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The Internet Impact on the Buying Process

Introduction

The Internet is an interconnected computer network that operates at a global level. The Internet uses a set of rules known as the Internet Protocol suite to avail information to those using computers connected to the worldwide network. The Internet is an important area of business whereby it allows interactions between buyers and sellers. Consumer buying behavior is a topic that has been under study for decades (Zhang et al., 2018). The idea focuses on forming a marketing plan that appeals to the intended market for a particular product. The following essay will concentrate on the Internet as a global marketplace that impacts how the worldwide network of communication either promotes or limits business interactions, buying stages impact of Internet transactions on a product’s value chain and models of consumer behavior.

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Consumer Behavior Concepts

The aspect of consumer behavior is essentially bringing together the research on individuals, groups, and other organizations about acquiring goods through trade. Thus, the concept of consumer behavior focuses on the aspect of a consumer’s emotions, psychology, external factors, and personality (Steward et al., 2019, p 293). The theories relating to consumer behavior patterns include; Economic man, the theory relates to consumers driven by rational thought in the economic sense. Therefore, the consumer researched the options and then has the ability to rate the use and level of value they would attain from each retailer before making a purchase (Sands et al., 2016, p. 63).

The aspect of the economic man is waning in its real value as the buying capacity of most humans increases across the globe and the element of irresponsible consumption spreads. It focuses on the need to make a ‘perfect’ decision.

The Psychodynamic approach theory focuses on concepts established by Dr. Sigmund Freud (Ostergaard and Bode, 2016, p. 392). Therefore, the idea assumes that consumer purchases attain guidance from an internal conflict around the needs of a person, their drive for gratification, the person’s ability to control their behavior, and their financial and other limitations. Thus, the concept claims that consumption works with the environmental stimuli around a person, their physical wants, and not due to cognition or deep introspection.

The behaviorist approach concept puts forth the idea that a consumer’s behavior results from external factors that give rise to responses in the way of purchases. Furthermore, the experience attains guidance from the results of the previous shopping experiences to decide whether a buying decision is positive or negative (Sands et al., 2016, p. 65). Consumers, therefore, repeat behaviors based on the reward system attained from previous experiences. Negative feedback chains shall consequently be avoided, and the wasteful behavior of consumers is, therefore, a seemingly organized feedback loop.

The cognitive models of consumerism theories look upon the cognitive psychology explored by Hebb in the 50s (Johnson and Miles, 2019, p. 382). The model focuses on the probability of consumer behavior resulting from the influences that affect the purchasing decision. It focuses on the outcome of a purchase decision in an in-depth manner using two concepts. They are as follows; the analytic model and the authoritarian model. The analytic model is based on identifying factors influencing the relationship between consumer behavior and the decision-making ability of consumers. The theory uses other models in a combined fashion to describe consumer behavior (Sands et al., 2016, p. 69).

The grand models are the most commonly used consumerism models they include; buyer behavior and consumer decision model (Strang, 2018, p. 22). The other model of cognitive consumer model is the authoritarian model focuses on the guidelines and frameworks taken up in developing consumer behavior structure in everyday purchases. The model focuses on the causal factors for making purchases and the stimuli that attract specific consumer responses.

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The consumer decision model theory is a simplified model that considers the various aspects a consumer undergoes during the purchase process. It falls within the grand models of consumer behavior. Researchers can compare the model to a consumer roadmap as it accounts for various aspects considered before product purchases (Frambach, Roest, and Krishnan, 2021). The process finds the need, research processes, the evaluation of alternatives, buying process, consumption, product evaluation, and divestment.‍ The model eases the concept of consumption and analyzes all its aspects.

