5 Stages of Buying Decision Process | Consumer Decision Process

Fri, 10/07/2011 - 09:28 -- Umar Farooq

Consumer Decision Process Stages

The are five 5 stages of buying decision process

  1. Need Recognition
  2. Information Search
  3. Evaluation of Alternatives
  4. Purchase decision
  5. Post Purchase Behavior

Marketers should focus on consumer decision process rather than purchase decision.  Consumers go through all the five stages of buying decision process whenever they purchase. But when consume buy products in routine, they skip some stages of buying decision process. If a woman buying a specific brand she would recognize the need and will skip all the remaining stages like information search, evaluate of alternatives.

Need Recognition

Need recognition is the first stage of buying decision process, buyer identify a need or identify a problem. The buyer feels a differentiation between his o her actual state and ideal state. The need can be initiated by internal stimuli when a normal need arises to such a level it become a drive. External stimulus can also trigger a need.  Mrs. Nicole feel need for a new hobby when her business tower ended. She needed a camera and Photoshop Software when her friend talked her about photography.  Advertising is also be an external stimuli.

Marketers should research buyers to find out what type of needs arises and how they drive the consumers towards the particular product. Gathering such type of information, they marketers can recognize the factors that generally trigger attention in the product and can build up marketing programs that engages these factors.

Information Search

Information search comes second in consumer decision process stage. If the buyer’s drive is strong enough and he is near to a satisfying product, the buyer is likely to go for it. If not, consumer or buyer may store this need and commence information search associated to the need.

In need recognition stage of consumer decision process may go into high level of attention. Mrs. Nicole becomes more approachable to information about cameras. She notices camera in ads, used by her friends, and discussion about camera or Mrs. Nicole may go for information search. Where she finds for related literature, friends, mass media, internet search engines like google or video on youtube and collects information in so many ways. How Mrs. Nicole curious about the amount of information searching depend on the power of her drive.  

The buyer or consumer can get information from many sources. These includes

  • Personal sources
  • Commercial sources
  • Public sources
  • Experiential sources

The influence of such information sources differs with the buyer and the product. As more information is got, the buyer’s awareness and consciousness increases about brands and their features.

Evaluation of Alternatives

Consumers use information to get at a set of final brand choices. Choosing among the alternatives is always difficult. The marketers must be aware about the alternative evaluation that means that how buyers process the information they get from different sources. Consumers never use a easy an single assessment and evaluation process buying situations.

There are few concepts evaluation process of consumers. First, suppose that consumer perceives a product as a set of product attributes. Camera attributes include quality of picture, shape and size, easy to use, and also price.  Consumers will pay attention to those attributes which are closely associated to needs. Second, the buyer will attach various degrees of importance to various attributes according to unique desire and needs. Third, the buyer develops brand beliefs which notify where brand stands on attribute.  Set of beliefs about a specific brand known as brand image. Fourth, the complete quality satisfaction of expected by consumer will differ levels of various attributes. If level of attribute come together and give Mrs. Nicole the highest satisfaction will make it her ideal camera if it is affordable and available. Fifth, using evaluation procedure the consumer reaches at attitudes towards the several brands. Consumers use many evaluation procedures as per the consumer and his buying decision

Purchase Decision

Purchase intentions develop in the evaluation phase after the buyer ranks the brand. In general, the purchase decision of the buyer will be to go for the desired brand. There are two factors that can influence the purchase intention and decision. One is attitude of others, if Mrs. Nicole’s best friend Natalia strongly suggests her friend to buy a low price brand then the chance of buying high priced camera will be reduced.

The second is unexpected situational factors, buyers develop purchase intention depending on buyer expected income, price and expected benefit of the product. Unexpected situational factors may include Mrs. Nicole may quit or lose her job, she might go for another purchase, 

Postpurchase Behavior

A product is bought but the marketer’s job does not end. When a consumer purchase a product, he may satisfy of dissatisfy with the product and this lead him in post purchase behavior.