Everything you need to know about the process of consumer decision-making. The stages in the consumer decision-making process are more applicable to high involvement purchases than low-involvement purchases.

Basically, purchases fall on a continuum ranging from high to low in importance; and the amount of time and thought given to each purchase decision varies accordingly.

People go through a five-step consumer decision process when making many of their purchases. The complexity of the process in each case Impends greatly on the consumer’s involvement with the product, which is the degree of personal importance or relevance accompanying the product and brand choice in a particular situation.

The process of consumer decision-making includes the following steps:-


1. Need/ Recognition 2. Information Search 3. Evaluation of Alternatives 4. Purchase Decision 5. Post-Purchase Behavior.

Process of Consumer Decision Making

Process of Consumer Decision-Making – 5 Major Processes: Need/Problem Recognition, Information Search, Evaluation of Alternatives, Purchase Decision and a Few Others 

Process # 1. Need/Problem Recognition:

A consumer may be having a need/problem. The decision process starts when the buyer recognizes the need. This need may be triggered by the external stimuli such as show room display and commercial advertisements. The marketer needs to identify the circumstances that trigger a particular need. By gathering information from a number of consumers, the marketer can identify the most frequent stimuli that spark an interest in a product category. The marketer can then develop marketing strategies that trigger consumer market.

Process # 2. Information Search:

On the second stage, information search is carried on by the consumer to find out how the need/problem can be solved.

Consumer information sources fall in four groups:


(i) Personal source – family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances

(ii) Commercial source – Advertising, salespersons, dealers, packaging and displays

(iii) Public source – Mass media and consumer rating organisation

(iv) Experiential sources – Handling, examining and using the product.


The marketer should identify the consumer’s information sources and evaluate their relative importance. The result will help company in the preparation of effective communication for the target market.

Process # 3. Evaluation of Alternatives:

At this stage, consumers evaluate the various alternatives that can solve his problem or satisfied his needs. Cost-benefit analysis is made to decide which product and brand image will be suitable or can take care of the problem suitable and adequately the consumer often looks for certain benefits/ attitudes from product solution. The marketer often segments the market according to the benefit sought by the consumers.

Process # 4. Purchase Decision:

Consumer after evaluating various alternatives forms preference among the brands and he also forms purchase intention to buy the most preferred brands. At this stage, two factors can intervene between the purchase intention and the purchase decisions. The first factor is the attitude of others.

The extent to which another person’s attitude reduces one’s preferred alternative depends upon two things-the intensity of other person’s negative attitude towards the consumer’s preferred alternative and the consumer’s motivation to comply with other person’s wishes.


The more intense the other person’s negativism and the closer the other person are to the consumer, the more the consumer will adjust his purchase intention. A buyer’s preference for a brand will increase if someone he likes favour the same brand. Purchase intention is also influenced by unanticipated situational factors.

The consumer forms a purchase intention on the basis of such factors as expected family income, expected price, and expected product benefits. When the consumer is about to act, unanticipated situational factors may erupt to change the purchase intention.

A consumer who decides to execute a purchase intention will be making five purchase sub-decision:

(i) Brand decision


(ii) Quantity decision

(iii) Dealer decision

(iv) Timing decision and

(v) Payment method.


But the purchase of daily used products involves fewer decisions. For example, in buying toilet soap, a consumer give little thought to the dealer and payment methods.

Process # 5. Post-Purchase Behavior:

Consumer after constant use of the product leads to the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the consumer, which leads to repeat purchases, or to the rejection of the product. Marketer can take steps to minimise the amount of consumer post- purchase dissatisfaction. It is also important for the marketer to monitor how the buyer uses and dispose of the product.

If the consumer finds a new use of the product, this can be of very interesting to the marketer. If the consumer resale the product, this will reduce the new sales of the product. If they throw the product away, how it is disposed of is very important to the marketer because the product may deteriorate the environment.

Understanding consumer’s decision-making process is very important to the marketer for developing effective marketing strategies to meet the needs of the consumer or to solve the problems of the consumer.

Process of Consumer Decision Making Process – 5 Important Process: Recognition of the Problem, Search for Information, Evaluation of Alternatives, Choice and Outcome

The process in the consumer decision-making process are more applicable to high involvement purchases than low-involvement purchases. Basically, purchases fall on a continuum ranging from high to low in importance; and the amount of time and thought given to each purchase decision varies accordingly.


The decision-making process involves five processes:

1. Recognition of the Problem:

The first stage occurs when a person realizes that he wants to purchase a product. Any number of things can contribute to an awareness of a problem (or, in other words, a need for a product) such as change of income, job or life­style, peer pressure, or an advertisement.

2. Search for Information:

There are both internal and ex­ternal sources of information available to the consumer. The in­ternal source includes memory and previous experience. The external source includes environmental influences and influ­ences initiated by the marketer.

3. Evaluation of Alternatives:

When evaluating product or brand alternatives, consumers employ criteria such as price, tan­gible and intangible product attributes and benefits, and place of purchase. Generally, they limit their product evaluations to a narrow sublet of brands (the evoked set, i.e., a set of brands that are acceptable to a customer from which he makes a final choice).

