The consumer purchase decision process is the decision making process undertaken by the consumers in regard to a potential market transaction before, during, and after the purchase of a product or a service respectively. Being more specific, the decision making is the cognitive process of selecting a course of action from amongst the multiple alternatives. Common examples to this notion are shopping edibles; deciding what to eat. Decision making is also regarded as a psychological construct. It means that though we can never see a decision, we can infer it from the observable behavior that decision has been made.
There are total five different stages that altogether comprise the overall consumer purchase decision process, and those are:-
The Need Arousal, or The Problem Recognition
The consumer buying process always starts from this stage – the recognition of the problem. Any of the needs, can be initiated from either internal or external stimulus. By internally, it means self motivation, or intrinsic need such as hunger, thirst, or recreation etc. And by external, it means any sight of a new thing in the shop while purchasing other things. In order words, the stimulus give cues to the individual upon whose identification, needs are raised.
Upon need arousal, the individual tries to gather pertinent information about the product and its uses and tries to solve the need. Depending upon the intensity of need, the need can produce 2 stages of individual. One is heightened attention in which the consumer becomes more attentive and receptive to the information regarding what he needs e.g. if the customer wants a pair of glasses, he or she would seek more TV adds and talk more about it within social circle etc and upon getting more intense, the consumer starts active information search and tries to collect every bit of information from any of the available sources.
After collecting reliable information, the consumer sorts out and evaluates the alternatives. There is no thumbs rule by which this evaluation process is conducted by the consumer, but instead it is totally rational and depends upon the buying situation that how this process is carried out by the consumer.
After the evaluation period, the customer is instigated to perform preferences and normally the consumer goes for what he or she thinks is the best. The consumer now decides what to buy, where to buy it from and when to buy, respectively. But above all there are three factors which are somewhat considered pro-actively, (a) attitude of others towards it like spouse, friends etc (b) the anticipated pertinent situational factors like income, cost etc and (c) the reaction of the sales person the way he carried out the business with you.
Post Purchase Feelings
The post purchase feelings are what the customer tends to feel either in the form of satisfaction, or dissatisfaction and this totally depends on the performance of the product perceived.