ConsumerDecision Making Process
ConsumerDecision Making Process
Theconsumer decision making process is very complex due to the diversityof consumers of any particular product. Nonetheless, understandingthe basic steps in the consumer decision making process is veryessential in developing effective marketing strategies. Marketingscholars have suggested a systematic approach to buying that isadopted by all consumers whether they are making large scale, smallscale or impulse buying, corporate or individual. Understanding theconsumers’ decision making process is the basic steps inunderstanding the buyers’ behavior in any particular market(Kokemuller, 2014). Understanding the psychology of the buyer helpson product development and improvement, reduction of customercomplains, identification of after sale services required andexpansion of the market by making the product more appealing to theconsumer.
Thefirst step in the consumer decision making process is the recognitionof a need or a problem. The existence of an awareness of a need orproblem is elicits the process. The need could be functional oremotional. Functional needs can be described as needs that arerelated to products required to perform a particular function.Functional needs mainly occur when the consumer realizes that he orshe is out of stock of a particular product. For example, when theconsumer realizes that the car gas tank is empty, a problem or needis recognized. Emotional needs are related to emotional interests andpleasure, that is, consumers’ desires. Both emotional andfunctional needs recognition can be as a result of new informationgathered by the consumers. For example, information about a newfashion may trigger a need. It is also important to note thatdifferent factors are likely to force consumers to identify a problemor need, for example, a housewife and a student will recognizedifferent needs in their day to day activities (Kokemuller, 2014).
Thesecond step in the process is gathering information about theproduct. This is considered to be one of the most important steps bymarketers. This step mainly involves the search for information aboutproducts that can satisfy the identified needs, possible providersand substitutes. The search for information can be based on pastexperiences with the same need or search for new informationexternally. Searching for information externally is influenced byamong other factors recognition of new needs or problems and lack ofsatisfaction with the past experiences. The third step in thedecision making process is the evaluation of the informationobtained. The consumer evaluates that sets of information about thedifferent products and providers to determine which best solves theunderlying problem. The evaluation is mainly based on price, quality,experience with the product and convenience (Kokemuller, 2014).
Theforth step is the decision to make a purchase. The decision to buythe product is based on the evaluation of the various alternatives,including the alternative of not buying. The consumer makes thedecision to buy after identification of the best value for his or hermoney. At this stage, the consumer surrenders his or her money inexchange of the product. This is the most important point of contactbetween the consumer and the provider of the product. The fifth andfinal step in the decision making process is the post purchasebehavior and evaluation. This step identifies displeasure andpleasure with the product or service. The evaluation and behaviors ofthe consumers after buying is based on the past experiences withsimilar products and the expectations. If the experiences meet theexpectations, customer loyalty is established and loss of loyalty ifthe product is below expectation (Kokemuller, 2014).
Allthe steps in the consumer’s decision making process are veryessential to the markers. In the first step, marketers need to knowthe needs and problems of the consumers in order to aim at solvingthese problems, that is, they need to know what the consumes need.The marketers should also be interested with the main sources ofinformation to the consumers. This will enable them to ensure thatthe consumers have maximum access to information about theirproducts. This information should have the ability to influence theconsumer’s decision to make a purchase. Marketers should also aimat reducing cognitive dissonance, the doubts after purchase, andensure that the consumer feels comfortable with the purchase.Customer recommendations, warranties and after sale services can alsobe used to positively influence post purchase behaviors.
Inconclusion, the foundation of any business organization is thesatisfaction of its customers. Consumer satisfaction is there veryimportant in marketing. Customer satisfaction is an indication of asuccessful marketing strategy. A satisfied customer is more likely tobuy the product in the future. Product loyalties have been developedthrough strong consumer satisfaction which builds the confidence ofthe consumers on the product. Additionally, satisfied consumers are aresource to the marketing programs of a business organization. Thisis because they act good ambassadors to the general public about theproduct. Word of mouth is considers one of the most effectivemarketing tool, and therefore satisfied consumers are likely to bringback more business to the organization (Nelson, 2012).
Kokemuller,N. (2014). FiveSteps in the Consumer Decision-Making Process,http://www.ehow.com/info_8775570_five-steps-consumer-decisionmaking-process.html
Nelson,R. (2012). TheImportance of Customer Satisfaction,http://www.wparesearch.com/uncategorized/the-importance-of-customer-satisfaction/