What really drives buying decisions?

Why do people and businesses choose to buy certain products? Vendors around the world spend millions on market research trying to find the answer to that relatively simple question. But the answer is far from simple.

Much of the time, purchasers have a specific need and by buying a certain item they are able to scratch that itch.

In the consumer world, for example, it could be a practical factor – their phone, tablet or PC has run out of memory and is running slow, their car could be coming up for a costly service and have 80,000 miles on the clock, their washing machine could have ground to a halt and need replacing immediately. Or it could be a personal preference: they have perfectly workable devices but just feel it’s time for an update.

These are all factors that drive someone towards the process of buying. But what it is that encourages them to make that final decision? Why this particular device? And indeed: why buy from that specific supplier? 

Informed decision

Sometimes price can be the sole deciding factor but it is usually augmented by considerations of features and functionality, ease of use, supply availability, brand reputation and even feedback from other people. The selection process can be complex so the key question quickly becomes: where does a potential purchaser go to obtain the information they need to inform their buying decisions?

In the electronics industry, the quality of a component bought from a reputable manufacturer should be a given. Therefore, important aspects that make all the difference in the buying decision include not just price but also immediate stock, factory lead-time, minimum order quantities (MOQ) and reliability of service. Another major factor is whether the purchase will actually reduce time to market.

Usually, when a purchasing decision is made all the options have been carefully considered and weighed, meaning that the buyer is more likely to become a repeat customer if they are satisfied with their experience.

It may be the relationship with the purchasing department – or even an individual – that guides a buying decision or it could be a completely impersonal exercise. Even then, if the whole process is carried out online, there is always going to be an emotional element built into any buying decision. Or a convenience element, if time was spent creating an online profile that can be accessed in a few clicks.

According to Sam Cowley, founder and managing director of OEM Secrets, a price comparison website for the electronics sector (www.oemsecrets.com), as long as humans are involved in purchasing decisions there will be some level of personal choice and preference in the process. However, the exercise can be made more objective by using a website like OEM Secrets. Such platforms can guide the buying decision and represent a game-changer for buyers.

Reputable distributor

“People don’t usually go on to a comparison website and simply choose the option with the lowest price tag,” he says. “That hardly ever happens. If you think of when you renew your car insurance, price is definitely an important factor but you also want to know if that low price comes at a cost – such as an eye-watering excess or an impractically limited mileage. You would also ask yourself if you have even heard of the company and is it reputable?”

Sam continues: “With electronics parts and components, the same factors apply which is why it is vital that any purchaser is given the maximum amount of information available in order to make a confident buying decision. For example, they need to be sure they are sourcing their parts from a reputable distributor. They may be looking at a specific supplier, a particular product category or even know an individual part number. But whichever angle they tackle the issue from, they need to feel comfortable as they navigate through all the available options.”

“Trust is absolutely crucial to any buying decision and the purchaser needs to feel 100% happy with the entire browsing process and with their ultimate choice… and if they’re happy they will keep coming back” concludes Sam Cowley.