Understanding Consumer Decision-Making

Introduction

The managers at an organisation to understand consumer decision-making regarding any product or service are to consider and evaluate the whole buying process and not just the purchase decision. In this report, the stages of consumer decision-making are to be explained. Moreover, the importance of it to the marketers and the way they can implement it are to be informed through model and theories.

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P1Explaining and analysing the stages of consumer decision-making process

The consumer-decision making is referred to the process that mentions about the way consumers make decision for purchasing products and services. It informs about the processes that take place with the consumer before, during and after buying a product or service (Maniatis, 2016). This means that the process informs about the way consumer identify their demands and needs, collect product information, examine alternative products and finally decides to buy the product. As mentioned by Ashman et al. (2015), there are five stages in the consumer decision-making process which are need recognition, search information, evaluate alternatives, making buying decision and post-purchase decision. The need recognition happens when the consumer can identify their specific needs (Wang and Yu, 2017). Therefore, to influence consumer-decision by the manager in the organisation the person need to know the specific needs of their target customer according to which the product is to be developed and advertised.

The search information stage occurs when the consumer initiate to make research about the probable products present in the market that are fulfilling their identified needs. They search the information mainly in commercial, public and personal sources (Zhang and Benyoucef, 2016). Thus, manager in the organisation to influence consumer-decision towards them required to have effective public and commercial media presence of their products so that during research the consumer can find their products are present in the market. The evaluation of alternatives occurs when the customer by comparing two or more similar products determines which of them are fulfilling their needs more effectively and at lower cost (Ewerhard et al. 2019). Thus, the manager of the organisation requires to have placed their product in a better way in the market so that it to be chosen by customer over other existing products in the market. The purchase decision occurs when the customer finally buys the products and post-purchase behaviour occurs after buying where they analyse the usefulness of the product for them (Chen et al. 2017). This means that customers are influenced to buy the same product next time if the purchased product fulfils their need as promised.

There are different factors that influence customer decision-making that is to be considered by the manager of the organisation when they are targeting to influence customer towards them. As mentioned by Frederiks et al. (2015), economic factor is the most essential factor that influences customer decision-making to purchase any product. This is because customers are not going to decide to buy any over-priced product or products that are priced beyond their financial ability to buy as it would lead them to experience financial constraint. As argued by Maniatis (2016), functionality factor influences customer decision-making process for product consumption. This is because if the product bought by the consumers is not functional enough to meet their needs then it would mean wastage of time and money. As asserted by Brennan et al. (2016), social and cultural factors influence customer decision-making process for purchase. This is because consumers of different cultures and society have different beliefs and societal restriction which they are to follow while deciding to buy products so that they ensure respect to the community.

P2Explaining the importance for marketers to map and understand consumer-decision making

The organisation I am working in many sells clothing of different nature to its customers. In here, the map of customer decision-making regarding the purchase of woollen jacket from the company is being informed.

Identify the needs: The customer has different light-duty jackets present in the closet. However, winter is coming so the person needs to buy heavy-duty jacket to protect them. Thus, need is raised that heavy-duty woollen jacket is to be purchased.

Information search: The person searches on the internet by using the keyword "woollen winter jacket.” Moreover, asks any individual who is wearing an attractively styled woollen jacket regarding from where they purchased it.

Alternative evaluation: The consumer compares different brands along with ours based on design, quality of material, style and others to understand which of them fulfil their wish of buying woollen jacket in the best way.

Purchase Decision: The consumer decides to buy a black woollen jacket which is trendy in style and has high-quality woollen material as well as priced average.

Post-purchase Evaluation: The consumer is contacted through email to provide review of the purchased jacket to understand whether or not it fulfilled the person’s needs and the product is useful.

The mapping of path to purchase is important because it helps the company understand the exact needs and demands of the customers as well as way they are making choice to make purchase decision (Anderl et al. 2016). Thus, the mapping of the path helps to bridge gap present between the company and the consumers helping them to identify more effective way to frame the product so that the needs of customers are fulfilled. The mapping of purchase is important as it helps to assume the success of the brand in the market (Tsai and Huang, 2015). This is because during mapping the company can understand to what extent they are preferred over other similar brands to attract new and existing consumers. The understanding of consumer decision-making is important so that the company can make better emotional connection with them (Jones and C. Runyan, 2016). This is because consumer decision makes the manager of the company aware about the factors that are considered by consumer during buying making the company knowledgeable about the way products are to be presented so that an emotional bonding between them and the consumer is developed.

M1Evaluate the way marketers are responding to the consumer decision-making process

The Gross Model of Consumption Values informs that five key factors which are conditional, social, functional, emotional and epistemic values influence the decision of the consumer in buying products (Wu and Chang, 2016). The functional factor influences the decision of the consumer based on the value of possession of the product by them (Prebensen and Xie, 2017). In response to this value, the marketers are responding to customer decision-making by offering them products which are deemed essential to their need. This is an effective response as it would help the marketers to make customer decide to buy their products out of effective functional use to meet their needs. The social factors influence customer decision based on their alternative association with other social groups (Wu and Chang, 2016). In relation to this, marketers are focussing on to identify the social group with whom their customers are meeting. This is an effective response because it would lead the marketers understand the sudden changes in preference of products among consumers based on social influence making them aware to make changes in their products accordingly to keep their customer attracted. The emotional value influences customer to make decision-based on their feelings and attachment towards any product (Prebensen and Xie, 2017). According to the model, marketers are continuously accessing reviews from their customers. This is a significant response by the marketers as it would help them to understand the feeling of the consumers regarding their products in the market and way changes in the products are to be made so that the consumers remain emotionally attached to decide in buying the particular product. The conditional factor mentions perceived utility of the products according to condition leads the customers to decide buying them (Burucuoglu and Erdogan, 2016). In this aspect, the marketers are keeping a close eye on the changing condition of their target consumer which may influence them to choose alternative brands or products. This is an effective response from the marketers as it leads them to understand when they are to make changes in their product development and strategy so that they are still able to make their existing customer decide purchasing.

