The paper “ Necessary Stages of Consumer Decision Making" is a pathetic variant of an essay on marketing. Consumers are said to pass through a decision-making process when buying. Researchers have named five stages of the consumer decision making process as recognition, information search, and evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase decision. This process should be understood by marketing managers in order to come up with the right decisions on how to market their products or services. According to Lamb, Hair & Daniel (2011), a problem or need recognition is the first step in the process of purchasing, meaning, the consumer notices a difference in the state he desires and the actual state he is in.
For example, one will buy a car to satisfy the need for comfort and reaching places faster and on time, or a person who is hungry will look for food to eat in order to satisfy his hunger. This sense of difference in actual status and desired state is also known as the internal stimulus. There is also external stimulus where a person has been using his car for a while and sees no need of getting a new one, but as he sees more and more flashy cars being advertised and his friends buying them, he may get a feeling of being obsolete and the need to be up-to-date, thus desiring to buy a new car. Wants are induced by marketers and according to Solomon (2010), when a person has a need that is unfulfilled and has recognized a particular service or good that will satisfy it, then it is called a want.
When people discover what their needs are, they start searching for information on how to satisfy them.
Lamb, Hair & Daniel (2011) describe two ways of collecting information: internal and external search. Consumers use internal search when they use the experience they had from the purchases they made before and what they can remember about the product or service. Information received from external search can either be non-marketing controlled or marketing-controlled information, with the presiding meaning source of information and advice from consumer reports, family and friends and the latter meaning advertisements by marketers.
Sometimes what a customer knows about a certain product or service may not provide enough information needed, so he may seek more information from friends, newspapers, and magazines, and so on. Online shopping sites like Amazon. com provide information about different products and product reviews, and Epinions. com provides product reviews by consumers and product ratings, price information and buying tips. Such independent sources are preferred by people when looking for product or service information. Salespeople, brochures, websites, and advertisements are also sources of information that buyers can consult. Evaluation of alternatives is the third step in the consumer decision-making process according to the online Marketing Study Guide.
However, consumers don’ t use the same evaluation process in all their purchasing situations. In evaluating the best alternative, the consumer looks for a product that has problem-solving benefits, one that can meet his or her needs. There is a set of attributes in a product that delivers the solution the customer is looking for. Each product is seen by consumers as a bundle of attributions with different ability levels of providing a solution (satisfying his or her need).
The attributes of a product are only important and relevant if they lead to some benefits. On the other hand, benefits are important only if they can attend the problem of a consumer and satisfy the underlying need. Essential needs are personal and how important product attributes are than others differ from customer to customer’ s beliefs of what can satisfy his or her need. Consumers develop preferences towards various brands based on their personal judgment on what attributes and benefits of certain products are important.