Steps in the buying decision process: the purchaser or the consumer takes his buying decision, for some commodities immediately without much consideration such as items or the daily use while for some other commodities mainly luxury or durable items, he thinks much before taking a decision to purchase it. Sometimes, he consults with others. Generally, the purchaser passes through five distinct stages in taking a decision for purchasing a particular commodity broadly, in making a purchase decision the consumer goes through the following stages:
1. Problem reorganization
2. Pre purchase information search
3. Evaluation of the alternatives
4. Purchase decision
5. Post purchase behaviour
Problem reorganization: the buying process starts when the buyer recognizes a problem or need. The need can be triggered by the internal stimuli. In the former case one of the person's normal needs hunger, thirst, sex rises to threshold level and become a drive. In the latter case, a need is around by an external stimulus. A person passes a bakery and sees freshly baked bread that stimulates her hunger she admires a neighbour's new car or she watches a television and for a Hawaiian vacation. Marketers need to identify the circumstances that trigger a particular need by gathering information from a number of consumers; marketers can identify the most frequent stimuli that spark an interest in a product category. They can then develop marketing strategies that trigger consumer interest.
Pre purchase information search: an aroused consumer will be inclined to search for the more information. We can distinguish between two levels of the arousal. The milder search state is called heightened attention. At this level a person simply becomes more respective to information about a product. At the next level the person may enter active information search, looking for the reading material, phoning friends and visiting stores to learn about the product. Of key interest to the marketers, are the major information sources to which the consumer will turn and the relative influences each will turn and the relative influences each will have a subsequent purchase decision. Consumer information sources fall into the four groups.
a. Personal sources, family, friends, neighbours, acquaintance specking the customer receives most of t
b. Commercial sources, advertising, sales persons, dealers, packaging, displays
c. Public sources: mass media, consumer, rating organization.
d. Experiential sources: handling, examining, uses the product.
6. The relative amount and influence of these information sources very with the category and the buyer's characteristics. Generally the customers receive most of the information about a product from the commercial source that is marketers dominated sources. But the most effective information comes from personal sources. Each information sources performs a different function in influencing the buying decision. Commercial information normally performs an informing function, and personal sources perform a legitimizing or the evaluation function. For example physicians often learn of new drugs from commercial sources but turn to other doctors for the evaluative information.
Evaluation of the alternatives: there is no single evaluation process used by the all consumers or by one consumer in all buying situations. There are several decision evaluation processes the most current models of which see the process as cognitively oriented. That is they; see the consumer as farming judgement largely on a conscious and rational basis. Some basic concepts will help us understand consumer evaluation processes. The consumer is trying to satisfy a need. The consumer is looking for certain benefit from the product section. The consumer sees each product as a bundle of attributes with the varying abilities of delivering the benefit sought to satisfy this need. The attributes of interest to buyers vary by the product. Consumers vary as to which product attributes they see as most relevant and the importance they attach to the each attribute. They will pay the most attention to attributes that deliver the sought benefit. The market for a product can often be segmented according to attributes that are salient to different consumer groups. The consumer develops a set of brand beliefs about where each brand stands on the each attribute. The set of beliefs about a brand makes up the brand image. The consumer's brand image will vary with his or her experience as filtered by the effects of selective perception selective distribution and selective retention.
Purchase decision: in the evaluation stage, the consumer forms preferences among the brand in the choice. The consumer may also form an intention to buy the most preferred brand. However, two factors can internee between the purchase intention and the purchase decision. The first factor is the attributes of others. The extent to which another person's attribute reduces one's preferred alternative depends on the two things. First the intensity of the other person's negative attitude towards the consumer's preferred alternative and, the consumer motivation to company with the other person wishes. And the second factor is unanticipated situation factors that may erupt to change the purchase intention. Preferences and even purchase intentions are not completely reliable predictors of the purchase behaviour. A consumer decision to modify, postpone, or avoid a purchase decision is heavily influenced by perceived risk. The amount of perceived risk with the amount of the money at stake the amount of attribute uncertainly and the amount of consumer self confidence. In executing a purchase intention, the consumer may take up of five purchase sub decisions: a brand decision (brand A), vendor decision (dealer 2) quantity decision (one computer), and timing decision (weekend), and payment method decision (credit card). Purchase of everyday product involves fewer decisions and less deliberation. For example in buying sugar a consumer gives little thought to the vendor or payment method.
Post purchase behaviour: after purchasing the product, the consumer will experience some level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The marketer's job does not end when the product is bought. Marketers must monitor post purchase satisfaction, post purchase actions and post purchase products uses.
Post purchase satisfaction: what determines whether the buyer will be highly satisfied, somewhat satisfies or dissatisfies with a purchase? The buyer's satisfaction is a function of the closeness between the buyer's expectations and the product perceived performance. If performance falls short of expectations, the customers is disappointed, if it is meets expectations the customers is delighted. These feelings signify a difference in whether the customer buys the product again and talks favourably or unfavourably about the product to others.
Post purchase actions: the consumer's satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the product will influence subsequent behaviour. If the consumer is satisfied he or she will be exhibits a higher probability of purchasing the product again. Dissatisfied consumer may abandon or return the product. They may seek information that confirms its high value. They may take public action by complaining to the company, going to a lawyer or complaining to the other groups (such as private or government agencies). Private action includes making a decision to stop buying the product (exit option) or warning friends (voice option). In all these case the seller has done a poor job of satisfying the customer.
Post purchase use and the disposal: marketers should also monitor how buyers use and dispose of the product. If consumers store the product in a closest, the product is probably not very satisfying and word of mouth will be not being strong. If they sell or trade the product new product sales will be depressed. Consumer may also find new uses for the product.