What Is Purchase Intention? Purchase Intention In A Nutshell

Purchase intention is a measure of the strength of a consumer’s intention to perform a specific behavior or make a decision to purchase a product or service. Usually purchase intents are classified according to four types: informational (awareness), investigative intent (consideration), navigational (consideration/conversion), transaction intent (conversion).

ConsumerThe potential buyer or group of individuals interested in a product or service.Understanding consumer preferences and demographics is crucial for effective marketing.A teenager looking for a new smartphone.Marketing strategies, target audience analysis.
InterestThe level of attraction or attention the consumer has towards a specific offering.High interest often indicates a stronger likelihood of purchase.Showing interest in a fashion brand’s new collection.Market research, ad targeting, product design.
WillingnessThe inclination or readiness of the consumer to take action, such as making a purchase.A high willingness implies a greater likelihood of converting interest into action.A customer willing to subscribe to a streaming service.Sales forecasting, conversion rate optimization.
FutureThe timeframe in which the consumer plans to make the purchase, indicating it’s not an immediate decision.Longer future timelines may require sustained marketing efforts.Planning to buy a new car within the next six months.Campaign scheduling, lead nurturing.
Product or ServiceThe specific item, service, or solution that the consumer is considering purchasing.Different products/services may have varying purchase intentions.Considering buying a laptop for work purposes.Product launch strategies, market positioning.
FactorsInternal and external influences, including price, quality, brand, personal preferences, and recommendations, that impact the purchase intention.Identifying key influencing factors helps tailor marketing strategies.Factors like a product’s positive online reviews.Competitive analysis, pricing strategy.

Understanding purchase intention

Purchase intention is the willingness of a consumer to buy a product or service. 

While the concept appears rather simplistic at first glance, it is important to note that purchase intention cannot be evaluated with a simple yes or no answer. In truth, many factors affect purchase intention such as consumer knowledge, product packaging, celebrity endorsement, or the general perception of a product among friends and relatives.

Purchase intention is the single most important customer metric in eCommerce, but many businesses build customer segments around a buyer persona and consider their work to be finished. In a study conducted by Google in 2015, it was found that marketers who focused on demographics and ignored purchase intention could be missing more than 70% of potential customers.

To illustrate this point, Google noted that 40% of baby-related products were purchased by people who lived in households without the babies they were purchasing for. These are individuals such as grandparents, birthday guests, and baby shower attendees, among others. However, the point here is that none of these individuals are the parents with the newborn baby.

Thus, it stands to reason that to neglect purchase intention is to neglect, in some cases, the majority of the target audience. Marketers who take the time to understand it will enjoy a host of benefits, including improved conversion rates, profit margins, customer lifetime value, brand equity, and marketing channel ROI.

The four types of customer purchase intention

For online businesses, there are four types of customer purchase intention. In other words, every consumer lands on a website with a different goal in mind.

The four purchase intention types are as follows.

1 – Informational intent (awareness) 

Consumers in this stage are concerned with reading information to educate themselves on a topic. For example, a consumer searching for information on cosmetics that do not inflame sensitive skin may read an article that helps them understand how to solve their problem.

For the business, the goal is to create brand awareness and provide the consumer with educational resources that move them down the marketing funnel.

2 – Investigative intent (consideration)

Consumers in the investigation stage are currently exploring their options via additional research. This may include comparison websites, product and brand reviews, and social listening.

Due to the sheer number of different products available today, consumers spend more time with an investigative intent than they do any other intent. As a result, the business must show the consumer value propositions that are relevant to them and clearly explain what sets their brand apart from competitors.

Consumer finance platform NerdWallet incorporates product comparisons and user reviews to make personalized product recommendations across multiple niche market segments.

3 – Navigational intent (consideration or conversion)

Navigational intent means the consumer is visiting a specific website or a brand’s online store. Since they are seeking out a specific brand or website address, navigational intent is associated with higher purchase intent.

Businesses must keep the consumer on their platform at all costs or risk losing them to the competition. Product promotions and personalized messages or customer experiences can be effective strategies.

