Consumers are faced with purchase decisions nearly every day. But not all decisions are treated the same. Some decisions are more complex than others and thus require more effort by the consumer. Other decisions are fairly routine and require little effort. In general, consumers face four types of purchase decisions:
- Minor New Purchase – these purchases represent something new to a consumer but in the customer’s mind is not a very important purchase in terms of need, money or other reason (e.g., status within a group).
- Minor Re-Purchase – these are the most routine of all purchases and often the consumer returns to purchase the same product without giving much thought to other product options (i.e., consumer is brand loyalty).
- Major New Purchase – these purchases are the most difficult of all purchases because the product being purchased is important to the consumer but the consumer has little or no previous experience making these decisions. The consumer’s lack of confidence in making this type of decision often (but not always) requires the consumer to engage in an extensive decision-making process..
- Major Re-Purchase – these purchase decisions are also important to the consumer but the consumer feels confident in making these decisions since they have previous experience purchasing the product.
For marketers it is important to understand how consumers treat the purchase decisions they face. If a company is targeting customers who feel a purchase decision is difficult (i.e., Major New Purchase), their marketing strategy may vary greatly from a company targeting customers who view the purchase decision as routine. In fact, the same company may face both situations at the same time; for some the product is new, while other customers see the purchase as routine. The implication of buying behavior for marketers is that different buying situations require different marketing efforts.