The Nicosia Model informs that customer decision-making is based on the relationship between the company and the consumers. The way a company communicates with the customers in meeting their needs influences the way they are going to decide on purchasing products from them (Panwar et al. 2019). This is because companies which establish effective relationship with customers makes the consumers feel being valued and out of the value the customer decides purchasing from the particular firms. In relation to this model, the marketers to respond to consumer decision-making are keeping in close contact with the customers through marketing messages and commercial sources. This is an effective response made by the marketers because such action would lead them develop direct connection with customers to understand their needs as well as influence them to remain attracted towards their products so that finally decides to buy from them.

D1Critically evaluating the application of model and theories of consumer decision making

The application of Nicosia model is beneficial to influence consumer decision-making as it offers a proper attempt to inform the interrelationship present between attributes present among customers, their decision-making process, marketing communication and feedback of the consumers (Stoica et al. 2017). For instance, the firm remains in continuous communication with their consumers and they suddenly identify that most their customers are facing hindrances of using one of their recently launched products which making many other to switch to other brands. The firm immediately withdraws the hindered new product launched in the market and resolves the issue to relaunch it in the market. Thus, the firm by remaining in close contact with the customer came to know at the earliest that their new product is to be changed as it is not fulfilling the needs of the customers, in turn, making them take effective action at the earliest to resolve the issue so decision of purchasing their product remains stabilised. However, the Nicosia model does not help the marketers understand the way social, conditional and epistemic values are influencing customer decision-making to purchase. In this aspect, the Gross Model of Consumption value is useful as it helps the marketers understand the way social, conditional and epistemic values are influencing the decision of purchase by the customers (Wu and Chang, 2016)

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Conclusion

The above discussion informs that there are five stages to consumer decision-making which are identifying needs, searching information, alternative evaluation, purchase decision and post-purchase decision. The mapping of customer decision-making is important to reduce the gap of understand the specific needs of customers. The marketers often use Nicosia model and Gross Model of Consumption values to determine way to respond to consumer decision-making.

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References

Anderl, E., Becker, I., Von Wangenheim, F. and Schumann, J.H., 2016. Mapping the customer journey: Lessons learned from graph-based online attribution modeling. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 33(3), pp.457-474.

Ashman, R., Solomon, M.R. and Wolny, J., 2015. An old model for a new age: Consumer decision making in participatory digital culture. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 14(2), pp.127-146.

Brennan, L., Previte, J. and Fry, M.L., 2016. Social marketing’s consumer myopia: applying a behavioural ecological model to address wicked problems. Journal of Social Marketing, 6(3), pp.219-239.

Burucuoglu, M. and Erdogan, E., 2016. An empirical examination of the relation between consumption values, Mobil Trust and mobile banking adoption. International Business Research, 9(12), pp.131-142.

Chen, A., Lu, Y. and Wang, B., 2017. Customers’ purchase decision-making process in social commerce: a social learning perspective. International Journal of Information Management, 37(6), pp.627-638.

Ewerhard, A.C., Sisovsky, K. and Johansson, U., 2019. Consumer decision-making of slow moving consumer goods in the age of multi-channels. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 29(1), pp.1-22.

Frederiks, E.R., Stenner, K. and Hobman, E.V., 2015. Household energy use: Applying behavioural economics to understand consumer decision-making and behaviour. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 41, pp.1385-1394.

Jones, R.P. and C. Runyan, R., 2016. Conceptualizing a path-to-purchase framework and exploring its role in shopper segmentation. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 44(8), pp.776-798.

Maniatis, P., 2016. Investigating factors influencing consumer decision-making while choosing green products. Journal of Cleaner Production, 132, pp.215-228.

Maniatis, P., 2016. Investigating factors influencing consumer decision-making while choosing green products. Journal of Cleaner Production, 132, pp.215-228.

Panwar, D., Anand, S., Ali, F. and Singal, K., 2019. Consumer Decision Making Process Models and their Applications to Market Strategy. International Management Review, 15(1), pp.36-44.

Prebensen, N.K. and Xie, J., 2017. Efficacy of co-creation and mastering on perceived value and satisfaction in tourists' consumption. Tourism Management, 60, pp.166-176.

Stoica, L.C., Cristescu, M.P. and Stancu, A.M.R., 2017. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CONSUMER BEHAVIOR AND MARKETING STRATEGIES. Knowledge Horizons. Economics, 9(4), pp.79-83.

Tsai, C.Y. and Huang, S.H., 2015. A data mining approach to optimise shelf space allocation in consideration of customer purchase and moving behaviours. International Journal of Production Research, 53(3), pp.850-866.

Wang, Y. and Yu, C., 2017. Social interaction-based consumer decision-making model in social commerce: The role of word of mouth and observational learning. International Journal of Information Management, 37(3), pp.179-189.

Wu, S.I. and Chang, H.L., 2016. The Model of Relationship between the Perceived Values and the Purchase Behaviors toward Innovative Products. Journal of Management and Strategy, 7(2), pp.31-45.

Zhang, K.Z. and Benyoucef, M., 2016. Consumer behavior in social commerce: A literature review. Decision Support Systems, 86, pp.95-108.

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