When an individual is going to buy a product or service, they carry out a decision process. Even if you are not aware of the process or it is quick, it is actually a broad procedure that a consumer can face and several steps are recognized within it.
There are four phases of the purchase decision process :
1) Acknowledgment of the need: The consumer acknowledges having a problem or a need, feeling a discrepancy between his 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 necessity of the first order.
2) Search for information: The individual performs an internal analysis of the available information that he possesses, through memory, and will perform an external search for information. In this case, both options are what you will take into account when choosing the product. These sources of information are classified into the following groups:
- Personal (family, friends, neighbors, etc)
- Commercial (advertising, vendors, shelves, parcels, etc)
- Public (media, consumer organizations, social networks, etc)
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 satisfy their needs. For example, a consumer wants a mountain bike. There are a huge variety of brands and many attributes to look for in order to make a final decision. So, you will need to take note of all of 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 purchase intention and the actual purchase there may be a process where other people's attitudes and unforeseen situational factors affect. For example, a user decides to buy a television, has a preference for one brand, but during the process is guided by opinions on social networks about a different one that has the same characteristics and offers more guarantee. There are several types of behavior during the purchase.