Consumer Buying Decision Process
Purchasing is common to Malaysian or even to the world. However, many don’t realize that the process of making the decision is actually more complicated than the transaction looks. Without realizing, people are making their decision by using this process even more for high-involvement purchase. Purchasing or buying decision process consists of the process from before the purchase has been made until the after the purchase.
Problem or need recognition is the main and most important thing in the process. If there is no need, then no purchase is required. The need can be developed in various ways. Internal stimuli are one of the ways. It is a physiological need (basic need) sensed by individual that opposes the external stimuli. External stimuli are the feel that we felt after seeing an advertisement or the product itself which attract us. Needs are classified into a few types. Functional need is the need of getting a solution for a functional problem. Social need is a desire of looking good in the social environment while need for change would be sounded like upgrading what the consumer had. The need could be guided by Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs as well.
Once consumers have identified the need, they usually will go to the next step which is the information search. They will seek for the information about possible solutions to the problem. The information could be arise internally (internal information) or externally (external information). Internal information is the information that is already in the consumer‘s memory. Usually it comes from his/her past experience. In order for a consumer especially Malaysians to purchase high involvement product, they will also get the external information in example from the family, friends, etc.
When the consumer has done the data collections, he/she will start to evaluate the difference of the alternatives offered to him. The consumer will start to evaluate on the features and functionality of the product (objective) or it could be by the perception and perceived value or its reputation (subjective). This evaluation might be differed to each consumer. This process will lead the consumer to have outcome as evoked set which the product has the probability of being purchased because of good image or positive information. The product also has the potential of being rejected which is called inept set where it carries negative perception or experience by the consumer. If the consumer has no specific opinion to the product, it is called inert set.
After these processes, the consumer now can make the decision based on the collected information data. This will also depends by the consumer experience on the shopping experience or the store itself. As an example, a consumer might not repeat purchase on a store if he/she has unpleasant experience with the seller.
Realizing or not, most consumer will evaluate again the product after the purchase and usage. This is part of the purchasing decision making process which is called post-purchase evaluation. Post purchase evaluation somehow will affect the consumer’s next purchase. If he/she is happy with the product, the consumer might minimize the next purchase process. On the other hand, if he/she is unsatisfied with the product, the consumer might remove the brand or product from his/her evoked set.
All of these processes are actually been practiced by consumers consciously or subconsciously. However, these processes are very important to us in order for us to make a good decision in purchasing. Therefore, you might want to be more careful during making decision so you can get the best result.
Hamiriza Shah Hamim