A consumer’s purchasing decision process includes the market exchange transaction either before, during, or after the purchase of products or services. The purchasing decision based on multiple aspects and influenced by various factors could be considered a cost-benefit analysis. The consumers have their respective needs, and driven by such needs; they make purchasing decisions. However, consumer’s intrinsically motivated needs do not need to be the only key player in the decision-making process. The external market environment and purchase conditions influence the consumer’s behavior and decision-making process.
The Concept and Models of Consumer Buying Decisions
The consumer decision process helps in identifying the cause of the consumer’s specific purchasing behavior. The markets identify how prospective consumers gather information about the products or services and use it to make a purchase decision. The purpose is to understand the buyer behavior or buyer-purchasing decision-making process. Companies observe buyer behavior and plan their marketing or product strategies to thrive in the target market. The understanding of the consumer decision process enables the businesses to chalk out the research and development plan or marketing plan.
According to Herbert A. Simon, a choice will be extremely difficult to make if a thorough analysis is performed and claimed that people’s ability to comprehend information is constrained. It’s unreasonable to expect a fully rational aspect in a decision-making process. Emotional and non-rational factors influence consumers; thus, the existence of only rational aspects in a decision-making process is not completely true.
The primary types of buyer decision-making models given by Frank Nicosia are:
Univariate Model or Simple Scheme – In a stimulus-response connection, only one behavioral aspect is considered.
Multivariate Model or Reduced form Scheme – Multiple independent aspects were believed to determine buyer behavior.
Structural Scheme or System of Equations Model – Many functional relations, including both univariate and multivariate systems, interact in a complex environment to influence buyer behavior.
Nicosia concluded that only the structural scheme could adequately reflect the complexities of buyer decision-making processes and created a five-modules that included variables such as “brand characteristics,” “environmental factors,” “customer attributes,” “organization attributes,” and “attributes of the message.” Consumer decoding, search and assessment, choice, and consumption are among the system’s other modules.
Stages in Consumer Buying Decision Process
Problem or Need Recognition: A consumer recognizes oneâ€™s unfulfilled needs and resorts to ease the discomfort caused by such unmet needs. One realizes that buying goods or services would resolve oneâ€™s discomforts as it will fulfill the desired needs. However, the realization of needs is not sufficient to drive an individual to make a purchase decision. Several internal and external factors influence the need fulfillment or action required to fulfill the needs.
Information Search: The recognition of the need and discomfort leads a consumer to resolve the discomfort by taking action. A consumer looks for alternatives (products or services) and compares the information available. Based on past experiences and new sources, the consumer proceeds to the next step of assessment of available alternatives.
Evaluation of Alternatives: Consumers compare the alternative brands in terms of price, quality, product size, and many other aspects. When they feel that they are getting a quality product at an affordable cost, then they make the purchase decision. Consumers analyze the product appearance, feel, and other tangible and intangible aspects before making a purchase decision.
Buying Decision: A buying decision is a purchase action made by a consumer after a thorough analysis of the products and their alternatives. Buying decisions may or may not be instantaneous because consumers adjust according to the dynamic market environment. For instance, when a consumer realized the need to purchase a product but also realizes that after some time, one might get more discount because of festivities, then the consumer will wait to make the purchase action.
Post-Purchase Evaluation: The consumers are very cautious and possessive about their purchase decisions. After purchasing a new product or service, they are not satisfied until the product or service meets their required needs. Consumer satisfaction with the quality and economy is the final and most important aspect of the entire buying decision-making process. For instance, consumers compare their purchased products with others and feel satisfied when they find that the product, the consumer is better in terms of price and quality than others.
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