The 5 Stages of Making a Purchase Decision

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Stage 1 – Problem Recognition
Problem recognition is the initial step in the purchase decision, and requires the consumer to perceive a difference between a person's ideal and actual situations big enough to trigger a decision. In the present scenario, Zac has already decided that he wants to purchase a digital camera. Possible reasons for him to arrive at this decision could be:

Zac might be a photography enthusiast who has been using film cameras, and now wants to try using a digital camera instead. His decision to purchase a new camera would be motivated by his interest in photography, and he would be likely to value image quality.

As an executive, Zac's job scope is very likely to include writing reports or giving presentations. Hence, his decision might be triggered by the desire to increase the quality of his work produced through the use of digital photographs. Thus, he would want to have a user-friendly camera and accompanying software.

Being young, Zac is likely to be influenced by his peers or the mass media in the form of advertisements when buying luxury goods including electronic goods like digital cameras. As such, he would be likely to view a digital camera as a status symbol, and he would demand to have a camera which is well-perceived in his social circle in the form of branding or design. Stage 2 – Information Search

Waiting for Wenyao… Figure 1 – range of camera prices. Figure 2 - consumerreports

Stage 3 – Alternative Evaluation
To evaluate the several alternatives available, Zac will draw upon his evaluative criteria, which represent both the objective and subjective attributes of a brand. The criteria he values more will establish the models that belong to his consideration set, from which he will make his final decision.

The objective attributes that Zac might include in his evaluative criteria would be:

1)Price Range
Digital cameras have a very wide price range corresponding to the quality of the camera, and as seen from Figure 1, they range from $350 to $1600. As an executive, we expect that Zac would not have a problem financing his purchase, but neither is it likely that he would purchase a state of the art digital camera as it is his first digital camera. Thus, Zac would be willing to purchase a digital camera that belongs in the low-end to the middle of the price range.

Depending on what the digital camera is designed for, they might be small enough to fit into one's pocket, or so big that it requires its own carrying case. Factors that the dimensions affect would be the portability and ergonomics of the camera. Unless he is a professional photographer, Zac would want a camera small and light enough that he can bring it around with ease, but big enough so that he can handle it easily.

3)Battery Type & Lifespan
Generally, digital cameras are powered by either rechargeable batteries, or common set of AA batteries. The former is more expensive, but has the advantage of being more environmentally friendly; the latter is cheaper and has the bonus quality of convenience. Where battery performance is concerned, Zac is likely to note that a test conducted by (Figure 2) shows that neither have a clear advantage, and hence this attribute will not figure significantly in his evaluative criteria.

4)Camera Speed
With point-and-shoot cameras, waiting time comes into the picture whenever the camera is first switched on, or right after a picture is taken. As a photography enthusiast it is likely that Zac would require a high-speed camera to capture spontaneous shots, but otherwise the camera speed only has to be fast enough such that it does not frustrate him when he is taking photographs consecutively.

The following two attributes are intangible, existing only in the mind of the consumers, and considered to be subjective:

Currently, leading brands on the market which are considered...
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