4 – Transactional intent (conversion)

Transactional intent is the type most equate with actual purchase intent. These consumers have a propensity to purchase, which means they are interested in acquiring a product or service.

Conversion should be the aim of the game for all businesses at this stage. This can be facilitated via incentivized, time-limited, or personalized promotions. For example, many eCommerce retailers offer consumers a 10% discount in exchange for their email addresses. Others may promise free shipping if the order amount exceeds a certain threshold. 

Key takeaways:

  • Purchase intention is a measure of the strength of a consumer’s intention to perform a specific behavior or make a decision to purchase a product or service.
  • Studies by Google have shown that focusing on customer demographics and ignoring purchase intention is to neglect, in some cases, the majority of a company’s target audience.
  • There are four types of purchase intention which correlate with various stages of a marketing funnel. For eCommerce businesses, knowing which type of intent a website visitor displays is crucial in making them more motivated to buy.

The effect of packaging on consumer perception

According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average number of products in a supermarket ballooned from 8,498 to almost 47,000 between 1975 and 2008. The institute claims this number has reduced somewhat in recent years due to the popularity of smaller stores.

Nevertheless, the sheer number of brands available in stores continues to bewilder consumers today, with a separate study concluding that 36% were overwhelmed with the amount of information they had to process when making a purchasing decision. Product packaging plays a key role in this decision-making process since it is often the first contact time-poor consumers have with a brand. 

These subconscious decisions are based on elements such as shape, color, pattern, size, text, material, and information. Many will also consider whether the packaging can be handled safely by infants or children.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss some of these elements in more detail.


The color of product packaging is one of the most significant drivers of consumer purchases, with as many as 90% of shoppers basing their assessment of the product on color alone. Bold colors such as red that attract the eye are the obvious choice for many businesses. However, green is commonly used to denote organic while white is traditionally associated with purity. Blue, on the other hand, is used by toothpaste brands to represent menthol, mint, or freshness.

Heinz released a line of green ketchup in a striped-green bottle to tremendous success. Ten million bottles were sold in the first seven months as Heinz factories operated 24/7 to meet the increased demand.


Typography refers to the font the business uses to describe the product. For maximum results, the business should select a font that is easy to read and incorporates a contrasting hierarchy. In other words, it should utilize headings, subheadings, body text, and so forth.

Product packaging with a cluttered layout and excess content dissuades the consumer from learning more about the product. Since the business has but a few seconds to make a good impression, the benefits of the product and how to use it should be presented clearly and concisely.

Size and shape

The size of a product is also an important part of consumer perception because most equate larger packages with more value. Of course, not every business has the luxury of selling physically large goods.

In this case, it is important to note that shape is also important. In a study that tracked consumer perceptions of various shapes of orange juice bottles, it was found that the anthropomorphic (human) shape was more preferable to a square or round shape

More generally speaking, elongated packages tend to attract more attention than conventional shapes. Unusual shapes that appeal to the target audience also influence perceptions. For instance, animal-shaped boxes for children’s snack food.


Transparent packaging has also been proven to increase consumer purchase intent because the product is perceived to be healthier and of a higher quality.

This form of packaging is commonly seen in fresh products such as fruit, vegetables, and meat. But it is also used in frozen ready meals and baked goods such as cakes and bread.

Studies have shown that transparent packaging with a rough visual texture is the form consumers trust the most. 

Key takeaways:

  • Product packaging plays a key role in consumer purchasing decisions since it is often the first contact time-poor consumers have with a brand.
  • Colour is the most influential aspect of product packaging, with many brands using red for its ability to stand out. However, certain colors are also associated with purity and freshness.
  • Size and shape are important too, with consumers associating the size of a product package with the product’s value. Transparent packaging with a rough visual texture is also one way a brand can facilitate trust with shoppers.

