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Introduction

This paper seeks to analyze the actions of a student upon purchasing and using products and services. The analysis will include the mental and social processes that are deemed to precede the actions of the students.

Consumer Behavior

A research was carried out on the consumer behavior of particular students who were seeking admission to the California State University in Northridge. The research carried out was to find out or to analyze the consumer behavior including the mental and social components that preceded the admission.

It is important to note that behind every human decision there is an underlying decision process, which we want to investigate and research. The basis of our research attempted to answer a few questions such as why the students choose this particular university among others universities in Northridge, how they make this choice or what prompted them to make these decision, and how the universities use this knowledge to ensure that they provide quality and good value services to the students.

The first stage of our research was to study the problem recognition stage. This was the first stage of the research which entailed the student need. This means that the student realized a need that he/she had. This is the process of decision making which is very crucial because it determines the decision making and purchasing results of the student (Mitchman, 2006). The student collected the information from many different universities in Northridge. This information helped him to measure the university’s potential, determine the characteristics of the university, he/she considered the sales analysis of the universities, tested the products and services offered in comparison to other universities, looked into the university’s educational trends, and he/she studied and analyzed the products and services offered by other universities in Northridge. This information prompted the student to make an informed decision. This simply means that after the student recognized that he/she had a problem or a need, he/she went ahead and researched the objectives of solving the problem.

He/she gathered preliminary information to help him/her to define these problems better and help him to come up with a hypothesis for solution. Then the student carried out a descriptive research with the intent of finding out the universities’ potential in the service and products that they offer, and if these products and services suited him/her. This analysis created a certain attitude towards the universities under research. This was the information search stage. (Solomon, 2003)

The third stage was the evaluation stage. In this stage of our research, the student gathered already existing secondary information from a different source, but for the same purpose. These sources included internal and external sources from the universities in Northridge. It is important to note that the secondary sources are much quicker to obtain and are usually free of all costs. Some of these secondary data was provided by the specific universities in Northridge.

The student took time to search through the secondary information. This was in order to evaluate the secondary information and simply to make certain that it was relevant. According to the research, the purchase decision making was a very crucial stage. This stage was affected and determined by many factors. These factors included physical factors, social factors, underlying reasons why the student has picked that particular university, and the mood of the student at the time of making the decision. All these aspects and factors had an effect on the student and helped him/her make the decision. Some of the physical factors were atmospheric. The physical factors were based on the physical outlook of the university, the environment in and around the university and overcrowding in the university. It was an interesting finding to discover that the overcrowding had a positive impact on the student’s physical experience in a specific university in Northridge. Thus, it was one of the contributing factors that helped him to choose this particular university. The social situation also had an impact on the decision making stage by the student. This was based on the friendliness of the environment and the people around or in the University. The reasons why the student chose this particular university were affected by the amount of time that the student spent while shopping for the university. These reasons could have occurred due to convenience, sheer necessity or the university could have been the best university because it was the closest to the student. The student’s mood at the time he was making the decision also had an effect on the decision. In this case he was not in a sour mood.

The sour mood would have driven him/her to make any decision regardless of all the information that the student had gathered. The situation played a major role in the student’s purchasing behavior. The universities are aware of these situational influences that is why the universities make these physical factors attractive and favorable. The universities also use other tactics such as discounts on the fees and other charges. These factors help to influence the consumer decisions to the same extent.

Personal Factors that Affect Purchasing Behavior

It is important to note that the personality of a student is the disposition of this student as seen by other people or the society. The personality of the student or traits of the student predict the student’s purchase behavior. These personality traits include openness which affects the way how the student opens to new experiences at the university, extroversion, which defines if the student is outgoing or shy, agreeableness, which affects how easy it is for a person to get along with the students, neuroticism, which explains how prone the student is to a negative mental state, conscientiousness, which describes how diligent the student is. The student’s self concept also has a big impact on his/her purchasing behavior. This describes the positive or negative self ideals of the student. The age and particular stage of the student has an impact on the purchasing behavior. This student in particular was in his/her mid teens and still had different views on specific prospects concerning the universities. His/her age therefore had an impact on his/her purchasing behavior. The lifestyle of the student added weight to the purchasing behavior. This is because his/her buying behavior was based on the kind of lifestyle he/she has led all his/her life.

Motivation is an inward drive that also had a big impact on the purchasing behavior of the student. Other personal factors that had a positive and negative impact on the student’s purchasing behavior were the student’s perception of the universities, affects of subliminal advertising by the universities, learning, and the student’s attitude.

The society around the student also contributed to the purchasing behavior of the student. The following societal factors include cultural factors, which are believes, customs and behaviors that have been instilled by the society, sub cultural factors, social class that the student comes from, and the family of the student. These societal factors in our research have a positive effect on the purchasing behavior of the student.

Environmental factor also had a big impact on the purchasing behavior of the student. These factors included factors such as economic factors, political factors; cost charged by the universities, competition factors in relation to the procedures in the universities, and technological factors which had an effect on the income of the student.

Post Purchasing Behavior

The initial behavior of the student after purchasing or enrolling the university was that of doubt. The student was worried if he/she had made the wrong choice. However, this is a common trait in most purchasers. This is the reason why it is important for the California State University in Northridge to advertise for the sake of the students. This will ensure that the students feel safer and more secure as for their decision to enroll the University. This will also help the University to maintain a good reputation. The student did not feel reassured that he/she was in the best California State University in Northridge. This could have been contributed by the many factors such as physical factors, social factors, environmental factors, personal factors and many other factors that influenced the student’s behavior on the decision making stage and during the purchasing stage.

From the initial stage which was the problem recognition stage, the student had to decide on the particular product and services that he/she needed and that would suit him/her best. This prompted the student to carry out an information search on the different universities in Northridge. He/she then evaluated the information in relation to his/her purchasing options. After the evaluation the student took a purchase decision which was influenced by a number of factors. After enrolling in the university of his/her choice, we expected him/her to be happy with this decision, but the student is unsure of the decisions that were made. This doubt could have been caused by the many factors that affected his/her purchasing behavior (Moinj, 2004).

Conclusion

This paper has outlined the process that triggered the need to purchase certain products and services. The study has attempted to understand the purchasing behavior of a consumer and various concepts of the consumer’s behavior.

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