoid overusing the trackpads, and soon we might need a [laptop] cooler, and I noticed that my laptop hangs more often than my old desktop,” says Liza. But given a choice to spend their money on some other things, Millie declined. “With these space-saving gizmos, nothing else will be better. ” Analysis
Allen (2003) describes the five processes in a buyer’s purchase decision making: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchse behavior. Looking at the buying process that transpired between Liza and Millie, it is obvious that they both went through the whole process. They realized the need to get laptops, gathered information, selected the best offers, bought the items, and came up with the feedback. Both of them had criteria for the laptops they want—recommendations, function (save space), and usage.
However, Millie focused on quality and performance because of the demands of her job, while Liza was more concerned about her budget. All these are part of their awareness, then follows the search for information. Rohan (nd) asserts that information search may be internal (based on knowledge and past experience) or external. Millie and Liza resorted to external sources. There are four types of external sources: personal (family and friends), commercial (advertisements), public (news and bulletins), and experiential (tried product). (Buying Decision Process, 2006) In the case, a mixture of personal and commercial were utilized.
Because the criteria for the laptops are clear, the process was easy for the two. They were able to sort out the purchase decision process of where, when, and if to buy, after which they came up with the concluding feedback that they were satisfied with their purchases. In some instances, parts of the buyer decision process may be skipped or reversed. This is determined by high-involvement or low-involvement. High-involvement purchases are those that require investment as they are costlier and have serious effects to its buyers (e. g.
appliances, jewelry) while the low-involvement purchases are simple things that can be bought (e. g. bread, milk, burger). (Buying Decision Process, 2006) Brooks (1999) ratifies this by saying that the buyer decision process is highly situational and involvement level-dependent. Furthermore, he states that involvement may be influenced by economic, psychological, performance risk, and decision novelty factors. This theory is highly visible in the case. Millie and Liza had high-involvement purchases to make, and the factors played a major role.
Economically, Liza was more conscious than Millie, but it is the other way around with regard to the product’s performance risk, though psychologically and in relation to decision novelty the two were consistent. The buyer decision process happens everyday to everybody. All buying processes require a person to go through at least two or three steps in the process, which may lead to a sale or not. When applied theoretically, the buyer decision process is a good tool for consumers to choose their wares, and for merchants to know how to target their consumers. For Millie, Liza, and their sellers, it definitely worked.