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By:M Rafeeq
Consumer Decision Process

Objective: - This is to know how a Consumer makes his decision regarding buying (or) not
buying any commodity.

Information Search
And Evaluation


Post purchasing

I. Problem Recognition: -
It can be from: Internal Stimuli or External Stimuli
Types of Consumer Decisions: There are five main types of decisions.
1) What to buy - It depends on the need.
E.g.: - Television 100W, 1000W.
E.g.: -Diary / Digital diary.
2) How much to buy - It represents the quantity.
3) Where to buy - From retailer/Supermarket/Medical.
Now the availability is increasing.
4) When to buy - Urgency/Occasions.
5) How to buy - See 4 to 5 shops/stop at first shop.
Introduction to the Consumer Decision – Process Model:
Consumer Decision process vary in complexity i.e., for the purchase of staple goods and
durable goods.
For purchasing staples goods consumers decisions require to more probable.
For purchasing durable goods the decisions made are complicated.
So, to solve this range of consumer problem solving, there are 3approaches:
(Levels) Approaches to problem solving: -
1) Routine Problem Solving (RPS): -
Consumers purchase a previously purchased product and usually involve or require
no information to seek and the decision is performed quickly. If consumers are loyal they
buy unthinking.
2) Limited Problem Solving (LPS): -
Consumers buy a new brand in a familiar product category, which usually involves a
moderate amount of information to choose the product.
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3) Extensive Problem Solving (EPS): -
Consumers buy an unfamiliar product category; it needs substantial information and
longer time to choose.

Consumer problem recognition process: Diagram on page no. 3

Types of problem recognition: -

Expectancy of problem Immediacy of solution

Immediate solution Immediate solution
Required not required.

Occurrence of problem expected Routine Planning

Occurrence of problem unexpected Emergency Evolving (fashion- adoption)

Routine – Convenience Goods

Situation leading to problem recognition: -

1) Depleted or inadequate stock of goods --- frequently required ---- Convenience goods
(Screw driver) ------ Every day need.
2) Discontentment with the stock of goods --- Feeling no longer stylish, because of daily
changing styles E.g.: - Clothing ----- to go for new style
Television – colour, remote, digital, flat screen
3) Changing environment circumstances --- it depends on life-cycle stages of the consumers
E.g.: - Dress –schools, colleges
4) Changing financial circumstances ---- ups and downs of income. More income more
purchasing power, which leads to purchase a new car, new house, television, etc.

Marketing Implications: -
1) Measuring problem recognition: - Scaling techniques are used to assess problem-
recognition process, which measures purchase intentions.
2) Activating problem recognition: - Promotion is important vehicle.
a) Influencing the desired state ---- advertising by stressing the benefits
b) Influencing perceptions of the actual state ---- actual state develops to purchase
routine, habitual or unnoticed pattern of behaviour.
c) Influencing the timing of problem recognition ----- Purchasing can be due to currently
felt need or a need arise in future.
3) Utilizing Problem-recognition Information: -
a) Analysing Purchase-Intention categories --- Measurement of speed, direction and
size of shifts in buying likelihood’s for a product over several periods in various market
b) Analysing conversion of purchase intension (Longitudinal analysis)
30% bought brand intended
40% buyed
Sony 10% changed brands

60% did not buy

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II. Search & Evaluation: -

Consumers are confused by the myriad (immense number) of choices, Technologies and s

A). The information – search process: -

Information: It is considered to be knowledge.
Search: It is mental as well as physical information seeking & processing activities,
which one engages to facilitate decision-making regarding some goal-object in the market
Pre-purchase search Ongoing search

-Involvement in the purchase -Involvement with the product

Determinants -Market environment -Market environment
-Situation factors (Urgency, Special) -Situational factors

Motives -To make better purchase decisions Build a bank experience fun
of information and pleasure
for future use.
-Increased product & Mkt. knowledge. Increased product & Mkt. knowledge
Reading to:
Outcomes -Better purchase decisions -future-buying efficiencies
-Increased satisfaction with the purchase -personal influences
outcome. -Increased buying
-Increased satisfaction from search,
& other outcomes.

Prepurchase search: This is after recognition of the problem.

2) Ongoing search: It is characterized with search activities and does not occur in order to
solve a recognised & immediate purchase problem.
E.g.: - Ongoing search for automobiles includes reading automotive magazines.
3) Internal search: This stage occurs after consumer experiences problem recognition. It a
mental process of recalling & reviving information stored in memory that may relate to
the purchase situation.
A friend can have --- ± Ve Comments.
The results or outcomes of Internal search and alternative evaluation:
1. Makes a decision and proceeds to engage in purchase behaviour
2. Constrained by certain environmental variables
3. Determines insufficient or inadequate information exists in his memory to make a
decision now, so that external search is undertaken.

