Consumer Decision Making Roles

Consumer Decision Making Roles

Consumer Decision Making Roles

Understanding consumer decision-making roles is vital for developing effective and efficient marketing strategies. For many products, it may be easy to identify the buyer. However, for high-value items such as purchasing a home, the decision-making unit may consist of more than one person.

Consumer decision-making stages include: need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behaviour. Buyers play different roles in each stage. Buyer roles refer to activities that one or more persons perform in making a purchase decision. They include:

  • The initiator

“The initiator is the person who first suggests or thinks” (Chand, 2014) about purchasing a particular item and initiates the purchase decision. A specific item’s need may remain latent until certain internal or external stimuli are triggered. “Internally, some of the normal needs may rise to a threshold level and become a drive when people express the desire to buy the item. Externally, various stimuli such as advertisements or word-of-mouth publicity can lead to the initiation of the process” (Verma & Kapoor, 2003).

The type of item to be purchased and the demographic characteristics (gender, age, level of education, income, etc.) govern the behaviour of the initiator. For example, when it comes to buying a home, there are differences of opinion between men and women. However, studies suggest that feelings of homeownership are more pronounced in women than in men. Hence, women are most likely to initiate the home buying process.

  • The influencer

The influencer is the person whose views or advice carry some weight in making the final buying decision. They directly or indirectly have some influence on the final buying decision of others. Influencers express their views on a particular item and its preferred characteristics. While they do not have the required expertise, they may use the four primary sources of information (personal, commercial, public, and experiential) to get what they need. The influencer’s role spans stages II and III (information search and evaluation of alternatives) of the decision-making process.  

  • The decider

“The decider is the person who ultimately makes the buying decision” (Chand, 2014). They decide whether to buy, what to buy, how to buy, where to buy, and how to approach the process. The role of a decider corresponds to the purchase decision stage of the decision-making process.

  • The actual buyer

The person involved in the process of purchasing the product and making the purchase is the buyer. The role of a buyer also corresponds to the purchase decision stage. Once they make a purchase, the buyer decides on the post-purchase behaviour.

  • The product user

This refers to the person who consumes or uses the purchased item. This role corresponds to the Post-purchase stage. “Users may or may not recommend the product to others based on their satisfaction levels” (Verma & Kapoor, 2003). This role has significant implications for the marketer since word of mouth is crucial in purchasing durable consumer products.

It is important to note that an individual buyer can assume all roles. “A company needs to identify these roles because they have implications for designing the product, determining messages, arid allocating the promotional budget. Knowing the main participants and their roles helps the marketer fine-tune the marketing program” (Consumers Buying Roles Initiator, Influencer, Decider, Buyer and User, 2021).

Check the following reference articles to learn more about the Consumer Decision Making Roles

  1. Chand, S. (2014, January 3). 5 Roles Played by a Buyer While Making a Buying Decision. Your Article Library. (URL)
  2. Consumers Buying Roles Initiator, Influencer, Decider, Buyer, and User. (2021, April 1). Indiafreenotes. (URL)
  3. D P S Verma, & Sheetal Kapoor. (2003, December). Dimensions of Buying Roles in Family Decision-making. ResearchGate; Elsevier. (URL)
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