There are many different types of purchases which a consumer might make. But if we measure the purchasing behavior of the customer on the basis of his involvement in the purchase, then the two most common type of purchase is Low involvement purchase of a Low involvement product or a high involvement purchase.
Low involvement products, as the name suggests, are products where the consumer does not need to think too much before purchasing the product. There is not much risk involved in low involvement purchase, as a result of which decision making is much faster. Most FMCG products can be classified as a low involvement product.
Here are some characteristics of Low involvement product or Low involvement purchase
#1 Low price
One of the first characteristics is that the price of the product is generally lower. As the price is lower, the consumer does not think twice before making the purchase. Example – Soaps. A soap has a very less price and mostly all soaps perform the same function. Hence, Soaps are low involvement purchase.
#2 Low risk factor
As the price is lesser, there is no risk involved in the purchase of the product. The product can easily be returned or replaced. And hence, a consumer does not get heavily involved in the purchase of such a product. Example – A consumer will think very less when purchasing chips or chocolates for himself but he might think longer and in depth when purchasing a watch for himself or his loved ones.
#3 Not much differentiation
Differentiation of low involvement products is very difficult. Take the competition between Coca Cola or Pepsi or Bisleri and Aquafina. If Bisleri is not available, the customer will buy Aquafina or any other mineral water brand that is available. Differentiation between the products is not so easy, thereby making the product a low involvement product.
#4 Brand switching
Because there is not much differentiation and as the risk in the purchase is minimal, there is heavy brand switching wherever Low involvement purchases are involved. Customer might not stick to one single brand and the innovators and adopters will keep checking out new brands in the market.
#5 Availability and distribution
A characteristic which can make a Low involvement product a success is its distribution. That is why Pepsi and Coca cola are always at loggerheads. We see similar behavior from other brands in the FMCG sector. Availibility of the product is a major criteria for decision making.
- Example – A customer wants to have ice cream but his favorite brand is not available at the store. He will easily buy another brand. He might not like it as much as the first one, but it will be ice cream and he will enjoy it. The customer will not wait for the availibility of the branded ice cream only. Thus, the better the distribution of a low involvement product, the more is the sale.
#6 Repeat purchase
Another factor which makes a product as a low involvement product is repeat purchase of the same product. For example – I have always used head and shoulders as a shampoo. So i always purchase the same. Purchasing a shampoo from the market is a no brainer for me. But if i am going to purchase something new for the first time, i might think a bit more. Still i won’t think of purchasing a shampoo as much as purchasing a new laptop or a new car.
#7 Impulse buying
Impulse buying is a feature found only in Low involvement purchase. You don’t buy high involvement products on impulse. This is because after sales, features and differentiated characteristics play a major role in high involvement purchases. Whereas in low involvement purchase, the consumption of the product is very fast. Hence impulse buying is commonly used for low involvement purchase.
- Examples – Chocolates are kept at checkout counter in FMCG stores. Similarly accessories are kept at checkout counters in Mobile stores or in stores of consumer durables. If you need the accessory, you might buy it on impulse, because many accessories can also be characterised as low involvement purchase.
The above are all the characteristics which define a low involvement product and which can lead to a low involvement purchase. Can you think of any other characteristic of low involvement products? We will love to hear.