Consumer Decision-Making Process: Everything you need to know
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A consumer is someone who uses your product/service. And the things that they consider while making a decision are very critical. So, to drive them to the final stage you need to understand the consumer decision-making process.
There is a difference between customers and consumers. Customers might buy your product and not use it by themselves, but a consumer buys your product to consume it. Often there are situations where the consumer will use the product/service, but the customer takes the decision. For example, in the case of baby food, the consumers are the kids, but the customers are their parents. So it’s essential how you position your product in the minds of your customers, keeping in mind your consumers.
Here we will be talking about the consumer decision-making process.
Before a consumer buys your business product, they take into consideration a lot of factors and go through certain stages before arriving at their final buying decision. In today’s fast-changing world and rapid digitalization, the customers are left with a lot of options; And also their attention span has been deficient too, so maybe your business hardly gets a second chance to please them.
7 Essential Parts of Consumer Decision-Making Process
1. Personal Stimuli
It acts as the preliminary impulse that causes the customer to take further action. And a stimulus depends on the person, and the way you present or project has an impact on the stimulus. An incentive can be social or physical and solely based on the stimulus, does the customer take further action. Often you will get to see that a customer will buy your product just based on their vibes, which are further manipulated by their previous experience with a company.
2. Realizing the Need
Your customer must feel the need for the product/service that your business provides, or else they won’t even consider it in their decision-making process. Your business needs to position your product in such a manner that it creates a difference in its current status and its future state. It should be capable of adding value to your customers.
Once Steve Jobs mentioned in one of his famous speeches that “Don’t just give what your customers need rather Create the need.”
3. External Search
This stage is a subjective one, and the time spent for different customers is different. A customer does further research on your product/service and how effectively they are going to satisfy their needs.
4. Comparing Alternatives
Once they have researched your product, they compare it with all the other alternatives present in the market so that they can land themselves in making the best decision. They go through reviews and also do the comparison of prices to come up with the best choice.
5. Buying Decision
Finally, once they are convinced with your product/service, they proceed to make the buying decision for your business. In this phase, you also need to follow the sales funnel so that you have an idea of how to approach your prospects and convert them to your potential buyers.
6. Post-Purchase Behavior
Once they buy your product, they tend to make another purchase based on the satisfaction with the first experience, and they also try to search for alternatives. So, you need to follow up with your customers so that you can assure them that they have made the right decision. Give them post-purchase offers and also discounts on further purchase.
7. Decision Evaluation
In this final phase, the customer evaluates his buying decision. If they are not satisfied with their decision, then this acts as a learning opportunity for them, and they will reconsider this during their future buying decision.
Understanding the consumer decision-making process and consumer behaviour will help your business to tap on various marketing opportunities and also helps your business to anticipate the current market trends and challenges. You need to understand what are the points a consumer takes into consideration before making any purchase as this will help you to develop and optimize your marketing strategy for your product.
Why Consumer Decision-Making Process is Important?
- Helps you understand the current landscape of the marketplace.
- It gives you indications to design your product/service according to the needs of the customers.
- Consumer’s preferences have been changing with the current trends.
- Also helps you to identify the factors that influence the purchase decisions of a consumer.
Seel also: 5 Best Marketing Campaigns in India
Types of the Consumer Buying Decision
- Routine response behaviour
- Limited decision making
- Extensive decision making
- Impulse buying
Factors that Help in Determining the Consumer Buying Decisions
1. Consumer Involvement Level
Your business should have high customer engagement as it reflects their interest in your business’s product/service, and further, there is a high chance of proceeding to the final buying phase.
2. Time Taken to Make the Decision
When it comes to buying, consumers tend to make an informed decision. If you can please your customer with the way of marketing your product, then the time taken by the consumer to proceed to the buying phase is generally lesser.
This is the most important factor that a consumer takes into account even before thinking of buying a product/service. They always negotiate and compare various other products within their feasible price range, and only if they are satisfied, they move to the buying phase. Sometimes, Irrespective of the quality of your product/service, the price of it plays a major role.
4. Degree of Information
If a consumer has done thorough research about a product/service, then it helps them to make a wise buying decision. Often a consumer before buying a product goes through all the information that is available about the product and then further proceeds to the buying stage.
This plays a vital role. Often a consumer will not keep their focus only on a particular product but will try to compare several products of similar features based on prices and other factors, and this drives their buying decision.
