Question Faith Business & Management

What is the consumer purchasing decision making process

Describe the buying process

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Answer Internal Staff

According to Kotler and Armstrong (2012) there are 5 stages in the process consumers go through when deciding to purchase a good or service. These are:

  1. Problem recognition; this is where consumers become aware of a need or want that they wish to satisfy – this leads them to seek out a purchase. Problem recognition can be triggered by effective advertising.

  2. Information search; this is when the customer begins to look for available solutions to their want/need. At this stage marketers need to ensure they have good brand/product awareness, effective promotion and simple accessibility (e.g. on-line and in-store).

  3. Evaluation of alternatives; when consumers begin to compare different options of goods/services they have identified. This is where aspects such as price and product have the most effect. Consumers will look to maximise the value-versus-price that they achieve, based on the features they consider important.

  4. Purchase decision; where the consumer has decided on the product they want to buy. It is important here to ensure the buying process is simple – no long waiting times or confusing processes.

  5. Post-purchase Behaviour; it is normal for consumers to have doubts after purchasing a product – called cognitive dissonance – they need to be reassured they made the right choice. This can be done through after-sales service, such as warranties and help lines.


Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G. 2012 Principles of Marketing (14th edition). Chicago: Pearson Prentice Hall