The buying decision process: Buyer decision process consists of five distinct stages. These are shown in the figure below-
1. Need recognition: The buying decision process starts with need recognition—the buyer recognizes a problem or need. The need can be triggered by internal stimuli when one of the person’s normal needs—hunger, thirst, sex—rises to a level high enough to become a drive.
2. Information search: The stage of the buyer decision process in which the consumer is aroused to search for more information; the consumer may simply have heightened attention or may go into active information.
3. Evaluation of alternatives: The marketer needs to know about alternative evaluation—that is, how the consumer processes information to arrive at brand choices. Unfortunately, consumers do not use a simple and single evaluation process in all buying situations. Instead, several evaluation processes are at work.
4. Purchase decision: In the evaluation stage, the consumer ranks brands and forms purchase intentions. Generally, the consumer’s purchase decision will be to buy the most preferred brand, but two factors can come between the purchase intention and the purchase decision.
The first factor is the attitude of others. If someone important to you thinks that you should buy the lowest-priced car, then the chances of your buying more expensive car are reduced.
The second factor is unexpected situational factor. The consumer may form a purchase intention based on factors such as expected income, expected price and expected product benefits.
5. Post purchase decision: The marketer’s job does not end when the product is bought. After purchasing the product, the consumer will be satisfied or dissatisfied and will engage in post purchase behavior of interest to the marketer. What determines whether the buyer is satisfied or dissatisfied with a purchase? The answer lies in the relationship between the consumer’s expectations and the product’s perceived performance. If the product fails short of expectations, the consumer is disappointed; if it meets expectations, the consumer is satisfied. If it exceeds expectations, the consumer is delighted.