Throughout the years, there have been changing trends in the buying behaviour of the customers. Today, consumers like to involve themselves in things that involve not just mere interaction with their senses but also provide valuable experience and can also provide them with various kinds of touchpoints. They want not only to buy the product but an active involvement throughout the process.
With the rapid development in technology, consumers have been expecting personalized solutions, and businesses have been able to provide that to the customers sometimes without even taking their preferences or asking any questions.
With the rising concern towards the environment, yet customers are taking into consideration the involvement of the Brand they choose. So there has been constant pressure on companies to maintain a sustainability factor, to promote their product/service as this has been the essential component that influences the consumer decision-making process.
Also, considering today’s current generation, they are all in social media, but according to studies, their buying decision is not much influenced by social media. Instead, buyers tend to go through different content on various platforms and are highly influenced by their peers. So, your company should understand the way to position the product accordingly and also optimize the marketing strategy, starting from the formation of contents to the distribution platforms.
Standard Decision-Making Models
1. Simon Model
This model conceptualizes the decision-making process in three stages of activities: intelligence activity, design activity, and choice activity. Simon argues that decision making is a cognitive process that can be separated into simple, sequential steps.
2. Nicosia Model
In this model, it reflects and focuses on the interaction between your brand and a consumer. It consists of fields which depict the various events through different stages.
3. Engel, Kollat & Blackwell Model
The components of this consumer model’s decision process are the following – input, processing the information, decision-making process, and factors influencing the decision-making process. The decision making process majorly consists of five following stages – recognition of the needs, search for information, evaluation of alternatives, making the purchase decision and outcomes.
Some Tips for your Marketing Strategy?
We now know about the various stages of the consumer decision-making process, but here the marketing strategy plays an important role. There are several marketing strategies used by the companies to influence the decisions of the consumers. If your content and marketing campaign has the ability to convey the message that your business product/service offers a higher value than others, then it actually influences the decision making of the consumer.
- The very first thing that helps a consumer in their decision-making process is how your Brand interacts with the consumers. The way you communicate with your consumers affects the consumer decision-making process a lot. You need to connect to them emotionally. Your product/service should be much more than just physical usage. The customer should be able to connect with your services.
- Your company should always do extensive research to find out more insights about the customers. The more you know about your customers, the better you can come up with a strong marketing strategy and can influence the decision-making process of the consumers. So, try to segment them according to the demographics such as age, gender, income, etc. and also geographic location. This will provide you with an in-depth knowledge of your customers.
Also, following the current trend, we can figure out that nowadays, kids are having an influence on the buying decisions of their parents. So, when it comes to buying any expensive product, kids play an important role, so your company needs to include this factor in the marketing strategy and should optimize it accordingly.
Types of Consumer Buying Behavior
1. Complex Buying Behavior
This is the phase when the consumer is involved in buying any expensive product/service. There they generally do a lot of research and information gathering before coming to the buying decision. They take into account a lot of factors such as prices, alternatives, and comparable, and finally, based on their self-satisfaction, they take the decision.
2. Variety Seeking Buying Behavior
In this phase, consumer engagement is very low, and they tend to fluctuate between various brands. Therefore, whenever they find something new in a product, they tend to buy it out of curiosity.
3. Dissonance Reducing Buying Behavior
In this phase of buying, the customer engagement is very high as the consumer is not a frequent buyer, and the products that they are trying to buy are of high prices and less variation.
4. Habitual Buying Behavior
In this type of buying, the customers have low engagement in the buying decision. They generally notice very few significant differences between the products of various brands.
The above behaviours can be studied well by your company to formulate an effective marketing strategy for your products/services. Consumer behaviour is a very tricky domain to study as their behaviours are not in general and constant.
When a consumer buys an expensive product such as a car, then the amount of information that can be searched for and the level of comparison is much higher than the case where a customer buys a basic product, which is not so expensive. Your company needs to follow each and every pattern of the consumer buying decision as this will help your business to tap on the market opportunities for your product.
Extensive research on the consumer buying decision also helps your company to position your product accordingly to the exact needs of the customer. The most important thing about the entire process is that you need to analyze the behaviour of the consumer over various products and then interpret these results to optimize your marketing strategy.
Therefore, the customer decision-making process plays an essential role in developing an effective marketing strategy and also helps your business to gain a competitive advantage over your competitors. Getting insights into the Customer decision-making process gives your business an upper hand over others in today’s competitive landscape of marketing.
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