Decision processes of purchases of different items
Generally speaking, there're 5 stages in the decision process of a purchase: need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision and postpurchase behavior. Let’s take a look at how these stages contrast for purchasing different items, say, for a new notebook PC and a jar of peanut butter.
Firstly, the process starts with need recognition. The need of a jar of Jif is much triggered by internal stimuli (hunger here). But the need of a new Notebook PC is triggered by external stimuli. You may increase the efficiency and productivity for school or work by having a new PC.
The second stage is information search in which different search process may be used. In your notebook PC information search, you may pay attention to your colleagues’ PCs, notebook PC ads, notebook PC ...view middle of the document...
We are certain that a 16 oz. jar of Jif creamy style peanut butter is right what we want. But a notebook PC is not a common touch, which means we might want to have an elaborate evaluation process for purchasing one. For instance, we might pick a brand or make the decision based on what attributes we care about, customer services provided and other careful calculation and logical thinking etc.
The next stage is purchase decision. It takes us much longer to make a decision about purchasing a notebook PC. We may never purchase one because we donate our money to the earthquake that just happened somewhere, our parents get us a PC as a birthday gift or your roommate just had a bad experience with Dell and told you to get a MacBook. In contrast, with a strong brand preference and a clear recognition of the demand of bottle size, we go to Wal-Mart for a 16 oz. jar of Jif peanut butter without too much thinking although sometimes there’re still unexpected situational factors such as being out of stock.
Postpurchase behavior is the last one. There will always be some postpurchase dissonance for every decision, but it will be much less for a purchase of peanut butter than that for a purchase of notebook PC. Different brands or different companies produce slight different peanut butters, which means that we avoid few drawbacks of the brands not bought. But a notebook PC usually carries the feature of its brand. For example, you are not able to access to your family iCloud by using a Dell that doesn’t have iCloud function. So marketers would be more focused on how the buyers of PCs are satisfied or disappointed in relation to the performance expectations in this scenario.
And now we can see that even though there’re some common parts, the decision process is quite different for purchasing a PC and a jar of peanut butter. It’s mainly because they are different types – one is what gets involved a lot in our daily life and we are familiar with, and the other one is what we have poor knowledge of and kind of a “big” thing respectively.