Definition: Process that individuals or groups go
through to select, purchase, use and dispose of
goods, services, ideas to satisfy their needs and
I. The consumer buying decision problem
1. Problem recognition
The need recognition is the first and most important
step in the buying process. If there is no need, there is
no purchase. This recognition happens when there is a
lag between the consumer’s actual situation and the
ideal and desired one.
Example: the ability to be able to go to your work by car
in 20 minutes every morning (ideal situation) rather than
lose three hours in transit because you do not have a car
and you live in the countryside (actual situation) is
something that means a lot to you. So you will have a
buying behavior to purchase a car. Even if the price is
The recognition of a need:
Internal stimuli (physiological need
felt by the individual as hunger or
thirst) which opposes the external
stimuli such as exposure to an
advertisement, the sight of a pretty
dress in a shop window
Three different type of needs:
Functional need: the need is related to a feature or specific functions of the product or happens to
be the answer to a functional problem.
Social need: the need comes from a desire for integration and belongingness in the social
environment or for social recognition
Need for change: the need has its origin in a desire from the consumer to
2. Information research
Once the need is identified, it’s time for the consumer
to seek information about possible solutions to the
problem. He will search more or less information
depending on the complexity of the choices to be made
but also his level of involvement.
Consumer will seek information with: Internal information: this
information is already present in the consumer’s memory. It comes
from previous experiences he had with a product or brand and the
opinion he may have of the brand.
External information: External information: This is
information on a product or brand received from and
obtained by friends or family, by reviews from other
3. Alternative evaluation
Once the information collected, the consumer will be
able to evaluate the different alternatives that offer to
him, evaluate the most suitable to his needs and
choose the one he think it’s best for him.
In order to do so, he will evaluate their attributes on two aspects. The
objective characteristics (such as the features and functionality of the
product) but also subjective (perception and perceived value of the
brand by the consumer or its reputation).
The process will then lead to
what is called “evoked set”. “The
evoked set” (aka “consideration
set”) is the set of brands or
products with a probability of
being purchased by the consumer
(because he has a good image of
it or the information collected is
Inept set” is the set of brands or
products that have no chance of
being purchased by the shopper
(because he has a negative
perception or has had a negative
buying experience with the
product in the past).
4. Purchase decision
Now that the consumer has evaluated the
different solutions and products available for
respond to his need, he will be able to choose
the product or brand that seems most
appropriate to his needs. Then proceed to the
actual purchase itself.
his decision will depend on the
information and the selection made in the
previous step based on the perceived
value, product’s features and capabilities
that are important to him.
5. Post-purchase behaviour
Once the product is purchased and used, the
consumer will evaluate the adequacy with his original
needs (those who caused the buying behavior). And
whether he has made the right choice in buying this
product or not. He will feel either a sense of
satisfaction for the product (and the choice). Or, on
the contrary, a disappointment if the product has
fallen far short of expectations.
III. Influences on consumer behaviour
Marketers try to ascertain
what influences in consumers'
lives affects this process.
There are three
age groups, lifestyles
Perception: Is the process by which people
select, organize and interpret information from
the outside world.
Ex. People associate the textures of fabrics
and other surfaces with product qualities.
Motivation: Internal state that drives us to satisfy
needs. Once we activate a need, a state of tension
exists that drives the consumer towards some goal
that will reduce that tension eliminating that need.