Wednesday, April 05, 2006

7 Common Psychological Factors That Determine the Decision to Buy a Product either Online or Offline

In our daily lives, we are always affected by outer influences that greatly affect our daily decisions. It may be a thing that we can see or an emotion that we can only feel. Sometimes we are also affected by some factors that we can never clearly explain, like our intuitions or the so called sixth sense. Then of course there is the influence of people we trust, like family and friends, from whom we seek advice.

We sometimes make decisions based on our own beliefs and other times based on what other people tell us. But in the world of psychology, they have categorized these reasons and have come up with lists of the most common factors that affect a buyer’s decision.

First thing is the Post Purchase Behavior; what is meant by this term is that a certain individual has learned something from his previous purchase that may affect his future product purchase.

Like for example, he bought a gift for a certain individual that is close to him, thinking confidently that the person would like what he bought. He gives it anxiously to that person, only to find out that it is not even close to what that person likes, causing a great disparity in what he believes the person likes then and now.

Sometimes the buyer also feels a period of anxiety known as cognitive dissonance; the consumer is not sure whether he or she has made the right decision. This kind of psychological effect is greater when the price is high and when alternatives are similar. It is also a great deal when the purchase is perceived to be important.

Buyers try to reduce dissonance by seeking positive reinforcement.

Cultural Influence is also a great psychological factor that affects a buyer’s decision. As obvious as it is, buying decisions are influenced by social forces.

Cultural influence has the most indirect impact that affects a buyers purchasing decision. We are all a product of handed – down culture, and this influence changes very slowly over time.

One good example of this is the multicultural countries of Canada. Ethnic subcultures have a profound effect on how Canadians live their lives. The most obvious subcultural differences are between French and English–Canadian, although many other subcultures exist as well.

Social Class Influence is another thing; social class represents an interesting way to look at a market. Social class is influenced by such factors like education, occupation, and place of residence. This can be used as a basis of segmenting or grouping the markets and may reflect the aspirations of consumers.

Social Classes exist whether people care to believe it and admit it or not. Differences in beliefs and attitudes exists across class boundaries and social class may be a better predictor of buyers' behavior than income.

Because basically, people who are in the high class of society can afford a much higher value than compared to the groups that belong to the lower or middle class.

Next is the Reference Group Influence. This refers to the groups we interact with and who influence our attitudes, values, and behaviors. Small reference groups establish norms that influence purchase decisions and their word-of-mouth is considered to be more powerful than advertising and other commercial forces.

The family and household are considered to be very influential when it comes to these kind of factors.

Motivation and Need is another thing that greatly affects a persons' purchasing attitude. Motives are either physiological or psychological. Need Motivation is a need sufficiently stimulated where an individual is moved to seek satisfaction.

Many different motives are often involved in a purchase.

Perception also greatly influences a buyers' drive to buy. This is the process of receiving, organizing, and assigning a meaning to the stimuli that are detected by the senses. This influence is impacted by selectivity. Selective Attention, which means that only those stimuli that capture and hold attention can be perceived.

Selective Distortion, this means that the consumer alters information that is inconsistent with their beliefs and attitudes, while Selective Retention is where consumers retain only part of what they perceive.

Learning is a very powerful form that influences buyers' decisions. Learning something good or bad about a new thing can cause changes in a buyer’s decision-making process.

Personality and Decision are also great factors that influence a certain individual’s decision-making process. Personality is a pattern of traits that influence behavior, but it is not always clear how personality affects consumption behavior.

A consumer tends to act in a way that is consistent with his or her self-concept.

Attitude is one of the most important concepts in understanding consumer behaviour; it is a learned disposition to act in a certain way. Attitudes are formed over time, are slow to change, and are excellent predictors of behavior that can affect a buyer's choice of product.


About the author:

Peter Dobler is a 20+ year veteran in the IT business. He is an active Real Estate Investor and a successful Internet business owner. Collect more free software and bonus content for your own web site at

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