Factors That Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions

To be successful in online retail, understanding key factors influencing consumer purchasing decisions is a top priority. Behind each online sale, several factors sway a consumer. Nevertheless, getting to the core of these influences is vital to growing and scaling your online business. However, it isn’t an exact science.

In fact, there are many different types of shoppers. Some follow their instincts, acting on impulse. Others, however, take things slower. They choose to break down and analyze every product detail in depth. Some sit in between both poles. Sound familiar?

From cultural influence, societal pressure, quality product information, and hassle-free user experience. This blog will explore the best tactics you should employ to convince more and more shoppers to click ‘add to cart.’ We’ll get to the bottom of how and why people make important consumer purchasing decisions.

For a round-up of the blog’s key points, click here.

Types of consumer purchase decisions

Consumer behavior purchasing decisions are behind every online transaction. It’s an intricate process with multiple factors at play. These include personal preferences, external influences, or various socioeconomic factors.

Below are some vital consumer purchase decision definitions to familiarize yourself with:

1. Routine Purchase Decisions

The first category refers to when consumers buy products and services they use daily. These purchase decisions require little consideration as consumers often have a well-established preference.

Examples include toiletries (toothpaste, toilet paper), groceries (bread, milk, eggs), cleaning supplies, pet supplies, and healthcare and beauty products.

2. Limited Decision Making

In this category, consumers are typically more cautious and considered. For instance, they’re more likely to conduct more research and consider broader factors. However, these decisions are still reasonably quick (relatively speaking!).

For instance, imagine you’re looking to upgrade your smartphone. So, you research different brands and compare specifications (camera quality, battery life. Finally, you narrow down some choices that meet your requirements and align with your preferences.

3. Extensive Decision Making

You guessed it! These decisions typically take longer as they require consumers to invest more time and effort in evaluating different options. Multiple decision-makers might also be involved, making the process even more complex.

This process typically applies to high-value and ‘luxury’ purchases, such as electronics, cars, or vacations.

How does culture influence consumer purchasing decisions?

Culture plays a crucial role in shaping purchase decisions. It’s a fundamental cornerstone to understanding a consumer’s behavior. So, tuning your marketing strategy to the cultural nuances of your consumer base is vital.

Debates around what ‘culture’ is and isn’t are ongoing among academics. However, in this context, we mean your target audience’s demographics, language, and values. With 64% of buyers valuing localized content, vendors must have the right strategies or risk alienating consumers.

One example of localization is the food brand Walkers and the American company Lay’s. When Pepsi acquired the Walkers and company Lay’s, they decided the name Walkers was too tricky for non-fluent English speakers. So, Lay’s would be the primary name. In addition, Walkers was already well established in the UK, so they retained its original branding.

Stages of consumer purchase decisions

As we’ve covered, emotional needs and culture influence consumer motivation for purchase decisions. However, these influence consumer behavior at different stages of the buyer journey.

In essence, the consumer purchasing decision process features multiple stages. Nevertheless, understanding each step is crucial to unlocking consumer behavior.

Problem recognition

A shopper realizes a particular product can fix a specific problem in their life. This might result from personal desire, peer pressure, or other societal factors.

Information Search

After they realize this need, they begin to search for a solution. They search across various channels, look at online product reviews, ask friends for recommendations, or speak to customer service reps in a brick-and-mortar store.

Compare and Evaluation

The next stage involves combining and comparing their research based on specific criteria. Typically, this requires price, item quality, brand reputation, and level of product information available. Doing so allows them to narrow down their shortlist and make a decision.

The final purchasing decision

The last step in the consumer decision-making process!

After comparing the products, they take the plunge. Price, promotions, checkout, and product availability determine the final decision.

Post-Purchase Evaluation

The item arrives, and they like the product. Because the delivery was smooth, they’ll likely shop with them again. On the other hand, negative experiences will result in dreaded product returns (and possibly complaints!).

Factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions

Numerous factors influence consumer purchasing decisions. The hard work involves getting to the bottom of these influences. If you do, you’ll connect with your audience. So, what are some factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions?

