Consumer behavior in marketing refers to what thoughts cross the minds of a consumer purchasing a product or a service. It also includes the factors that usually influence his/her buying decisions and preferences while choosing a product or a service to buy.
So consumer behavior is basically the study of the buying decision process of a buyer. It involves what to purchase, why to purchase, from where to purchase and how to purchase.
Consumer Buying Decision Process
The consumer buying decision process consists of five stages through which a buyer goes through before making their final decision of buying a product or a service.
1. Recognition of need
When an individual starts recognizing the need or want of a product, that’s when the buying decision process starts. This need or want can arise due to any internal or external stimuli like hunger, advertising, etc.
2. Information search
After identifying the need or want of a product, the buyer moves onto the next step that is gathering information about the product. At this level, information includes different types of companies offering the product, their different models, colors, sizes, prices, quality, reviews, and post-sale services. All this information can easily be obtained by the buyer through any print media, websites, television, and word of mouth.
3. Evaluation of alternatives
After collecting all the information, the buyer starts to evaluate all the different alternatives available to choose from. The buyer compares all the alternatives based on different features and prices and chooses the best according to his/her requirements.
4. Purchase of product or service
At this stage, the buyer makes the purchase of the product. The buyer first considers different options of purchase available like from a store or website through cod, online payment or EMI.
5. Post-purchase evaluation
This stage starts when the buyer has already made his/her purchase and using the product already. After using the product, he/she comes to a conclusion whether or not they are happy and satisfied with the purchase. Accordingly, the buyer develops his/ her liking and disliking of the product and the company. A happy and satisfied buyer will more likely turn into a loyal customer and dissatisfied buyers may switch to some other competitor’s company.