5 Stages Of Consumer Decision Making

5 Stages Of Consumer Decision Making

The 5 Stages Of Consumer Decision Making (Loop): 

The decision making process starts before the actual purchase, and continues even after the purchase. The model implies that customers pass through all stages in every purchase. However, in more routine purchases, customers often skip or reverse some of the stages. 

1. Need Recognition
- Customers recognize a problem as a Need or Want. 
- Most frequent problem: Run out of product. 
- Also occurs when: Receive new information (about a product / service), or respond to Stimuli. 

2. Information Search
- The customer then decides how much information (if any) is required.

- A customer can obtain information from several sources:
• Personal sources: family, friends, neighbours, etc
• Commercial sources: advertising; salespeople; retailers; dealers; packaging; point-of-sale displays
• Public sources: newspapers, radio, television, consumer organisations; specialist magazines, internet, forums, blogs
• Experiential sources: handling, examining, using the product

- Research suggests that customers value and respect personal sources more than commercial sources (the influence of “word of mouth”).

3. Evaluation Of Alternatives
- Comparison of Features: Brands, Style, Size, Colour, Price, Service, Quality, Prestige, Sustainability, etc. 

- May compare at different stores. 

- The customer may also have to evaluate the importance of certain information. 

- High-involvement purchases include those involving high expenditure or personal risk – for example buying a house, a car or making investments. 

- Low involvement purchases (e.g. buying a soft drink, choosing some breakfast cereals in the supermarket) have very simple evaluation processes.

4. Purchase Decision
- The actual buying of the product / service. 

- Factors that can influence the purchase decision include: Budget, Available stock, Free Samples, Safe Delivery, Online Payment Security 

- One Time (Trial) Purchase / Repeat Purchase / Long-Term Commitment? 

5. Post-Purchase Evaluation
- The customer seeks reasons to continue to support a purchase decision, or make a repeat purchase. 

- Performance Meets Expectations: Neutral Feeling 

- Performance Exceeds Expectations: Positive Feeling 
Customer feels extremely satisfied and happy, will be more likely to make a repeat purchase or share their joy with others.

- Performance Below Expectations: Negative Feeling 
Customer has Buyer's Remorse: Second thoughts or doubts after a purchase. May seek a refund, or share their grievances with others.

- Leads back to 1. Need Recognition.