Factors That Influence a Person’s Buying Decisions

Consumer behavior is an essential aspect of sales planning and marketing for any company. The focus of this observation was the behavior of people in a supermarket. The objective was to determine what affects the decision of a person to purchase a particular product. The primary aim of a supermarket is to evoke interest from a customer when the latter is passing by a cabinet with products. For this, a physiological approach is used which suggests that “individuals react to tangible environments using two general, and opposing, forms of behavior: i.e., approach or avoidance” (as cited in Lindberg, Salomonson, Sundström, & Wendin, 2018, p. 2). In the first case, a person is interested and approaches the aisle to examine the products closely. In the second situation, the consumer walks away from the aisle. In addition, “physical environment thus affects consumers’ perceptions and their behaviors” (Lindberg et al., 2018). Therefore, it is essential to study the behavior of consumers in a specific setting to determine how they perceive products.

Information about the Observation

For this assignment, I choose a Walmart supermarket that was close to my home. I went there twice, once on a Friday and once on a Sunday. The Friday visit was towards the end of the day – at about 6 p.m. while on Sunday I went to the store at 11 a.m. Each time, I have spent about twenty minutes observing the aisle where puffed rice was. Friday is the last day of the workweek for most people that is why I expected to see customers in a calm atmosphere while they were choosing products. However, what I have noticed is that most were in a hurry. That is why people did not pay particular attention to the products they were picking up. I had a chance to take a good look at how people chose their groceries as they were using their time to read the labels and compare prices. While my observation was focused on the aisle with breakfast products, as I moved through the store to pick up my groceries I saw that this was a case for different parts of the supermarket as well. People were moving quickly, choosing the products without lingering at the aisles for too long. Presumably, this was because they were rushing home for dinner or to meet up with friends. On Sunday however, the situation was different. Most people in the store were moving from aisle to aisle slowly, choosing carefully what they needed. Appendix A displays a table with the observation.

Consumer Decision Making Process

To understand how the consumer behavior I have chosen two specific cases. The first one was a young woman that was in the store on Friday. The second observation was an elderly couple that was at Walmart on Sunday. The young woman did not linger at the aisle with breakfast products. Overall, she appeared to be in a hurry. She did not pay any particular attention to brand names or product descriptions. In addition, she did not have a list of products she wanted to buy. Thus she moved from one section to another rather chaotically.

The elderly couple progressed through the consumer behavior process in a much slower manner. They had a list of products they wanted to buy. In addition, they observed the price closely. In particular, when they approached the aisle with breakfast products they initially picked up one brad on cereal. However, they noticed a sale for a different brand of the same product, which made it much cheaper. They observed the packaging and the ingredients list of the product on sale and in the end chose to buy it. In the two observed cases, the consumers determined the value of the product differently. In the first case, the woman picked products she was familiar with. In the second case, the couple was choosing carefully, paying attention to descriptions, prices, and sales.

The consumer perception is an essential factor that influences the purchasing patterns of people. According to Pentz and Garber (2013), consumer perception process is how one selects, organizes and further interprets the stimuli around them to have a coherent picture of the world. The method in the two observed cases differed drastically. In the first case, the young woman did not pay much attention to the product and advertisements of sales around her. She did not stay at the aisle for an extended period nor did she observe all the products on the shelves. In addition, she did not read the ingredients and additional information on the packaging. It appeared that she chose a brand that she was familiar with. Therefore, her perception of the product was formed before this visit, and as she was in a hurry, she did not look for other options. On the other hand, the couple was very meticulous about their purchases. They were choosing carefully each product from their list. Although they were reaching for products and brands, they were familiar with, in cases where there were other products on sale they chose to buy the cheaper ones. Therefore, for different groups of people, the perception of the product and the environment differs.

Different brands choose specific strategies to motivate consumers to purchase their products. In the case of the young woman, she chose a product that was adversities as a healthy meal. The manufacturer specifically stated that there was no added sugar nor other components that can be harmful in their product. In this case, the brand motivated the consumer through advertisement of a healthy lifestyle, which their product can be a part of. In the second case, the consumers were motivated to purchase a particular brand because of the sale that the supermarket had for the product. The motivation to buy was communicated through the value that the consumer received by saving money. Thus, different consumers are motivated by specific factors.

Overall, the consumers in question made their decisions regarding the purchases differently. In the case of the young woman, the environment of the supermarket did not matter. The decision about what products to buy was made rather spontaneously and by choosing brands that were known to the consumer. In the second case, the decision-making process was a lot more meticulous. The consumers played attention to various factors in the environment and in the product itself. Different groups of people perceive products differently and make their purchasing decision’s considering different factors.


Lindberg, U., Salomonson, N., Sundström, M., & Wendin, K. (2018). Consumer perception and behavior in the retail foodscape–A study of chilled groceries. Journal Of Retailing And Consumer Services, 40, 1-7. Web.

Pentz, C., & Gerber, C. (2013). The influence of selected senses on consumer experience: A brandy case. Acta Commercii, 13(1). Web.

Appendix A

The table below displays the observation of consumers that were picking up puffed rice in Walmart.

Consumer Time of the observation How did the consumer make a decision?
A young women Friday, at 6 p.m. Moved fast, choosing products that were familiar.
An elderly couple Sunday, at 11 a.m. Moved slowly, chose products by looking at the price, descriptions, and sales.

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