Stages of Consumer Buying Decision Process

Five Stages of Consumer Buying Decision Process
A consumer buying decision process can be categorized into five processes, such as:

Stage I: Recognition of a Need: The first stage in a consumer buying decision process is the recognition of a need. Initially, customers identify their requirements or needs, which ultimately get translated into a want. At this stage, a customer is usually unaware of the ways, methods, or manners following which this want would be satisfied.

For example, the student is looking for a high-performance computer to help him/her create assignments and projects for the upcoming semester. Here, the need is a high-performance computer.

Stage II: Search for Method: The next step, which immediately follows a want, is identifying the methods or the procedures using which a customer would be able to fulfill all its needs. To do so, the customer usually conducts online researches and inquiries from friends to find a solution that will satisfy their wants.

For example, the student in need of a high-performance computer might conduct extensive online research by browsing several e-commerce sites.

Stage III: Evaluation of Different Options: During the research phase, usually, customers are able to get a lot of options that will satisfy their needs and wants. At this stage, they tend to evaluate between the different options on the basis of several factors such as:

Affordability or pricing of several options

Quality and performance

Trust factor

Brand name, etc.

For example, the computer searching student might evaluate and choose a particular computer by reading product reviews, features, and prices.

Stage IV: Buying Decision: Customers in Stage III are usually able to shortlist and finalize a single option that has the ability to completely satisfy their requirements and needs. They are now ready to buy the product, which has been concluded as best for them after a thorough evaluation.

For example, the computer searching student has finalized and bought a product manufactured under the brand name of XYZ as it suited the price range and had all the requisite features.

Stage V: Evaluation After Making a Purchase A buying process simply does not conclude with the purchase of the product; rather, it is finished after making a careful post-purchase evaluation by the customers. The customers would be satisfied if all the promises made before making a purchase were fulfilled and the product is able to deliver expected performances.

For example, the computer searching student was satisfied as the product was delivering high performance, and the student was able to make projects and assignments without any issues.

The Approach of the Marketers at Different Stages
Customers are the essence of every business organization, and they lay a lot of effort into understanding their attitude, behavior, and pattern. Marketers usually influence customers at each stage of a consumer buying decision process in the following manner:

At Stage I: Create Campaigns: During this stage, marketers try to create advertising campaigns that relate to the need and wants of the customers so that they are able to capture the attention and focus of the larger audience.

At Stage II: Provide Information: The customers are actively looking for information during this stage. Marketers strive to provide the requisite information to the customers by representing themselves as a trustworthy source of knowledge in the hope that customers would prefer and buy their product.

At Stage III: Show Superiority and Lure Customers: Marketers usually launch marketing campaigns that show that their product is superior as compared to their competitors as it is rich in features and quality. Further, they also try to attract customers by offering discounts, rebates, and other forms of purchase incentives.

At Stage IV: Preferred Buying: A customer would prefer the product of the company if it has marketed its products using targeted and specific marketing campaigns.

At Stage V: Ensure Adequate After Sales Services: After-sales customer satisfaction is critical in ensuring success and profitability. If an organization is able to quickly remedy any shortcoming in the product, customers will give positive reviews, would return back for a fresh purchase, refer to their friends, etc.

Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map could help a business organization to identify the real expectations of its customers by creating a virtual journey. This helps business organizations step into the shoes of their customers and think from their perspective by following their buying approach to enhance their customer’s experiences.

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