The paper 'External Factors and Their Influence on a Consumer’ s Decision Making Process' is a wonderful example of a Management Case Study. The decision to purchase a particular item or service by a consumer does not happen in a vacuum nor is it spontaneous (Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, 2009). On the contrary, factors such as the family, social class, culture, opinion leaders, needs, motivation among others greatly influence the decision-making process (Perreau, 2014). The decision-making processes and the eventual actions of buying a product or service by consumers are referred to as buying behavior.
According to Adapa (2015), a decision is making a choice from two or more alternatives and implementing that choice. Thus, the consumer decision-making process is the process by which consumers gather and analyze information to make selections from among alternatives (Burrow, 2009). A consumer goes through five key steps when making decisions to purchase goods and services which include needing recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, making purchase decisions, and finally carrying out a post-purchase evaluation (Gbadamosi, Nwankwo and Bathgate, 2013). Despite the fact that clothing is a basic need and its purchase decision not necessarily rely on other factors apart from the necessity aspect, a number of factors come into play in determining the type and kind of clothing one decides to buy.
This essay will discuss those factors that have a greater influence on decision making on the part of consumers in buying clothing. It concentrates on three main external factors that greatly inform the decision reached by consumers in relation to clothing purchases. Culture and decision-making process by consumers According to Gbadamosi, Nwankwo, and Bathgate (2013), culture encompasses all the learned beliefs, customs, and values that shape the behavior of members of society.
Among the many factors that influence consumer decision-making cultures takes a large share because it includes all the activities that consumers engage in without a conscious choice because their culture’ s customs, values, beliefs, and rituals are inscribed in their daily habits (Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, 2009). Culture is like an inbuilt memory of a computer as it directs the behavior of and individual and that behavior is reflected in shopping decisions. If a certain product conforms to the beliefs, customs, values, and norms of a particular society, then consumers inherent in that particular society find it easy in making a decision to buy such products (Madaan, 2009).
Thus culture determines what one wears, eats, and also determines where to reside and travel (Pride and Ferell, 2010). Culture determines what is acceptable within one’ s society and influences our patterns of living and consumption. As far as clothing is concerned, different societies dress differently simply because of the differences in their beliefs, customs, values, and norms. For instance, in a society dominated by Muslims, we expect them to adhere to a particular dress code that agrees to their culture.
For example, in this particular community women are required to cover themselves completely leaving only the eyes. Thus, when making decisions to purchase clothes they have to go for long dresses and ‘ hijabs’ . Hence, their beliefs have been pertinent in informing their purchase decisions. The same case applies to a society of lawyers in that their dressing code is dictated by an established culture in themselves in that if you happen to be a lawyer you find yourself dressing in expensive suits and ties.
Another example illustrating how culture informs purchase decisions on clothing is where a Christian bride is required to wear a white gown during her wedding day where a Hindu bride is required to wear a red, maroon, or a bright colored saree during her wedding day. It is prohibited in the Hindu culture to wear white during important occasions. Also, informal organizations including companies, there are prescribed dress codes that should be adhered to.
All these play a very important role in informing the decision making by consumers when shopping for clothing. So before one decides to commit his or her money to buy clothes he or she considers whether the clothes that he or she is about to buy conforms to the requirements of the beliefs, norms, values, and perceptions of that particular society.