Models of Internet-based Consumer Behavior

The above models all apply to consumer behavior both in person and on the Internet. Excellent and clear decision-making must be followed all through as one makes buying decisions. However, the concept of Internet-based consumer behavior theories is not very developed. A lot of its practices fall in line with the Diffusion Innovation theory (Strang, 2018 p. 4). The concept focuses on the way an innovation gains traction in the market. The rate of spread is a gradual process whereby its positive traits are over accentuated, and the focus on specific discrete policies is taken more seriously than that of the ‘outdated’ concept. There are certain variable factors from the concept elaborated below;

The aspect of relative advantages is clear whereby the innovation appears better than its predecessor (Darrat and Amyx, 2016). Profits and positive attributes are exaggerated and negative challenges are not highlighted to gain traction. In the aspect of price, the new theory is presented as cheaper. The idea around this is that web retailers are considered cheaper. Convenience, new inventions are more often than not more efficient than their predecessors. This is a correct presumption of the DOI theory. The concept of complexity is perceived in online purchases as compared to in-person purchases. The skills required to use innovations are publicized and, in the long run, prove to be essential and unintimidating.

Impact of Internet Transactions on Product Value Chains

The value chain dynamics focus on the sequence of activities that make up the sales process of an item. Internet-based business transactions have led to reconstructing the value chains for most products, services, and experiences. The aspect of the reconstructed value chain came about following the shift in the shopping experience from what it entailed in the past. The buying process is now essentially cheaper and offers more convenience and accessibility at the click of a button (Cakanlar and Nguyen, 2019). The transaction speeds are fast and easy to book and fulfill. The Internet, therefore, has promoted increased transactions and trade volumes.

Stages in the Buying process

The buying process is a set of dynamic processes that aim at fulfilling a consumer’s need. Therefore, the buying process is tailor-made to identify and solve problems in the buyer’s environment (Minton, 2018, p. 180). The buying process consists of distinct stages such as problem recognition, the ideal initial step to solving any problem focuses on discovering and defining the deficit (Sipilä, Sundqvist and Tarkiainen, 2017, p. 108). Problem recognition is an aspect that focuses on looking into a lacking in the consumer’s life and being sure that a product to cater to that need could exist. The transaction that follows then focuses on how the client intends to solve the challenge.

In information research, the client uses their networks to seek products that may put an end to their challenge. At this step, the Internet is essential in putting forth ideas (Jones, 2014). The person may also borrow from the experiences of other people and adverts. The use of advertising on the Internet and other platforms then is invaluable at this point. Brand recognition is essential for clients who may prefer to focus on already well-known brands and good experiences from the past.

Comparing alternatives, the Internet may provide information on identical products from different brands. The client then gets an opportunity to compare; functionality, price, and the user ratings accessed online. The comparison of alternatives is essential to research to facilitate the ‘best’ decision as per the client’s needs (Zhang et al., 2018). Product evaluation works best for a supplier if their product information is easy to access and the product is available at numerous outlets.

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Decision-making, deciding on the product or services to acquire, is the middle stage. The client is well-versed with the products on offer, the payment strategies, and the product quality. The client is thus likely to inquire further about the product from the chosen suppliers and attain more reviews on the item decided upon by the supplier (Minton, 2018, p. 111). The aspect of marketing is essential at this point, and so is the concept of product availability. A client can leave at this juncture if the information is scarce or negative. The purchase process, the step involves making an order and providing one’s address, or finding the store location and accessing the products in demand.

A simple purchase process is likely to enhance the customer experience and lead to more sales. The slow process or few store locations can lead to the loss of a client. The process involves payments, deliveries, and after-sales services. The final step is product evaluation where item evaluation and return occur (Zhang and Benyoucef, 2016, p. 100). The process occurs after deliveries, purchases, and attaining a product. The action can enhance customer loyalty and trust. It can also lead to returns and the loss of clients. Consumer loyalty is reliant on this stage.

Impact of the Internet on the Buying Stages

The Internet serves to condense the buying stages. All the processes outlined above can take less than a day while using the Internet and the offers of same-day delivery from Internet retailers. The business aspect of the Internet promotes a more significant number of transactions as the process is faster (Minton, 2018, p. 122). Internet sales services also often eliminate the entire buying stage through pop-up advertising and instant offers. These cause the phenomenon of impulse buying and lead to gains for the producers and retailers.

