Consumer Decision Making Process means the process of identifying and verifying the decision making of the consumer by the business leaders or marketers. The Marketers have simplified the process of decision making in five stages.
Let’s just talk about the End Consumer and Consumer Behavior before we jump to discuss the stages of the Consumer Decision Making Process. The End Consumer is the heart and soul of any business stability. End Consumer is a business term used to describe the end-user of the product in the distribution chain of business.
The End User may or may not be the purchaser of the company product. The difference b/w the Customer and Consumer – The person who buys a product or a service is a customer i.e. someone who actually pays the money from his income to purchase the product. However, the person who actually uses or consumes that product is the final or end consumer.
The End Consumer and the Actual Customer are both parts of the Decision-Making Unit DMU. Understanding and studying individuals, organizations, or groups of people and the process from which the individuals, organizations, or groups of people go through while selecting, securing, using, and consuming a product or a service in order to satisfy the needs is Consumer Behavior.
In pretty simple words the consumer behavior is the psychological process from which an individual goes through in order to identify needs, to find the resource or way to fulfill that need and to make the buying decision.
5 Stages of the Consumer Decision Making Process
- Need Recognition
- Searching and gathering information
- Evaluating the Alternatives
- Actual Purchase of the Product or the Service
- Post Purchase Evaluation
The first step in the consumer decision-making process is identifying the need. The need is the most important element which leads towards the actual buying of the product or service. Need is the trigger point of all the buying decisions.
Finding out what the customer needs is the first milestone towards evaluating the Consumer Decision Making Process. Determining the needs and wants of the target market provide support to many marketing decisions.
Searching and gathering information
The potential consumer after identifying his needs moves on to the second stage i.e. searching & gathering information. When it comes to choosing between alternatives humans tend to be skeptical, therefore they need all the information before spending their money.
During this phase of the Consumer Decision Making Process, the consumer evaluates the entire positive and negatives aspects of the purchase. Due to the changing trends and online shopping sites, consumers are far more informed and are able to make better purchase decisions.
Information can be collected from many different sources like prints or electronic media or from people’s reviews about certain products. Making a purchase decision is important so the consumer does not tend to be hasty while gathering information about the products and brand available in the market. The consumers receive information from many different directions.
Some Sources of information are mentioned below.
- Personal Contacts: This is a very strong source of information and has the greatest influence over the mind of the consumer. Consumers tend to discuss the needs and their interests in different products with friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances and make purchase decisions based upon their recommendations.
- Commercial Information Sources: Electronic media, TV Ads, Newsletters, Sale Persons and Public displays are some important types.
- Printed Sources – Newspapers and Magazines
- Previous Purchase Experiences: Consumer’s own personal experiences about the prior use of a product.
Evaluating the Alternatives
Consumers begin to search out for the best deals or options available once he has identified the Need and the source to satisfy that need. The Consumer at this stage evaluates different options based upon product price, product quality, product quantity, and value-added features of a product or other important factors.
Customer reviews and compare prices for the substitute products before choosing the product that will satisfy the need in the best possible manner. Careful evaluation of all the alternatives/ substitute products available in the market comprises the 3rd stage of the Consumer Decision Making Process.
The consumer after Need recognition and collecting useful information choose the best product available in the market based upon his taste, style, income, or preference.
Actual Purchase of the Product or the Service
In this stage, the customer decides what to buy, where to buy after going through all the above stages. After proper assessment of all the facts, the consumer makes a logical decision to buy a product based upon his needs and wants.
The Needs and want are often triggered by the advertising and marketing campaigns, recommendations from personal connections, or maybe from both.
Post Purchase Evaluation
In the final stage of the consumer decision-making process the consumer evaluates or analysis the purchased product, the usefulness of the product, satisfaction delivered from the product, Value of the product with respect to the need fulfillment of the consumer.
If the consumer feels that the product bought delivered the value and has met the expectation they will become the loyal customers of the product.
Consumer Decision making Process is very important for marketers to successfully market their products and product line. Understanding the targeted market fully increases the efficiency of a Marketing plan and yields better results from Promotional Plan.
Hello everyone! This is Richard Daniels, a full-time passionate researcher & blogger. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Economics. He loves to write about economics, e-commerce, and business-related topics for students to assist them in their studies. That's the sole purpose of Business Study Notes.
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