Customers may not necessarily the same as consumers. Consumers go through a five-stage decision-making process in any purchase. It includes need recognition & problem awareness, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase, and post purchase evaluation. Clearly the buying process starts a before the real purchase has been made and evaluation continues long after buying a product. Need recognition & problem awareness:-the first process in the decision making process is need recognition.
Need is a most important factor while buying a product or service . it is a catalyst which triggers the buying decision of the individual. The marketer will research about the need of the consumer about the product, think what bought them to buy this product. Information search:-once consumers identifies his need, consumer tries to bunch up all the information about the product. As my consumers wants a laptop so she started research about laptop. She will try gather information about what kind of laptop suitable for her.
Information can be gather from different sources and marketer will identify all these. 1) Personal sources- consumers can discuss his needs with family members, friends, neighbours and workmates. 2) Public sources-newspaper, radio, magazines, mass- media. 3) Commercial sources-advertisement, sales people, displays (props, mannequins etc. ) 4) Experiential sources – Individual’s own experience, prior handling of a particular product, examine the product and using it. Evaluation of alternatives-Consumers also evaluates various alternatives available in the market.
An individual after gathering relevant information tries to choose the best option available as per his need, taste and pocket. A marketer should have knowledge about alternative evaluation. That’s how marketers will know that while buying a product consumer uses information to evaluate the brands and quality of product. A brand plays an important role while buying a product, consumers develop a brand image –which means they have beliefs about a particular product. Purchase-After all this, customer finally buys the product which he thinks is best for him. n this stage consumer come between the purchase intention and purchase decision. Preferences and even the product which consumer was thinking about buy do not always result in actual purchase choice. Post purchase evaluation –Post purchase evaluation refers to a customer’s analysis whether the product was useful to him or not, whether the product fulfilled his need or not. Many times purchase result in cognitive dissonance. After the purchase the consumer is often not satisfied with product.