Study of the repurchase behaviour of farmers: case of the Indian tractor market
Knowledge about a product category affects various aspects of the consumer buying process. This has been recognized by researchers as an important factor in the field of consumer behavior. It has been found to influence aspects like how much information to search for, which brands should be searched, what features should be examined, and even consumer reaction to product failure among others. One important way of acquiring knowledge and learning about product category is through personal experience in the use of product. Further, product experience cues are more accessible in memory than the product information cues. This implies that the post purchase processes are important indicators of the consumer buying behavior. The study of post-purchase process as central to the consumer’s decision to repeat-buy products has attracted increasing attention from consumer researchers. This source of information is also the most credible one. As Hoch and Deighton(1989) put it, “consumer trust their own opinion more than they trust the opinion of others”. The essence of this statement is that behavior of customers having more knowledge about, and experience with a product category should be different from those having less knowledge and experience. Hence experience and knowledge due to experience are more important constructs than knowledge per se. more specially, in relation to information search, a number of studies have shown that as experience, learning, satisfaction and repeat purchase increase, search for information about alternative brands decreases. This leads us to believe that there has to be much difference between consumers at the two ends of prior knowledge and experience continuum. Following from this, does it mean that the difference between the first time buyers and the repurchasers is also significantly different? If yes, then on what aspects are they different? What product attributes is considered by the repurchase buyers? Do they differ from the one considered by firsts times buyers? Whose opinion is trusted more by them? And on what aspects? How are the choices decided? What information do they have on different opinion? What is their perception of the different options? What is the comprehension level of the critical components, i.e., what is the level of knowledge? What kind of advertisements or information they are exposed to? How is the information search behavior different for these two types of buyers? Do personal sources of information play different role for the two types of buyers? To what extent are the commercial sources of information used? What is the influence of experiential sources? What is the level of the objective vis-à-vis subjective knowledge among the two types of buyers? And finally, is there a reduction in the number of alternatives considered by the replacement buyers, as compared to those considered by the first time buyers? This study attempts to investigate these issues. It is a cross-sectional study of the difference in buying behavior of first time buyers and repurchasers. The main emphasis is on the effect of prior knowledge and experience on the buying behavior. Prior knowledge and experience has been taken to be gained by owning and using the product for a reasonable period of time. METHODOLOGY Tractor was selected as the product to test the hypothesis on. The method used for collection is field survey using a structured questionnaire. The usable sample size was 173. To account for effect of socio-cultural aspects, data has been collected from two regions: Uttar Pradesh (Etawah district) and Gujarat (Sabarkantha district). A sample of 50 first time buyers and 50 repurchasers was selected from each of these two districts. Farmers who had brought a new tractor for self agriculture within the six months prior to the date of interviewing were selected in the sample. RESULTS The repurchasers have significantly higher learning and critical ability as compared to the first time buyers. The differences are significant with respect to the components also-ability to remember, analyze, difference and elaborate. Repurchasers have signiﬁcantly higher objective component in their total knowledge, while the ﬁrst time buyers have signiﬁcantly higher subjective component. First time buyers perceive the risk associated with the purchase of tractor to be much higher than the repurchasers. They also perceive signiﬁcantly higher uncertainty in the purchase process. Repurchasers are aware of signiﬁcantly number of models as compared to the ﬁrst time buyers. But there is no difference in the number of models considered by the two types of buyers. The study does not ﬁnd any difference between the two groups of buyers in terms of the total number of information sources used. There is also no difference between them on the perceived credibility of impersonal, personal or word of mouth sources. However, the personal sources and word of mouth sources are used signiﬁcantly more by ﬁrst time buyers as compared to repurchasers. They also search for information more, as spend more time in the information search process. While the repurchasers perceive the product related information to be more important, ﬁrst time buyers perceive market related and product performance related information to be more important. There is also a signiﬁcant difference between them on the features used while making a choice. There is no signiﬁcant difference between the two groups of buyers on their cultivation practices. On the personal attributes, there is a signiﬁcant difference between them on net area owned and investment in agriculture. The study ﬁnds mixed results on environmental factors. While there is no signiﬁcant difference between the two groups of buyers on perceived complexity and information availability, repurchasers have signiﬁcantly higher knowledge of new models introduced. Regarding situational factors, ﬁrst time buyers face signiﬁcantly higher ﬁnancial pressure, but there is no difference on perceived time pressure and social pressure. Satisﬁed repurchasers are found to spend signiﬁcantly less time in information search than the unsatisﬁed repurchasers. The study does not ﬁnds much difference between the buyers of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat on the different aspects studied. IMPLICATIONS The study helps in broadening the consumer behavior literature by studying the effect of prior knowledge and experience in the speciﬁc purchase context. Further, it throws light on the hitherto under-researched area of agricultural inputs. The results of the study have signiﬁcant implications regarding the segmentation strategy to be followed by the tractor companies. Further, it also has implications for the marketing strategy to be adopted, type of information to provide, as also the type of decision making processes adopted by the buyers in rural areas.
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