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The 5 Stages Of Making A Purchase Decision

Essay by   •  November 23, 2010  •  1,985 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,557 Views

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Stage 1 Ð'- 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:

1) Interest

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.

2) Work-related

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.

3) Status

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 Ð'- Information Search

Waiting for WenyaoÐ'... Figure 1 Ð'- range of camera prices. Figure 2 - consumerreports

Stage 3 Ð'- 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.

2) Dimensions

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 ConsumerReports.org (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:

1) Prestige

Currently, leading brands on the market which are considered to be prestigious include Nikon, Olympus, and Canon. Other less prestigious brands are from consumer electronics, computers, and other traditional camera and film companies. The prestige of a brand of a digital camera is would affect a consumer's perception of the overall quality of the camera, including its reliability and durability. Also, it is an important attribute if Zac is purchasing it to affirm his status as a young executive with earning and purchasing power.

2) Design

The design of a digital camera covers various aesthetic factors like colour, shape, and material, as well as other qualities like the innovativeness of the design. The design is a factor that often weighs heavily in the mindset of a casual consumer, and it is likely that Zac will also seek a camera that looks good.

After determining which objective and subjective attributes are important to him personally, Zac would be able to narrow his choices to a small set of cameras which he considers to be acceptable, and proceed to purchase a camera in the next stage.

Stage 4 Ð'- Purchase Decision

In finalizing the purchase decision, Zac already has an idea of the camera models he wants, and only has to choose who to buy from, and when to make the purchase.

The Ð''who' could be anywhere from a neighbourhood electronics store, a shopping mall, or even online. Factors that will affect his decision are:

1) Past Purchase Experience

Based on Zac's past experience in purchasing other electronic goods, he might have certain shops or malls that he prefers to patronize. For example, he might choose to visit Sim Lim Square as his past experience informs him that there is a large variety of shops there that he can choose from, and it is likely that they will have a wide range of camera models (including the one he seeks) as well as more competitive prices.

2) Service Quality

As pricing is not the only camera attribute that Zac would consider, the service of a shop's sales staff might be an important factor in making his

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