Posted: August 12th, 2013
It is particularly imperative that business operators all over the world understand consumer behavior. This is because they will supply what the consumer needs as well as increase the quantity of goods that they have been sold. For this reason, five stages of the consumer decision-making process were developed. The stages revolve around what the customer is thinking about before they decide to purchase the item in question. Most people go through these five stages without knowing that they have. The complexity of these stages increase with the value of the item the customer intends to purchase. For instance, the decision-making process involved in buying a car is more complex than that of buying a dress. In this case, an analysis of these stages will be conducted assuming the customer intends to buy a car.
The first stage is the need for recognition of the item the customer wants to buy. For a consumer to decide to buy a particular item, he or she must feel a need for it. This need is what drives him, or her to purchase the item. This need can be fueled by the mass media like advertisements in the television, internet, magazines and newspapers. For instance, in the case of purchasing a car, there are several designs and makes available in the market that the customer should consider. The decision to purchase a certain brand is influenced by matters like the cost of the car and the design it may have. Narrowing down of the huge number of cars is done by the simple elimination based on the requirements of the customer. The consumer can also narrow the selection by visiting showrooms or care sale areas. Such actions will enable the customer to make a more informed decision.
The second stage in the decision-making process is the search for information. In this stage, the consumer looks for particular details that pertain to the item he or she intends to purchase. This search may be facilitated by the internet where the person may find out all the details that relate to the item he or she intends to buy. In the case of the purchase of the car, the consumer will need details like the horsepower of the vehicle, its impressive features and the cost. This information will enable the consumer decide on which car he or she will buy. Another common source of information that most consumers rely on is the opinion of other consumers especially those who have used the item in question. They can interact by the use of social media where they exchange their opinions on the car for example. A large number of the consumers consider this interaction to be the most credible source of information.
The third stage involves the consumer’s evaluation of the alternative products in the market. The Features and the cost of the item are the main things considered by the consumer while he or she is evaluation other alternative products. The products may be either high or low risk commodities. In the case of high-risk products, the consumers use mechanisms that are compensatory in order to determine the most preferable item. On the other hand, the consumers use brand names for example to decide on the low risk items. In the case of a car, a high-risk commodity, the consumer is expected to use the compensatory mechanisms to make their decisions. Compensatory mechanisms include the analysis of the item, in this case the car. The analysis will dwell more on the strengths of the commodity as opposed to the others available in the market. The availability of alternatives in the market enables the consumer to make the best decision he or she can make based on her economic capabilities.
The fourth stage is the decision to purchase the item. That is, the actual physical decision to purchase the item by the consumer. Purchase may be done in person where there is an exchange of currency for the item. The internet is also another method used in purchasing. In this case, the use of a credit card is employed and the item will be sent to the consumer after he or she has paid for it. Convenience in the sending of the item to the consumer is a matter that has caused a lot of competition between sellers operating through the internet. This is because the faster the item is delivered the more reliable it is considered. As much as the internet is now used in the sale of several things, some things should be purchased physically. For example, in the case of cars, it is safer to buy them physically since chances of swindling are reduced. In addition, physical purchases enable the person to observe the car in case of any problems it may have. Provision of test drives are a way of making sure that the car one has purchased is of good quality.
The final stage is evaluation of the purchase made by the consumer. This is whereby the consumer analyzes if the purchase they have made is reasonable. This is where questions that pertain to the purchase are made. This is when the consumer will realize whether the deal made during the purchase was reasonable or not. If a customer is dissatisfies, he or she may tell friends of the negative experience that they had. In the case of a purchased car, the person may decide to take a trip with it to ensure that it is in good condition. If the car breaks down, he or she will know that the purchase they made was not a worthy one but if the car is in excellent shape even after the trip. They will be assured that they made a smart decision in purchasing the car.
As much as these processes are not widely known by consumers, they are essential. This is because they enable the consumer to make a solid decision that concerns the item they intend to purchase. Careful consideration of these decisions will ensure that the decision made is well informed. In addition to this, it lessens the burden of choosing from a large number of items with similar features. This is because as one goes through the stages, the options are narrowed down based on the features in which the customer is interested. Therefore, the five stages involved in the consumer decision-making process are extremely beneficial to the buyer.
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