Consumer Behaviour – Stages in the Buying Process

Consumer Behaviour – Stages in the Buying Process

Consumer behaviour considers the many reasons why people shop for products, buy and use them, and then dispose of them. Companies spend billions of dollars annually studying what makes consumers “skip a beat”.

Studying people’s buying habits isn’t just for big companies. Even small businesses and entrepreneurs can study the behaviour of their customers with great success. For example, by figuring out what postal codes their customers are in, a business might determine where to locate an additional store. Customer surveys and other studies can also help explain why buyers purchased what they did and what their experiences were with a business.

Keep in mind, however, that different people, no matter how similar they are, make different purchasing decisions. You might be very interested in purchasing a Hatchback. But your best friend might want to buy a Sedan. Business professionals understand this. So what they try to do is figure out trends among consumers.

Consumer Behaviour – Stages in the Buying Process

1. Need- How many times have you have heard about a movie and had no interest in it—until you saw the preview? Afterward, you felt like had to see it. Do you think it’s a coincidence that Gatorade and other beverage makers locate their machines in gymnasiums so you see them after a long, tiring workout?

2. Search- Maybe you have owned several shirts and know what you like and don’t like about them. Or, there might be a particular brand that you’ve purchased in the past that you liked and want to purchase in the future. This is a great position for the company that owns the brand to be in—something firms strive for. Internet shopping sites such as have become a common source of information about products. also offers product reviews written by consumers. People prefer “independent” sources such as this when they are looking for product information.

3. Evaluation- Obviously, there are hundreds of different shirts available to choose from. It is not possible for you to examine all of them. Consequently, you develop what is called evaluative criteria to help you narrow down your choices.

Evaluative criteria are certain characteristics that are important to you such as the price of the shirt, the size, and colour. Some of these characteristics are more important than others. For example, the size of the size and the price might be more important to you than the colour—unless, say, the colour is hot pink and you hate pink.

4. Choice and Purchase- Stage 4 is the point at which you decide what shirt to purchase. However, in addition to the shirts, you are probably also making other decisions at this stage, including where and how to purchase the shirts and on what terms. Maybe the shirt was cheaper at one store than another, but the salesperson there was rude. Or maybe you decide to order online because you’re too busy to go to the mall.

5. Post purchase Evaluation- At this point in the process you decide whether the shirt you purchased is everything it was cracked up to be. Hopefully it is. If it’s not, you’re likely to suffer what’s called ‘buyer’s remorse’. You want to feel good about your purchase, but you don’t. You begin to wonder whether you should have waited to get a better price, purchased something else, or gathered more information first. Consumers commonly feel this way, which is a problem for sellers. If you don’t feel good about what you’ve purchased from them, you might return the item and never purchase anything from them again. Or, worse yet, you might tell everyone you know how bad the product was.

All marketing decisions are based on assumptions and knowledge of consumer behaviour. Researching consumer behaviour is a complex process, but understanding consumer behaviour is critical to marketers. If you need any assistance with researching consumer behaviour, get in touch with iResearch Services now.

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