Benefits of Internet-based Sales services

The sale of services over the Internet is an efficient and convenient process. The process requires little to no physical and mental effort. The process makes it easier to access bargains and a wide variety of products from all parts of the globe (Darrat and Amyx 2016, p.106). Online advertising also increases visibility for services that may not have shops on convenient streets in a business district. The element of privacy and control is present as even online shopping services that avail their information to researchers do not provide clients’ personal information. The process makes the products cheaper as it eliminates the need for salespeople and clerks and offers various channels of advertising at an affordable cost.

Limitations of the Internet sales process

Despite the convenience and availability of a comprehensive data set from the Internet. The process fails because the return policies are not as easy as physical retail services. The process may take extended periods. The client can easily get duped, and therefore the aspect of trust is low for retailers over the Internet (Zhang and Benyoucef, 2016, p. 103). Products are more likely to fail to meet expectations when purchased over the Internet, eliminating opportunities for shopping experiences and interactions for humans.

Conclusion

The impact of using the Internet as a business transaction platform is that it promotes the saving of time and provides a comprehensive set of alternatives. However, the Internet as a tool for consumers may lead to deprivation in the long run. The consumer theories under consideration mainly employed a lengthy and formalized process to allow for sales and the acquisition of new products. The community magnified product value, and so was the concept surrounding product maintenance and the brand name. The Internet avails products with ease and robs one of the privileges of shopping. It has led to reduced interaction, increased laziness, and an overall sense of distrust and surprise worldwide. It has diversified the market and provided an opportunity for new entrepreneurs. The Internet has promoted an overall positive impact on society and allowed business transactions to occur globally.

Reference List

Cakanlar, A. and Nguyen, T. (2008) ‘The influence of culture on impulse buying,’ Journal of Consumer Marketing, 12(2), pp. 163-176.

Darrat, A., Darrat, M. and Amyx, D. (2016) ‘How impulse buying influences compulsive buying: The central role of consumer anxiety and escapism,’ Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 31, pp. 103-108.

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Frambach, R., Roest, H. and Krishnan, T. (2021) The impact of consumer Internet experience on channel preference and usage intentions across the different stages of the buying process. Business 2 Community.

Johnson, A., and Miles, C. (2019) ‘Visual Hebb repetition effects survive changes to both output order and concurrent articulation,’ Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 31(3), pp. 276-284.

Minton, E. (2018) ‘Affective and cognitive religiosity: Influences on consumer reactance and self-control,’ Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 17(2), pp. 175-186.

Ostergaard, P. and Bode, M. (2016) ‘Is consumer culture theory research or realpolitik? A sociology of knowledge analysis of scientific culture,’ Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 15(5), pp. 387-395.

Sands, S., Ferraro, C., Campbell, C. and Pallant, J. (2016) ‘Segmenting multichannel consumers across search, purchase, and after-sales,’ Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 33, pp. 62-71.

Sipilä, J., Sundqvist, S. and Tarkiainen, A. (2017) ‘Winding paths: Ambivalence in consumers’ buying processes,’ Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 16(6), pp. 93-112.

Strang, K. (2018) ‘Consumer Behavior in Online Risky Purchase Decisions,’ International Journal of Online Marketing, 8(2), pp. 1-26.

Steward, M.D., Narus, J.A., Roehm, M.L. and Ritz, W. (2019) ‘From transactions to journeys and beyond: The evolution of B2B buying process modeling,’ Industrial Marketing Management, 83, pp. 288-300.

Zhang, K.Z. and Benyoucef, M. (2016) ‘Consumer behavior in social commerce: A literature review,’ Decision Support Systems, 86, pp. 95-108.

Zhang, K. et al. (2018) ‘Online reviews and impulse buying behavior: the role of browsing and impulsiveness,’ Internet Research, 28, 522-543.

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