The Consumer Decision-Making Process

So now that we have discussed the factors influencing consumer’s decision to purchase and the types of buying decisions consumers make, let’s examine the consumer decision making process itself. This process is presented in a sequence of 5 steps as shown below.

consumer decision-making process

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However, whether a consumer will actually carryout each step depends on the type of purchase decision that is faced. For instance, for some repurchases the consumer may be quite loyal to the same brand they are used to buying. In this purchase situation (e.g., Minor Repurchase), the decision is a routine one (i.e., buy the same product) and little effort is involved in making a purchase decision. In cases of routine, brand loyal purchases consumers may skip several steps in the purchasing process since they know exactly what they want allowing the consumer to move quickly through the steps. But for more complex decisions, especially those involving an expensive purchase the buyer has not previously made, the purchasing process can extend for days, weeks, months, or longer (e.g., Major New Purchase). So in presenting these steps marketers should realize that, depending on the circumstances surrounding the purchase, the importance of each step may vary.