Key Highlights:

  • Purchase Intention Definition: Purchase intention is the measure of a consumer’s willingness to perform a specific behavior, such as buying a product or service.
  • Factors Affecting Purchase Intention: Various factors influence purchase intention, including consumer knowledge, product packaging, celebrity endorsements, and perceptions among friends and relatives.
  • Significance in eCommerce: Purchase intention is a crucial metric in eCommerce. Neglecting it can result in missing out on potential customers. Google’s study in 2015 indicated that marketers focusing solely on demographics could miss over 70% of potential customers.
  • Types of Purchase Intention: Four types of purchase intention correspond to different stages in the customer journey:
    • Informational Intent (Awareness): Consumers seek information to educate themselves about a topic or problem.
    • Investigative Intent (Consideration): Consumers research options through comparisons, reviews, and social listening.
    • Navigational Intent (Consideration/Conversion): Consumers directly visit specific websites or brands.
    • Transactional Intent (Conversion): Consumers have a strong inclination to purchase and are interested in acquiring a product or service.
  • Effect of Packaging on Consumer Perception:
    • Importance of Packaging: Product packaging is crucial in the decision-making process as it’s often consumers’ first interaction with a brand.
    • Elements Influencing Perception: Packaging elements like color, typography, size, shape, and transparency play a role in consumer perception.
    • Color: Color strongly influences consumer decisions, with many shoppers basing product assessment on color alone.
    • Typography: Clear and easy-to-read fonts, along with a structured layout, help convey product benefits and usage.
    • Size and Shape: Package size and shape impact consumer perception of value and attractiveness.
    • Transparency: Transparent packaging, especially with a rough visual texture, can enhance consumer trust and perception of quality.
  • Case Study – Heinz’s Green Ketchup: Heinz’s success with green ketchup in a striped-green bottle demonstrated the impact of packaging on consumer behavior, resulting in rapid sales growth.

Main Free Guides:

Visual Marketing Glossary

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target high-value accounts and turn them into customers.


Ad Ops – also known as Digital Ad Operations – refers to systems and processes that support digital advertisements’ delivery and management. The concept describes any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns, making them an integrating part of the business operations.

AARRR Funnel

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

Affinity Marketing

Affinity marketing involves a partnership between two or more businesses to sell more products. Note that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement where one brand can extend its reach and enhance its credibility in association with the other.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Bullseye Framework

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. The main logic of the bullseye framework is to find the marketing channels that work and prioritize them.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Dilution

According to inbound marketing platform HubSpot, brand dilution occurs “when a company’s brand equity diminishes due to an unsuccessful brand extension, which is a new product the company develops in an industry that they don’t have any market share in.” Brand dilution, therefore, occurs when a brand decreases in value after the company releases a product that does not align with its vision, mission, or skillset. 

Brand Essence Wheel

The brand essence wheel is a templated approach businesses can use to better understand their brand. The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background. Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories: attributes, benefits, values, personality, brand essence.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Customer Lifetime Value

One of the first mentions of customer lifetime value was in the 1988 book Database Marketing: Strategy and Implementation written by Robert Shaw and Merlin Stone. Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the value of a customer to a company over a period of time. It represents a critical business metric, especially for SaaS or recurring revenue-based businesses.

Customer Segmentation

Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, product, marketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.

Developer Marketing

Developer marketing encompasses tactics designed to grow awareness and adopt software tools, solutions, and SaaS platforms. Developer marketing has become the standard among software companies with a platform component, where developers can build applications on top of the core software or open software. Therefore, engaging developer communities has become a key element of marketing for many digital businesses.

Digital Marketing Channels

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Field Marketing

Field marketing is a general term that encompasses face-to-face marketing activities carried out in the field. These activities may include street promotions, conferences, sales, and various forms of experiential marketing. Field marketing, therefore, refers to any marketing activity that is performed in the field.

Funnel Marketing

interaction with a brand until they become a paid customer and beyond. Funnel marketing is modeled after the marketing funnel, a concept that tells the company how it should market to consumers based on their position in the funnel itself. The notion of a customer embarking on a journey when interacting with a brand was first proposed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. Funnel marketing typically considers three stages of a non-linear marketing funnel. These are top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Particular marketing strategies at each stage are adapted to the level of familiarity the consumer has with a brand.

Go-To-Market Strategy

A go-to-market strategy represents how companies market their new products to reach target customers in a scalable and repeatable way. It starts with how new products/services get developed to how these organizations target potential customers (via sales and marketing models) to enable their value proposition to be delivered to create a competitive advantage.


