Consumer Buyer Decision Process
As I decided what to wear to the San Jose Sharks game the other day, I realized that the only t-shirt that represented my team was too small. I then started thinking about where it would be able to get a shirt before the game, in other words, I needed to search my options of where to buy. An external factor, time, influenced my search, due to the fact that it was game day and I had no shirt. Therefore, I concluded my search by evaluating shirt options inside of the Sharks store at the stadium. Upon arrival of a satisfactory shirt, I arrived at a decision to buy. The next day, after wearing it all night, I was still wearing my new shirt, showing my postpurchase behavior as satisfied.
Any purchase made by a consumer follows the process that I just played out in a situation that I recently found myself in. The consumer buyer decision process explains the sometimes conscience, sometimes unconscience process in which consumers learn about or realize a need, explore possible solutions to this need, evaluate the differences between the solutions found, and finally making the purchase. The end result is called the postpurchase behavior, which expresses the consumers satisfaction or dissatisfaction in their purchase.
Marketers target needs organized in specific categories aimed to inform consumers of their problems, and offer them solutions. This, subconsciously, helps the consumer along in the processes by eliminating the responsibility to recognizes what they need by themselves. The needs exposed are shown in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
To summarize, the consumer buying decision process consists of five primary steps: need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and postpurchase behavior (Kotler and Armstong). Marketer’s utilize the knowledge of this process and attack the needs of consumers with products and services that can fulfill these needs, according to where an individual is in their life.
Definitions (Kotler and Armstrong)
Need Recognition: Consumer recognizes a problem or need
Information Search: Consumer is motivated to search for more information
Evaluation of Alternatives: Consumer uses information to evaluate alternative brands in the choice set
Purchase Decision: Buyer’s decision about which brand to purchase
Postpurchase behavior: Consumers take further action after purchase, based on their satisfaction or dissatisfaction