4) External search: Obtaining information from other sources in addition to that recalled
from memory. E.g.: - advertisements, friends, sales people, store…plays, product-test

Types & sources of information:

1. From external environment: More variety of information based on potential interest to
consumers exists. There are 3 general categories:
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a) Information about the existence and availability of various products/services.
b) Information useful in forming evaluates criteria.
c) Information on the properties and characteristics of alternatives.

2. From using products themselves: Consumers gain information from 3 areas:

a) Market-dominated sources: Information is from salespeople, packaging and
other sources under the control of the marketer.
b) Consumer sources: It includes all interpersonal communications, which are
not under the control of the marketer.
c) Neutral sources: It includes a portion of the mass media, government reports
and publications from independent product testing agencies, which are not
under the direct control of the marketer.

Situations influence risk: -

Types of risks:
1) Monetary/Finance risk - Lose money, if the brand doesn’t work
2) Functional/performance risk. - brand may not work/fail completely waster time &
effort. Eg: Lawn Tractors.
3) Physical risk - brand may be as became harmful (injurious to one’s
health, food, drugs electrical items.)
4) Social risk - very affect.
5) Psychological risk - may not fit consumer’s self-image/self concept.

B). The information evaluation process: -

In this step the activities are undertaken by the consumer to evaluate, on the basis
of certain criteria, alternative solutions to market-related problems.

1. Evaluate (or) Choice criteria: –

A consumer evaluates a brand on he basis of a number of choice criteria, along
with the standards and specifications that the consumer uses to evaluate the products
and brands.
E.g.: - evaluation criteria includes: colour, style, durability, price warranty, etc.

2. Reducing the range of alternatives: -

Consumer has many brands and store alternatives in existence. The product
category called as total set of brands, where consumer is not likely to be aware of all
of them i.e., due to unawareness. Brand names are valuable assets to the company.
Total set of
Brands in
Product category

Awareness set Evoked set Chosen.

of brands

Insert set Rejected

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Unawareness set
of brands Inept set

Fig.: - Brand elimination process for four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Inert set ---- have little or no ability to react.

Inept set ---- with out skill/ inappropriate/ out of place.

3. Evaluating alternatives: -
To evaluate the gathered information during the search process in evoked set of
brands, there are two broad approaches:

a) Brand processing: - The buyer assesses one brand at a time with several attributes and then
go for the second, third and so on. The strategy for this information processing is called choice
by processing brands (CPB).

b) Attribute processing: - The consumer examines a specific attribute and then compares
several other brands on that attribute. Now second attribute will be selected and compared with
other brands and so on. The strategy for this information processing is called choice by
processing attributes (CPA).

Marketing Implications: -
1) Determining sources of information:
-Warranty card.
-In-depth research.
2) Determining source influence – evoke, Inert, Inept
3) Determining which criteria is used by consumers-directly asking consumers by such.
4) Determining the Importance of Criteria used by consumers – scales.
5) Determining consumer evaluations of brand criteria performance
Done by Judge – about strength & weakness.

III. Purchasing Process: -

This stage involves in choosing a store (shopping-- consumer store choice) and is viewed
as a part of search and evaluation activities.

Why do people shop: -

A)Personal motives: - Shopping activities are learned behaviour.
1) Role playing ---Mother/Housewife.
2) Diversion---Diversion from routine daily life (recreation)

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3) Self-Gratification----Shopping is not by the expected utility of consuming, but by the
emotions states or moods.
4) Learning about new trends-----Shopping provides information about trends, products, and
5) Physical activity----- Considerable amount of exercise (neatness).
5) Sensory stimulation-----benefits like looking at, handling (neatness), listening to music &
smelling the scents.

B)Social Motives:-
1) Social experience outside the home-----with friends.
2) Communication with others having a similar interest------customers /sales people.
3) Peer group attraction-----stores provide a meeting place, where member of a peer (equal
in rank) group may gather.
4) Status & Authority.
5) Pleasure of bargaining.

Choosing a store: -
-Factors determining store choice:
1) Store Location:- Close to store, greater likelihood.
a) Inter City Choice - City A, City B.
b) Intra City Choice –Store choice within urban areas (15 minutes) (Price, quality
product service).
c) Interstore Choice- Choice among competing store – effect on store image.
2) Store Design and Physical Facilities:-
Store visibility - Architecture & Signs, Shelf-Space, Fast billing & delivery.
3) Merchandise: -
It has 5 attributes---Quality, selection (assortments), styling (fashion), guarantees, pricing.
4) Advertising & Sales Promotion: -
- New store opening.
- Buy a particular brand.
- Remind customers.
5) Personnel: - Sales people, friendly, helpful.
6) Customs Services: -
1. Satisfaction: Credits, alterations, installation, and shopper information.
2. Convenience: Delivery, telephone ordering & Parking –hotels (Viceroy), Cinetheatres
3. Special benefits: Gift wrapping, Product returns & complaint officer.
7) Clientele – Matching process between self-image & store-image.

