Consumers don’t just decide to buy some particular products over others. A lot of factors determine their decisions. Looking at and paying attention to these factors could direct the customers in your direction.
The process by which consumers become aware of and identify their needs; collect information on how to best solve these needs; evaluate alternative available options; make a purchasing decision, and evaluate their purchase is what is called the consumer decision-making process. (yotpo.com)
Let’s take a look at the stages of the consumer decision-making process. The various stages are:
Every sale begins when a customer becomes aware that they have a need for a product or service. If the individual’s smartphone starts freezing or slowing down from time to time, it occurs to the user that she needs a new smartphone or mobile device. This is the point that the need arises. The need can arise due to any of these two factors; Internal stimuli or external stimuli. The internal stimuli are usually physiological or emotional needs, such as a spoilt smartphone needs a new smartphone, walking long miles to work every day so a car is needed or hunger so a food product is needed. Some people buy smartphones just to make themselves happy and be able to take good photographs. The external stimulus is when the individual sees adverts of the product and is convinced it is best for her. It could even be a recommendation from family and friends.
When the individual’s smartphone stops working, she will start researching the next smartphone to buy. Should it be an Apple or Samsung product?
“Should I buy one with a better battery life or one with a good camera or both?” the person asks herself.
At this stage, the individual will start remembering some phone adverts she has seen and what others recommended to her some time ago. This is referred to as external information. The person might also use the internal information she already has. Probably she has used a certain brand of smartphone before and may decide to buy the same brand. A previous experience with a particular brand could deter her from buying from that brand.
At this stage, the buyer uses every medium available to search for the product she wants to buy.
At this stage, a customer is comparing options to make the best choice. After deciding on the type of smartphone to buy, she will then compare the decision she made to other options available. So let’s say she decided to buy an iPhone 12. She will then compare iPhone 12 to other high-end smartphones in the market like the Samsung s21 ultra or the Samsung Note 20 ultra. She might consider which of the devices has higher camera quality, better battery life and the difference in the prices.
Their evaluation could be influenced by two major characteristics. The Objective evaluation looks at the features, functionality, price and ease of use of the device. The other evaluation could also be the Subjective evaluation which takes into effect the feelings about a brand based on previous experiences. If someone says she won’t buy a particular smartphone device because its battery life is short, it is based on a subjective evaluation.
At this stage, the buyer has confirmed and decided to patronize a certain product over another. She then identifies where to get the product and how much she needs to acquire it. The person also finalizes on whether to buy the product online or visit a block-and-mortar office or shop. Even at this stage the actions or inactions of the sales personnel at the shop could deter the individual from purchasing the product.
After buying the product, the consumer then considers if what she bought is actually worth her money. She will compare it with her last smartphone and check out if the new product she bought can do things that her previous device couldn’t. Such an evaluation could determine if she would buy from such a brand in the near future or not. How the company responds to her issues concerning the device forms part of the post-purchase evaluation. These could decide if she would recommend the device to others or not.
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