The buying decision processes are the decision making processes undertaken by consumers in regard to a potential market transaction before, during, and after the purchase of a product or service. The retailer is responsible for selling the goods in the market so he or she must have the knowledge of how the consumers actually make their buying decisions. For this he must study the consumer buying decision process or model. It involves five stages which are Need recognition, Information search, Evaluation of Alternatives, Purchasing and Post purchase Evaluation The model implies that consumers pass through all stages in every purchase. However, in more routine purchases, consumers often skip or reverse some of the stages. For example, a Mucg student buying a favorite soobolo drink would recognize the need (hunger) and go right to the purchase decision, skipping information search and evaluation. However, the model is very useful when it comes to understanding any purchase that requires some thought and deliberation.
The buying process starts with need recognition. The retailer must recognize the needs of the consumer as well as how these needs can be satisfied. For example if a person is hungry then food is desired or if it is a matter of thirst than water is desirable At this stage, the buyer recognises a problem or need (e.g. I am hungry, i need a new calculator,) or responds to a marketing stimulus (e.g. you pass by Nkorsuor and you attracted by the aroma of their jollof rice and chicken). An “aroused” consumer then needs to decide how much information (if any) is required.
If the need is strong and there is a product or service that meets the need close to hand, then a purchase decision is likely to be made there and then. If not, then the process of information search begins. At this stage the implications are that the retailer must ensure that it creates enough awareness about the need that its products or service is designed to solve. The retailer must indulge in campaigns and adverts to ensure that all consumers who have such problems are aware that there is a product or a service designed to meet that need. For example shoprite running a series of adverts on TV and radio about its assorted products on sale.
In consumer buying decision process information search comes at second number. In this stage costumer engages in information search relating to the problem at hand. A consumer can obtain information from several sources depending on the type and relevance of the need which is to be solved. Common sources includes; friends and relatives, media, sales people and brochures among others. Internally the consumer may rely on his or her personal experience first before resorting to external sources to compliment his or her internal search.
At this point consumers
Want relevant information to aid in decision making. What this means is that the retailer or marketer must make available timely and relevant information about their product and services. Information that is educative and motivating enough to arouse the interest of the consumer. It is important to note that consumers at this stage use whatever information is available to do a comparative analysis against that of competing shops or brands so it is important that retailers make their information very clear and competitive enough to grab the attention of their consumers.
3.Evaluation of alternatives:
At this stage consumers are exposed to varieties of competing brands and shop outlets, and the challenge for the consumer is to select the best brand or shop outlet that will help solve his or her needs. For the retailer the challenge must be to get the consumer to select his or her shop. This stage starts from the information search stage at the time when consumers are looking for information to help in making the right decision,
These decisions are made against set criteria include; price, product quality, brand name, availability of products ,colour, resalable value, access to distribution outlets etc. The choice of criteria used by customers must be identified by the retailer and messages designed to appeal and educate customers leading to the choice of desired brand by consumers. At this stage the retailer must help the consumer in evaluating the alternatives available in order to expedite the buying process; this could be than by training sales persons to be knowledgeable in all brands so as to assist consumers.
After evaluating the alternatives the consumer buys the suitable product. But there are also the chances to postpone the purchase decision due to some reasons; there could be now only two things which might just change the decision of the consumer of buying the product that is what the other peers of the consumer think of the product and any unforeseen circumstances. Unforeseen circumstances for example in this case could be financial losses which led to not buying of the product. In this case the retailer uses positioning to speed up the decision process in their favour for instance Melcom Limited Ghana’s largest chain of retail department stores positioned its self as a shop which provides essential needs for mans survival at affordable prices. They did this mostly through advertising and with catchy slogans like; “The Cedi Saver”, “Your One-Stop Shop”, “The House of Bargains”, “Where Quality Costs Less” and “Where Ghana Shops” which have become synonymous with their business. In a nutshell all this important attributes helps consumers in choosing them in favour of other shop outlets.
The final stage is the post-purchase evaluation of the decision. It is common for customers to experience concerns after making a purchase decision. This arises from a concept that is known as “cognitive dissonance”. The customer, having bought a product, may feel that an alternative would have been preferable. In these circumstances that customer will not repurchase immediately, but is likely to switch brands next time. After buying the product consumer will either be satisfied or dissatisfied. If the consumer is not satisfied in that case he will be disappointed otherwise If he is satisfied then he will be delighted. It is usually said that a satisfied consumer tells about the product to 3 people and a dissatisfied consumer tells about the product to 11 people. Therefore it is the duty of the retailer to satisfy the consumer.
To manage the post-purchase stage, it is the job of the retailer to persuade the potential customer that the product will satisfy his or her needs. Then after having made a purchase, the customer should be encouraged that he or she has made the right decision.
By concluding I would say the model is important for anyone making marketing decisions. It forces the retailer to consider the whole buying process rather than just the purchase decision (when it may be too late for a business to influence the choice!) The model implies that customers pass through all stages in every purchase as shown above.
Akwensivie, M. D. (2013). Consumer Behaviour Theories and concepts their managerial implications. Dansoman: Derisco Co Ltd. Jim Riley, (n.d). Buyer behaviour – The decision-making process. Retrieved 23 September, 2012, from www.tutor2u.net/business/marketing/buying_decision_process.asp