In-store purchasing Behaviour: -

After selecting a store, he must consummate the purchase.
Variables affecting consumer-shopping activities within stores.
A) Merchandising Techniques:
Low involvement purchase decisions.
1) Store layout & traffic patterns --- Pantaloons.
2) Point-of purchase media----- Supermarket – attractive layouts special displays to attract.
3) Product shelving – height at which products are displayed & number of rows.
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a) Shells height
b) Shells space
4) Pricing strategies:
a) Price awareness ------ 40% off.
b) Promotional pricing ------ multiple – buy 3 get 25%
c) Couponing – lucky draws.
5) Packing: POS influences in the package, includes graphics, product information on
the package and physical design
Packaging in store for the marketer “silent salesman”
6) Brand choice: National
Private battle between distributors.
Generic (No-name) brands – Grocery.

The situational nature of Consumer Decisions:

The Important factors influencing the choice and purchasing processes situation
surrounding the consumer’s decision. There are 5 Groups of situational characteristics.

1) Physical surroundings - Geographical, Location, Light, Sound, Weather.

2) Social surroundings - other persons present, their characteristics, roles.
3) Temporal perspective- Ranging from time of day to seasonal of the year.
4) Task definition - To select, shop, obtain information (General or Specific)
5) Antecedent states - (Monetary moods- (anxiety, pleasantness, excitation)
(Monetary states- (Cash on hand, illness, fatigue)

Purchasing patterns:
1) Repeating purchasing patterns
2) Purchases are unplanned.
Brand Loyality
1. Undivided Loyality - AAAAAAA
2. Divided Loyality - ABABAB
3. Unstable Loyality - AAABBB
4. No Loyalities - A B C D E F.

Impulse Purchasing: - Un placed breaks a normal

1) Pure impulse---------------- breaks a normal buying patterns.
2) Suggestion impulses ------ sees for the first time & creates a need.
3) Reminder impulse----------sees & reminds (recalls)
4) Planned impulse------------ enters the store with expectation – price, coupons etc.

Paying for the purchase: customers are looking for Credit and 0% intrest.
IV. Post purchase Behaviour: -
A) Behaviour related to the purchase: -
Consumer makes a decision to purchase a product. The two activities associated
with that decision.

1) Decisions on product set-up and use: -

a) Durable products – set-up/installed, TV/AC.
b) Readily use- Car.
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c) Instruction – Calculator, Microwave ovens. (Methods of operations)
Brochures are provided sufficient instructions to ensure satisfaction and
warranties information – buyer protection.

2) Decisions on Related products or Services: -

A buyer becomes a candidate for all sorts of options & related products/services.
Eg: Maruthi.
To purchase a Camera--------- customer sees the related products like: bag, brush
(to clean dust), stand, slide, film, photo developing, etc.

Marketing Implications:
1) Providing information & assistance
2) Understanding the users consumption system – Coffee, washing Machine –dryer.
3) Decisions about warranties.

B) Post-purchase evaluation: -
1) Consumer satisfaction /Dissatisfaction: -
Important Element in evaluation stage.

Evaluation of


Product Confirmation Product

Expectations Disconfirmation Performance.

Satisfaction Dissatisfaction

2) Consumer Complaint Behaviour (CCB): -

If consumer experience dissatisfaction, there are several –ve outcomes possible.
1. Tell to others, which creates bad image
2. Repurchase will not be there
3. Complains will be more


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Voice Private Third Party

Responses Responses Responses

Seek Word-of-mouth Take legal

Redress Communication decision
From seller,
No action
3) Post purchase dissonance: - (Dissonance ---- Lack of Harmony/agreement)
Dissonance occurs as a result of a discrepancy between a decision and the
consumer’s prior evaluation.
E.g.: - Camera has problems after purchased.
Dissonance theory has 2 basic principles.
1) Dissonance is Uncomfortable and will motivate the person to reduce it.
2) Individuals experiencing dissonance will avoid situations that produce more
Consumer purchases a new brand.
Dissonance Reduction: -
1) Change his evaluation of the alternative (Changing Product evaluation)
2) Seek new information to support his choice.
3) Change his attitudes.

Marketing Implication: -
Create more Advertisement Campaigns.