There are several stages in a business-to-customer decision-making process. Suppose a customer is buying a television. This entire purchase process has several stages. In the first stage, the customer recognises his or her need for a new television. In the next stage the customer searches for information regarding the various models of television provided by several manufacturers (Saaty, 1999). In this stage the customer also searches for information regarding the range of televisions sold by various retailers. Then in the next stage, the customer compares the alternatives with each other. This process includes the features of the different models of television provided by various manufacturers. After the customer evaluates all the alternatives of a new television, he or she decides a particular model of a particular manufacturer depending on his or her requirement, needs and preference. After the choice for a particular model is done, the customer chooses a retailer selling the television at the best price or with the best offer. Then the customer buys the television. This stage of purchase decision stage includes all the monetary transactions for the television. After the customer buys the television and uses it for some time, he or she starts to evaluate the purchase decision. This is the last stage of business-to-consumer decision making process (Sheth, 1973). The example given above about the decision making process of a television includes all the activities related to the recognising the needs, searching of information, evaluating the alternatives, purchasing and evaluating the purchase decision.
Buyer behaviour is basically the process in which individuals, groups or organisations make the decision of buying a product. This is the concept which allows the manufacturers and sellers of the products to understand and identify the requirements and needs of the customers. There are several theories and approaches used by an organisation to determine the buyer behaviour. Take Sony as the example of the organisation which has positioned their product Bravia as a brand.
Coke is an established brand of “The Coca-Cola Company”. The brand is something that distinguishes the product of a company from the similar products of the other companies. This brand can be the name, sign, logo, symbol, design or any other feature of the product that acquires a special place in the minds of the customers. The product “Coke” of “The Coca-Cola Company” has been placed as a well-known brand in the world by its symbol, logo and unique taste. The term “Brand loyalty” means that the customers who buy Coke prefer it over all the other alternatives i.e. the customers are loyal to the brand “Coke” (Martenson, 2007).
Corporate image is the status of the company in the eyes of common population across the world. The corporate image of a company defines the success of the company and its various products. The Coca-Cola Company has a strong corporate image due to its success in the soft drinks market (Nguyen, 2001). The term “Repeat purchase” defines the process of loyal customers buying a product of the company like The Coca-Cola Company over and over due to its unique qualities.
The link between corporate image, brand loyalty and repeat purchase can be defined in the following way. The placement of Coke as a well-known brand helped The Coca-Cola Company to increase its brand loyalty in the market, which in turn strengthened the corporate image of The Coca-Cola Company. Strong brand loyalty and corporate image caused customers to buy Coke repeatedly, which in turn means increase in the repeat purchase of the products of the company.