Several factors contribute to the influence of the consumer decision-making process. Consumers can research product reviews, compare products and conduct further research—now that they have accessible information at their fingertips.
With the adoption of smartphones and further adaptation of the internet, consumers are now more wary of the products and services they buy from businesses. In fact, 40% of consumers will easily change their minds at the point of purchase because they see something else they like.
As the consumer decision-making process is more complex, companies are under increased pressure to understand the customers and buying behaviors.
What Is the Consumer Decision Making Process?
The consumer decision-making process involves customers making decisions by:
- Becoming aware of and identifying their needs
- Collecting information on how to solve their needs best
- Evaluating alternatives and other available options
- Finalizing a purchase
- Evaluating a purchase
Understanding the consumer decision-making process is crucial for any business. Many companies can optimize their business processes by understanding the data that consumers generate.
3 Primary Factors Affecting the Consumer Decision Making Process
As complex as the mind may seem, only three explanatory factors affect the consumer decision-making process.
1. Sociological Factors
Social and cultural factors can affect the everyday decisions people make. Friends, family, culture and generations are significant and can affect the findings on our purchases.
For example, suppose you are purchasing a new computer. Many brands sell this product. However, the buyer can make their purchase decisions based on the recommendations of friends and family.
2. Psychological Factors
Motivation, perception, emotions and beliefs are psychological factors that influence consumers’ decisions. One example would be to buy a coffee at a local coffee shop instead of the Starbucks down the road. Some people prefer to buy locally because they feel better supporting small businesses.
As humans, it’s challenging to separate our emotions from the purchase. Most of the time, consumers will buy because it makes them feel good. So, how can you influence these factors? Delivering a personalized customer experience and tapping into their emotions is the best approach.
3. Personal Factors
Personal factors include age, income, likes and dislikes and unique style. It also contains certain feelings towards a specific product or brand.
For example, maybe you’re a mother with two young children. You care about what ingredients are included in certain bath products, so perhaps you like to buy from brands that sell organic products only.
It’s important to understand your audience when addressing this factor. Creating surveys and asking your audience to participate is the best way to improve your goods and services.
Why It Matters To Understand the Consumer Decision Making Process
By understanding the consumer decision-making process, your business can identify new marketing challenges and opportunities. It’s essential to align marketing efforts with customers’ purchase decisions by knowing and understanding their needs.
Once you have the power of knowledge–and their best interests in mind–you can use that to persuade potential or existing customers to buy from your brand.
Additionally, brands that understand the consumer decision-making process can drive the customer experience, creating 5.7 times more revenue than their competitors.
The consumer decision-making process also allows marketers to fill in the market gap by identifying product solutions, giving small businesses a competitive advantage.
A good customer journey mapping strategy can enable businesses to understand customer expectations and desires. In turn, companies will have the opportunity to offer more appropriate services and products at each stage of the customer journey.
The 5 Phases of the Consumer Decision Making Process
To map out the customers’ journey, you must understand what the customer goes through when making a purchase decision. Here is an overview of each phase of the process:
This is the most important stage of the buying process. Every sale starts with the customer becoming aware of their need for a product or service. Many companies have numerous options for facilitating this stage of the process. The key to taking this action is creating a specific target audience and addressing them with your goods and services.
Customers always want to find out their options first, no matter how impulsive they can be. They start by gathering relevant information about a product or service that meets predetermined criteria.
Typically, their choices are fed subconsciously by their feelings and interactions with brands. Your buyers will set their standards on comfort, certain qualities and affordability while researching their options. Understand the channels they use and publish information–so they can learn about your brand’s products and services.
At this stage, customers have completed their research and decided which gaps they need to fill. Additionally, they created a set of criteria for what they want in a product or service. So, customers are comparing their options to make the best decision at this stage.
To tackle this step, customer reviews and social proof will help tremendously. Be sure to highlight those features everywhere–including your landing pages and social media.
Finally, the customer behavior turns into action–where consumers make the purchase. Some of the aspects that will influence their final decision are the price range, appealing attributes and which is most convenient for them.
The best way to land the sale is to optimize the purchase experience. Creating a seamless checkout process will prevent the loss of a deal before the purchase is final.
After the customer makes a purchase, they will consider whether the item or service is worth it. Buyers will ask specific questions such as:
- Is the product worth the cost?
- Is it worth recommending to others?
- Will I want to purchase this item again?
Consider reaching out to them when you want to understand the buyers’ feelings after a purchase. This process will increase the likelihood of customers buying from your brand again.
Taking the Customer Decision-Making Process Into Consideration
Keep in mind that there’s no set path between the awareness and the final purchase stages. However, it’s important to note that each step ties into the customers’ emotions. When placing yourself into the customers’ hands, you can influence their decision-making.
Constant feedback, working your way backward through the process, identifying various factors at play and predicting your buyers’ interests–are all you need to make a successful sale.