Consumer Behaviour : Holiday Decision Making Process

Topics: Decision making, Cognition, Flipism Pages: 6 (2198 words) Published: August 28, 2012
Discuss and critically evaluate the traditional ‘rational problem solving, cognitive model’ of consumer decision making process, in light of the arguments given in the case study: ‘Holiday decision-making: an adaptable and opportunistic ongoing process.’ Every day, each one of us makes various decisions regarding different aspects of our daily routine. To be able to make these decisions, we need to be able to have alternatives. These decisions, however, are made after doing some degree of information search but not all consumer decision-making situations receive or require the same degree of information search. Some purchase decisions require extensive effort, where the consumers need a lot of information to set a criteria and judge specific brands, for example, a branded bag. On the other hand, some decisions require limited effort as the consumers already have established the basic criteria for evaluating the product category, for example, groceries. (Schiffman. L, Kanuk.L and Hansen. H, 2008, pp.71) Decision making therefore, is defined as choosing one alternative among several whereas; problem solving involves finding answer to a question. (Griffin. R and Moorhead.G, 2008, pp. 205) This essay look at two basic models 1) traditional rational problem-solving model 2) cognitive model of consumer decision-making process. It sheds light on the various theories and the criticisms of these models respectively, keeping in mind the holiday decision-making process.

According to Alain Decrop, consumers have traditionally been portrayed as rational and risk averse. As a consequence, consumer decision making has been presented from a problem solving or information processing perspective. (Solomon. M, Bamossy.G, Askegaard.S and Hogg.M, 2006, pp.392) Howard and Sheth, 1969 tried to explain the choice of brand of the consumer and the purpose of the model was the ‘description, application and assessment of those elements of the theory of human behaviour which they believe to be essential in understanding the range of activities that they call ‘buying’. (Lye.A, Shao.W and Thiele.S, 2004, pp.2) According to them, three different buying situations according to how much information the buyer needs to make his decision are examined: a) a routinized response behaviour with a familiar brand which needs little information b) limited problem solving situation where the buyer is confronted with a new, unfamiliar brand for a familiar product c) extensive problem solving situation where the buyer is confronted with an unfamiliar brand for an unfamiliar product.(Pellemans.P, 2007, pp.7) The rational decision making process is a systematic, step by step process which involves 5 steps while making a decision. They are: a) need recognition b) Information search c) Evaluation of alternatives d) product choice {purchases} e) Decision outcomes {post- purchase evaluation} . (Solomon. M, Bamossy.G, Askegaard.S and Hogg.M, 2006, pp.392) While making decisions, consumers recognition of a need is often identifies when they are faced with a problem, for example, the need to replace floppy disc with a USB. As these needs are identified, the search for information as to which brand to buy is collected, in this example a USB. During this stage, past experience is taken into account and where the product is new, extensive information needs to be collected. After all the information has been collected, consumers evaluate different brands on a set of criteria they might have set in their mind, for example in case of a USB it might be storage space or price; and the choice of brands may be between SONY or Panasonic. Following this stage, the consumers make a choice and purchase their favourable brand after which a post-purchase evaluation is done as to whether the brand was satisfactory or not. This traditional model is based on various assumptions.

* It assumes that the consumers gather as much data needed to...
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