6. HowarthSheth Model Consumer Behaviour

This model is slightly complicated and shows that consumer behavior is complex process and concepts of learning, perception and attitudes influence consumer behavior. This model of decision-making is applicable to individuals. It has four sets of variables which are:

  • Input
  • Perceptual and learning constructs
  • Outputs
  • Exogenous or external variables.

Some inputs are necessary for the customer for making decisions:
These inputs are provided by three types of stimuli as shown in Fig:

  • Significant stimuli: These are physical tangible characteristics of the product. These are price, quality, distinctiveness, services rendered and availability of the product. These are essential for making decisions.
  • Symbolic stimuli: These are the same as significative characteristics, but they include the perception of the individual, i.e., price is high or low. Quality is up to the mark or below average. How is it different from the other products, what services can the product render and, what is the position of after sales service and how quickly or easily is the product available and, from where.
  • Social stimuli: This is the stimulus provided by family, friends, social groups, and social class. This is important, as one lives in society and for the approval and appreciation of the society, buying habits have to be governed.

Perceptual and learning constructs
These constructs are psychological variables, e.g., motives, attitudes, perception which influence the consumer decision process.
The consumer receives the stimuli and interprets it. Two factors that influence his interpretation are stimulus-ambiguity and perpetual bias.
Stimulus ambiguity occurs when the consumer cannot interpret or fully understand the meaning of the stimuli he has received, and does not know how to respond. Perceptual bias occurs when an individual distorts the information according to his needs and experiences. These two factors influence the individual for the comprehension's and rating of the brand. If the brand is rated high, he develops confidence in it and finally purchases it.

Simplified-version of the howarth sheth model

By output we mean the purchase decision. After purchase there is satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Satisfaction leads to positive attitude and increases brand comprehension. With dissatisfaction,a negative attitude is developed. The feedback shown by the dotted line and the solid lines shows the flow of information.

Exogenous or external variables
These are not shown in the model, and do not directly influence the decision process. They influence the consumer indirectly and vary from one consumer to another. These are the individual’s own personality traits, social class, importance of purchase and financial status.

All the four factors discussed above are dependent on each other and influence the decision-making process. The model though complicated, deals with the purchase behavior in an exhaustive manner.

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