The consumer purchase decision process consists of several stages that consumers go through when making a purchasing decision. These stages provide valuable insights into consumer behavior and help businesses understand how to influence consumers at each stage of the process.
The five stages of the consumer purchase decision process are as follows:
1. Problem Recognition: This is the initial stage where consumers recognize a need or a problem. It could be triggered by internal stimuli (such as a desire for a new phone) or external stimuli (such as an advertisement for a discounted phone). At this stage, consumers become aware of a discrepancy between their current state and the desired state.
2. Information Search: Once the problem is recognized, consumers engage in an information search to gather information to help them make a decision. This can be done through internal sources (memory or personal experience) or external sources (family, friends, advertisements, online reviews, etc.). Consumers seek information about different brands, features, pricing, and alternatives.
3. Evaluation of Alternatives: In this stage, consumers evaluate the available alternatives based on the information they have gathered. They compare different products and brands, considering the attributes that are most important to them. Factors like quality, price, brand reputation, and customer reviews play a significant role in the evaluation process.
4. Purchase Decision: After evaluating the available options, consumers make a purchase decision. At this stage, consumers determine which brand or product best meets their needs and preferences. Factors influencing the purchase decision may include the perceived value, price, brand loyalty, availability, and personal circumstances.
5. Post-Purchase Evaluation: After making a purchase, consumers evaluate their decision and experiences with the product or service. They compare their expectations with the actual performance and satisfaction derived from the purchase. If the product meets or exceeds their expectations, it reinforces positive feelings, leading to repurchase and brand loyalty. On the other hand, if the product falls short, it may result in dissatisfaction and negative word-of-mouth.
It is important to note that consumers may not always go through all the stages in a linear fashion. They may skip certain stages or go back and forth between them depending on the complexity of the purchase decision and individual preferences.
– Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2016). Marketing Management (15th ed.). Pearson.
– Engel, J. F., Blackwell, R. D., & Miniard, P. W. (1995). Consumer Behavior (8th ed.). The Dryden Press.