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Involvement Level and Effect on Buyer Decision Making

written by: jciotta•edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 5/17/2010

What is involvement level and how does it affect buyer decision making? Learn a comprehensive definition for involvement level and if higher or lower involvement is better. We also discuss involvement in relation to consumer purchasing behavior.

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    What is Involvement Level?

    Level of Involvement When consumers decide to buy a product based on the interest and importance of the product to them, this is defined as involvement level. In other words, it measures how personally, socially and economically involved the customer is with the product in order to buy it. If a consumer seeks out, researches and feels drawn to the product, there is an involvement level.

    What is involvement level and how does it affect buyer decision making for large and small purchases? Involvement level divides into two categories: high involvement and low involvement. High involvement purchases are higher priced items such as luxury products. With these purchases, the consumer will research to eliminate the risk. For example, a luxury car is a high involvement purchase. It is risky because the consumer will pay a high amount of money toward the purchase. To spend this much money without research and possibly buy a lemon is risky behavior. Thus, consumers research high involvement purchases such as luxury cars, motorcycles, boats, etc. Also, with high involvement purchases, there is brand loyalty i.e. if you paid for your Porsche and love your Porsche, the next car you will buy is a Porsche.

    With low involvement purchases, there is little risk if any at all. Examples of low involvement items are toothpaste, bar soap, snack foods, etc. Consumers do not research or put forth a major decision making effort when buying these products. In other words, they automatically buy the product and there is little involvement.

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    How Involvement Level Affects Consumer Buying

    Buyer Decision Making Buyers become psychologically involved when making the decision to buy a product. However, there are levels that determine the involvement. For example, if I'm out running errands and I'm thirsty, I will run into a convenience store and grab a bottle of water. Usually, I will grab any cold bottle of water and purchase it. It is a quick purchase that will probably last under a minute. Thus, my involvement level is low when buying my bottle of water.

    However, my involvement level raises when I start to notice that I like one particular brand of water. So every time I run errands, I stop in the convenience store and search for that particular brand and purchase it. This is limited decision making involvement.

    Now, let's say I'm tired of spending money on bottled water every time I run errands. I want to purchase a water distiller, which is an expensive purchase of $350. I decide to research water distillers online, reading through consumer reviews, product reviews and comparing and contrasting each distiller. After a few days of researching online, I finally make my choice. That is a high involvement level because I've invested a lot of time and energy on my decision to buy.

    Now that you understand what is involvement level and how does it affect buyer decision making, you can tailor your business's product to the level of involvement you'd like. Are you creating and producing items of high or low involvement? Attracting the consumer through involvement is a positive way to build brand name, recognition and loyalty. Once you have a loyal customer base, the financial prosperity will come.

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    References

    University of Delaware class notes -- udel.edu/alex/chapt6.html

    "High Involvement Purchase Decisions" by Vivek Shukla, Ind Medica Cyber Lectures -- http://cyberlectures.indmedica.com/show/79/1/High_Involvement_Purchase_Decisions

    Photos by graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net -- freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=987






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