Consumer Buying Decision Making Process
: A buyer identifies the problem when he or she becomes aware of the desired state and actual state. For example, a man who has been driving Bike
while he goes to office starts feeling the need of a car. He recognizes that a difference exists between the desired state and the actual condition. So, he therefore decides to buy a car.
Information Search: After recognizing the problem or need, a buyer searches for the product information that can resolve the problem. For example, the man may search for different types and brands of cars. He acquires information over time. There are two types of information search. In the internal search, He searches his memory for cars. In case of necessary information is not retrieved from memory, he seeks additional information through external search which consists of friends, relatives and the media.
Evaluation of Alternatives: A successful information search results a number of brands that a buyer views as possible alternatives. This group of products/ services is known as evoked set of buyer. For example an evoked set of cars might include those made by Hyundai, TATA, Ford, BMW, Mercedes etc. Various objective and subjective characteristics that are important to the buyer are used to evaluate the alternative options.
The buyer also assigns a certain degree of significance to each criterion. Using the criteria for evaluation, a buyer rates and ranks alternative brands. In case the buyer is not able to decide the brand after evaluation, further information search may be necessary.
Purchase: In the Purchase stage, the buyer chooses the product or service to be bought. The availability of product or service may be influenced by the brand which may be purchased. For example, if the brand ranked highest is unavailable, then the buyer may purchase the brand which is ranked second.
Post Purchase Behaviour: After the purchase is done, the buyer begins evaluating the product to ascertain if its actual performance meets the desired expectations. After buying a product, a buyer thinks whether he or she has made the correct decision. This is called cognitive dissonance. It is very important to clarify some necessary points about consumer buying decision process.
First, the actual act of buying is only one stage in the process, and usually not the first stage. Second, all consumers do not have to necessarily pass through all stages in the buying process. Buyers may end the process at any stage. Last but not the least, all decisions taken by consumers do not always include all these five stages mentioned above.