Below I have created a model of the Buyer Decision Process. This model shows the steps that a consumer goes through when making a purchasing decision.
The first step in the buyer decision process is the need recognition. This refers to a need or problem that a buyer recognizes. This need could arise from internal stimuli or external stimuli. Internal stimuli is when a consumers need is heightened to a level that it becomes a drive. External Stimuli is when a consumer sees a certain advertisement or talked to a friend about buying a certain product. This then triggers them to think about purchasing a certain item or service (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012).
When a customer is finally interested in buying a product or service, they may or may not search for more information about what they want to purchase. If they decide to further investigate, then they begin the second process of the buyer decision process, information search. This can be referred to as “the sage of the buyer decision process in which the customer is motivated to search for more information.” (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012)
Once deciding to research the product or service that has been chosen, there are several ways to obtain further information. These include:
|Personal Sources||Family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances|
|Commercial Sources||Advertising, salespeople, dealer Web sites, packaging, displays|
|Public Sources||Mass media, consumer rating organizations, online searches and peer reviews|
|Experiential Sources||Handling, examining, using the product|
(Kotler & Armstrong, 2012)
Evaluation of Alternatives
Once the customer has searched for more information, they are now ready to evaluate all the alternatives. Alternative evaluation can be defined as “the stage of the buyer decision process in which the consumer uses information to evaluate alternative brands in the choice set.” (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012) This process takes many different routs because not every customer evaluates their choices in the same manner.
Some consumers make their decision by having someone else help them, such as a friend or spouse. They also might buy on impulse and just rely on intuition rather than using careful calculations and logical thinking. (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012).
Once the evaluation process has taken place, the customer is now ready to choose between the alternative choices and make a purchase decision. This is “the buyers decision about which brand to purchase” (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012). When making this decision, two factors can come between the purchase, attitudes of others and unexpected situational factors. These to factors are something the buyer needs to keep into consideration when deciding to purchase something (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012).
After purchasing the product or service, the customer is then in the final stage of the buyer decision process. This stage can be described as postpurchase behavior, “the process in which customers take further action after purchasing, based on their satisfaction or dissatisfaction” (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012).
This final stage in the process is more concerning to the marketers. They want to make sure their product is up to the customer’s standards. If the product falls short of the expectations of the customer, then the customer is disappointed with their purchase. If the product exceeds the customers expectations, than they are thrilled and happy they made their purchase. When a customer is dissatisfied with a product then chances of them spreading their frustrations about the product to others is very high. The company sees this as a negative advertisement for there products. It is very important for companies to satisfy customers in order to keep their customer loyalty and to bring in new customers. (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012)
After explaining in detail how the buyer decision process works, I would like to walk you through and example of how I decided to purchase a new computer.
For years now I have had a Dell that my parents had purchased for me my junior year in high school. Being a junior in college my computer is now four years old and has been giving me problems for about a year now. I kept telling my mom that I needed a new one and she would tell me to research computers and see what would be the best fit for me. So after figuring out that I needed a new computer (need recognition) I had to do some research to see what would best suet a college student. I needed to gather information (information search) on what brands were the most durable and would be the best for a college student. I had to also search for prices. I searched the Internet for different prices to see where I would purchase this computer. Once gathering all my information on different brands of computers I had to narrow my decision down to certain brands that would be appropriate for my situation (evaluating alternatives). After having two brands in mind, MacBook Pro or an Asus computer, I was able to see the pros and cons between the two computers, making my decision easier. I then decided to buy the MacBook Pro computer (purchase decision). Since purchasing my new computer I have been completely satisfied (postpurchase behavior) with my purchase and glad I spent all my time doing research to find the perfect computer that would satisfy my entire student needs.
Below I have created a graph that will outline my purchase decision to better illustrate what I did to make my purchase.