The retail industry developed in the United States in the 18th century and was initially restricted to only general stores. Gradually specialty stores came into existence in areas that had a population of over 5000 people and when suburbs began to grow after World War II, Supermarkets started to flourish in the US and Canada (Watch).
In the last two decades the modern retail industry has boomed across the globe. The competition in the retail industry has never been greater. As a result of this competition some retailers have lost sight of what customers actually need and want. The demographic and lifestyle changes of customers have affected how, where and what they shop. As the range of choices in products has increased drastically in the last decade, the biggest challenge for the marketing teams is to understand the buyers’ behaviours. It is very important to have a strong understanding of buyers’ behaviours because it will give insights on what customers feel is important and the factors that influence their decision making when buying a product(Zambito). These insights can then be used to create marketing campaigns which will be of interest to customers. If marketing teams can understand how customers make decisions, it could improve their marketing strategy. Since every customer is different it is necessary to generalize customers buying process to an extent.
Customers usually obtain information about products from personal sources (family and friends) or commercial sources (advertising, sales men, dealers) or public sources (magazines, newspapers, televisions). The influence of these sources of information will vary depending on the product and customer. The primary goal of this research is to identify which information sources play an influential role in choosing a product. We are also going to find out how the personal, social and cultural characteristics of customers influence their decision making process in selecting their choice of product, brand, dealer, etc.
If retailers can get to know what customers go through in each of the five stages of the decision making process, the sources of information and customers’ characteristics, they can influence customers to buy their products.
The objectives of this study are:
To understand buyer behaviour
To identify information sources that customers rely on
To assess the factors that influence customers
To identify the stimuli that influence the decision making process
To propose how customers decision making can be influenced