Price and Value

Price plays a crucial role. Did you recently lose interest in a product because it was too expensive? Discounts, promotions, and competitive pricing strategies influence buying decisions.

Product Information

Product detail pages loaded with detailed product descriptions. Additionally, product images and videos will give consumers an understanding of what they’re buying.

Product information is vital to driving consumer confidence. After all, would you buy a product if it was missing essential information?

Product Quality & Features

The design of products influences consumer purchasing decisions. Quality and performance will attract buyers seeking that extra edge.

Emotional & Psychological Triggers

Emotional appeals will evoke desire or urgency. Product shortages coupled with the ‘fear of missing out’ will trigger impulse buying. Limited-time offers coupled with dynamic marketing will tap into these triggers.

Convenience and User Experience

A frictionless and user-friendly experience with hassle-free transactions can be a deciding factor. Remember, consumers value ease of navigation and convenience.

Ethical and Sustainability Considerations & Brand Image

More and more so, consumers will consider a brand’s ethical and environmental standpoint when making decisions. Make sure you display sustainability credentials where applicable. This is a crucial example of how brands affect consumer purchase decisions.

Understanding how these factors influence consumer purchasing decisions is essential to developing customer connections. Ecommerce is incredibly competitive, and you want to convert as many customers as possible.

How Consumers Make Purchase Decisions: Fashion eCommerce

Now we’ve broken down the key factors; it’s time to see how they function in real terms.

The fashion sector is an excellent example of how consumers follow a path shaped by various factors that affect consumer purchasing decisions. Let’s explore a scenario illustrating how consumers make purchase decisions:

Problem Recognition

When browsing social media, Sarah sees an influencer she follows wearing an outfit she likes.

She recognizes a need – she wants the outfit!

Information Gathering

Sarah sets out to find the outfit with online research. She clicks on links to the fashion brand provided by the influencer. And, she types in keywords using Google related to the outfit to see if there’s anything similar.

She reads product descriptions and examines customer reviews to gather information about the quality of the product (fabric, size, quality).

Evaluation of Alternatives

Sarah’s search reveals multiple retailers offering the same outfit.

She compares the prices, looking for discounts and promotions across different retailers. And, she weighs up their sustainability credentials.

Purchase Decision

Sarah identifies the retailer offering the outfit at the best value. The retailer is a trusted and environmentally-conscious brand running a promotional offer.

In addition, their sizing information was clear. She felt confident in her purchase when she added it to her basket. Checkout was frictionless and hassle-free.

Post-Purchase Evaluation

The outfit arrives and meets her expectations. She leaves a positive review online.

Her experience with the eCommerce brand means she’s likely to make repeat purchases.

Throughout the scenario, Sarah’s customer journey highlights the interplay of various factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions.

Whatever sector your niche is, eCommerce retailers should streamline each point of the customer journey to persuade consumers to go with your products. Provide detailed product information and offer promotions to guide consumers toward making all-important online purchase decisions.

Key Points: Consumer Purchasing Decisions

  • Multiple factors influence consumer purchase decisions. There isn’t a silver-bullet solution.
  • Common factors include personal preferences, cultural influences, economic conditions, and the marketing campaigns retailers leverage.
  • Societal and cultural factors play a considerable role in shaping consumer decisions. Peer groups, family, social media trends, and other pressures are vital influences.
  • Economic conditions impact the purchasing decisions of consumers. Consider your customer base’s income, budget constraints, and broader financial concerns.
  • Pricing is (and always will be!) a key factor. Analyze competitors and, where applicable, run discounts and promotions to convert more browsers to buyers.
  • Don’t downplay the role of product information. Ensure product pages feature detailed product descriptions. Include images and videos to provide a more precise view of your product. Doing so will result in more confident shoppers (and more conversions!).
  • Leverage emotional triggers to inspire impulse purchases. Tactics include loyalty programs, limited-quantity items, and social proof. To whip up a sense of urgency, go a step further with flash sales and limited-time discounts.
  • Importantly, consumers want a hassle-free experience. When a customer is about to purchase your product, you want as little friction as possible. Keep the checkout process as simple as possible by enabling one-click purchasing. Ease of navigation and convenience will help you snag more customers.