Phases of the purchase decision process

When an individual is going to buy a product or service, he carries out a decision process. Although not aware of this process or a fast process, it is actually a broader process that a consumer can face and several options are recognized.

There are four phases of the purchase decision process:

1) Recognition of the need:  the consumer acknowledges having a problem or a need, feeling a discrepancy between their current state and the desired state. For example: a consumer who needs to buy bread as a daily food for everyday use. It is a first order need.

2) Information search: The individual performs an internal analysis of the available information held, through memory and will perform an external information search. In this case, both options are the ones you will consider when choosing the product. These sources of information are classified into the following groups:

  • Personal (family, friends, neighbors,….)
  • Commercial (advertising, vendors, shelves, parcels, …)
  • Public (media, consumer organizations, social networks …)

Through the search for information, the consumer knows the competing brands and their characteristics.

3) Evaluation of alternatives: The consumer sees each product as a set of attributes with different capacity to offer the benefits sought and meet their needs. For example: a consumer wants a mountain bike. There are a huge variety of brands and many attributes to repair to make a final decision. You will have to take note of all this before making the final decision.

4) Purchase decision:  The consumer may have preferences over some brands. A purchase intention can also be formed. However, between the intention to buy and the effective purchase there may be a process where they affect other people’s attitudes and unforeseen situational factors. For example: a user decides to buy a television, has a preference for a brand, but during the process is guided by opinions on social networks over a different one that has the same characteristics and offers more guarantee. There are several types of behavior during the purchase.

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