The term “greenwashing” was first coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 at a time when most consumers received their news from television, radio, and print media. Some companies took advantage of limited public access to information by portraying themselves as environmental stewards – even when their actions proved otherwise. Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where a company makes unsubstantiated claims about an environmentally-friendly product or service.

Grassroots Marketing

Grassroots marketing involves a brand creating highly targeted content for a particular niche or audience. When an organization engages in grassroots marketing, it focuses on a small group of people with the hope that its marketing message is shared with a progressively larger audience.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Hunger Marketing

Hunger marketing is a marketing strategy focused on manipulating consumer emotions. By bringing products to market with an attractive price point and restricted supply, consumers have a stronger desire to make a purchase.

Integrated Communication

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies. Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels. These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Myopia

Marketing myopia is the nearsighted focus on selling goods and services at the expense of consumer needs. Marketing myopia was coined by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt in 1960. Originally, Levitt described the concept in the context of organizations in high-growth industries that become complacent in their belief that such industries never fail.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Meme Marketing

Meme marketing is any marketing strategy that uses memes to promote a brand. The term “meme” itself was popularized by author Richard Dawkins over 50 years later in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In the book, Dawkins described how ideas evolved and were shared across different cultures. The internet has enabled this exchange to occur at an exponential rate, with the first modern memes emerging in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Microtargeting is a marketing strategy that utilizes consumer demographic data to identify the interests of a very specific group of individuals. Like most marketing strategies, the goal of microtargeting is to positively influence consumer behavior.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of the ability of a product or service to attract word-of-mouth advertising. NPS is a crucial part of any marketing strategy since attracting and then retaining customers means they are more likely to recommend a business to others.


Neuromarketing information is collected by measuring brain activity related to specific brain functions using sophisticated and expensive technology such as MRI machines. Some businesses also choose to make inferences of neurological responses by analyzing biometric and heart-rate data. Neuromarketing is the domain of large companies with similarly large budgets or subsidies. These include Frito-Lay, Google, and The Weather Channel.


Newsjacking as a marketing strategy was popularised by David Meerman Scott in his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Newsjacking describes the practice of aligning a brand with a current event to generate media attention and increase brand exposure.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

We can define pull and push marketing from the perspective of the target audience or customers. In push marketing, as the name suggests, you’re promoting a product so that consumers can see it. In a pull strategy, consumers might look for your product or service drawn by its brand.

Real-Time Marketing

Real-time marketing is as exactly as it sounds. It involves in-the-moment marketing to customers across any channel based on how that customer is interacting with the brand.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Reverse Marketing

Reverse marketing describes any marketing strategy that encourages consumers to seek out a product or company on their own. This approach differs from a traditional marketing strategy where marketers seek out the consumer.


Remarketing involves the creation of personalized and targeted ads for consumers who have already visited a company’s website. The process works in this way: as users visit a brand’s website, they are tagged with cookies that follow the users, and as they land on advertising platforms where retargeting is an option (like social media platforms) they get served ads based on their navigation.

Sensory Marketing

Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.

Services Marketing

Services marketing originated as a separate field of study during the 1980s. Researchers realized that the unique characteristics of services required different marketing strategies to those used in the promotion of physical goods. Services marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that promotes the intangible benefits delivered by a company to create customer value.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a marketing strategy skewed toward offering a great experience to existing customers and incentivizing them to share it with other potential customers. That is one of the most effective forms of marketing as it enables a company to gain traction based on existing customers’ referrals. When repeat customers become a key enabler for the brand this is one of the best organic and sustainable growth marketing strategies.

360 Marketing

360 marketing is a marketing campaign that utilizes all available mediums, channels, and consumer touchpoints. 360 marketing requires the business to maintain a consistent presence across multiple online and offline channels. This ensures it does not miss potentially lucrative customer segments. By its very nature, 360 marketing describes any number of different marketing strategies. However, a broad and holistic marketing strategy should incorporate a website, SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, public relations, in-store relations, and traditional forms of advertising such as television.

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