Consumer Behavior Through Observation

Products category on which the observation was undertaken: Perfumes and Two-wheelers Observations about Consumer Buying Behavior Product: Perfume We visited Westside (perfume and deodorant section) and Reliance All-time outlet. The buyers were mainly within the 20-40 age group, male as well as female in nearly equal proportion. As per our inference, there were buyers who were buying it for their own use while some intended it to be used as a gift.

The former category of buyers were usually more discerning, and spent a lot of time evaluating various brands across multiple price categories. The buyers in the latter category were less discerning and the purchase decision was made faster and the concern was largely in adhering to a particular price band rather than any particular quality of the product. In both categories, buyers did not seem to have much information about the various products and brands available.

Buyers were however particular about the olfactory qualities of the product and described the same in their own words like “Hard Hitting”, “Fresh” etc. In some cases the buyer was accompanied by one or more friends or family members; however the presence of friends or family did not seem to influence the purchase decision significantly. The shopping was more impulsive than planned, as most buyers appeared undecided about what brand or type of perfume to buy. Sometimes buyers tried a lot of product across multiple, often posh, categories and settled on a cheaper product, like a deodorant.

This leads us to infer that a lot of the purchases were impulsive. The buyers generally looked across multiple brands and price bands before deciding on a final purchase; we did not find any buyer having fixed choices. The two most important factors that the consumers seemed to be interested in were the olfactory quality and the price; the former being a more important deciding factor. Only in a one particular case did the buyer show a knowledge of brands and was interested in particular brands.

Most consumers were not very critical about brands and usually arrived at a buying decision by comparing multiple brands by sampling various alternatives and often seeking views from the sales person or anyone accompanying the buyer. In cases where the buyer did not spend too much time in sampling the product, we infer that the purchase was probably meant as a gift. In a few cases the buyer did not seem to make any distinction between a perfume and a deodorant and treated them as substitutes. On an average the buyer spent 10-15 minutes on the purchase.

The role of the sales person seemed critical as the sales person played a significant role in educating the buyer about various brands and their particular qualities. Besides, the sales person needed to quickly understand the requirement of the buyer and present product based on his/her understanding. Also since the olfactory quality of the product plays a major role in the purchase, a sales person who can understand the verbal description of the buyer and provide appropriate products is essential.