4. Choice:

A choice is made after the alternatives have been evaluated. The product or brand selected may be a clear-cut choice or it may represent a compromise—one that almost meets the consumer’s criteria.

5. Outcome:


The outcome includes the decision to purchase, and post-purchase evaluation. The post-purchase evaluation is stored in the memory of the consumer, and recalled during the stage of search for information for a future purchase. The degree of satisfaction or non-satisfaction with the earlier purchase will influence the buyer to either ignore or repurchase the same brand. The buyer may also share her evaluation with others, thereby influencing their purchase decisions.

Consider the case of a bachelor faced with the problem of find­ing a life-partner. Once he recognizes the need to get married, he starts searching around for a suitable match. He does not con­sider every unmarried girl around. He sets certain criteria for the search. The attributes he considers may be education, employ­ment, height, complexion, and so on. He also has a picture of the ideal match he is looking for in terms of the above attributes. Once he gets a number of proposals from eligible girls, he starts the evaluation process.

He may attach different weightages to different attributes and rank all the proposals. Ultimately, he might get his ‘dream girl’ or may have to settle for a compromise. After he gets married, of course, there is no remedy for the post- purchase (marriage) dissonance since it is a once in a lifetime purchase! It is also possible that the bachelor cannot make a com­promise and may not select anyone. Such persons do not make trade-offs between attributes.

Consumers do not always go through the above stages in a clearly delineated or sequential manner, nor are they necessarily conscious that they are employing a decision-making process. Their willingness to search and evaluate varies with the product. Very often consumers may not be aware of even the total set of brands available in the market of the product category under con­sideration.

Moreover, they do not even consider all the brands they know of while making a choice. They have an evoked set or a consideration set of brands within which they normally switch from one to another. Take the case of toilet soaps. There are any number of toilet soaps in the market. But consumers usually choose from their evoked sets only.

The composition of the evoked set might change from time to time depending on the advertising pressure brought on the con­sumers by different companies. Hence it is important for the marketer to know the composition of the evoked set of the con­sumers he is trying to satisfy. Another related concept which is of importance to the marketer is the concept of brand loyalty and the measure of brand loyalty.

Process in the Consumer Decision Making Process – 5 Step Process: Need Recognition, Information Search, Evaluation of Alternative, Purchase and Purchase Outcome

People go through a five-step consumer decision process when making many of their purchases. The complexity of the process in each case Impends greatly on the consumer’s involvement with the product, which is the degree of personal importance or relevance accompanying the product and brand choice in a particular situation.


The more involved the person is in the decision, the more important making the right choice becomes. Involvement is highest when the product has personal or symbolic meaning to the individual, when it is related to centrally held values, when risk is involved in its purchase or use, and when it has high hedonic value ability to provide pleasure.

The greater the amount of involvement, the greater the extent of consumer problem solving. Thus, if involvement is minimal, as when consumers pick up their usual brand of toothpaste, decision making is minimal, and they engage in what is known as routine problem solving (RPS). They simply shift into automatic and buy on the basis of habit, with no consideration of alternatives.

The usual brand is out of stock and consumers have to choose from what is on the shelf, they go into the limited problem solving (LPS) mode. This approach is used when they have no firmly established preferences, must choose between a select groups of brands, and have low involvement with the product.

LPS is often influenced by ill-store displays, tree samples, and other promotional inducements to try something new. In these cases, consumers consider only a handful of alternatives and judge them on the basis of only a few attributes.

Extensive problem solving (EPS) occurs with only a minority of purchase decisions, such as shopping for a new car. It entails high involvement and complex evaluation of a number of alternatives. The stages of the consumer decision process that follow apply primarily to extensive problem solving, although they also occur in a less rigorous and briefer form with limited problem solving.


Understanding the decision-making processes of your target customers is very important when planning marketing strategy and programs because you need to make sure that your marketing efforts are aligned with the consumer’s buying behaviour. For instance, if H&R Block discovers that many people who are considering a tax-preparation service look for a second opinion from periodicals such as – Money and Forbes, it might decide to advertise heavily in those magazines.

Step # 1. Need Recognition:

The first step in the consumer decision process is recognizing that one has a need to fulfil or a problem to solve. Need recognition is noticing a discrepancy between a desired state and an actual state that is significant enough to activate the decision i process. It can be sudden (“Honey, we’re out of cat food”; “Uh oh, the garbage disposal just died”), or it can evolve subtly over time (“Well, I think it’s about time we” got a new TV”; “If I’m going to be doing a lot of travelling this year, I should probably get some new luggage”).

Need recognition may be triggered either by dissatisfaction with one’s actual stall or by changes in one’s conception of the ideal state. Among the many factors that can contribute to need recognition are availability of products, normal depletion, brand performance, family changes, situational factors, culture, social class, reference groups household characteristics, financial status, and marketing efforts.

Thus, the need to replace the family car might be triggered by its poor performance, by a change in family; size, by an increase in family income, by a desire to have a car that’s in style, by a need for better gas mileage because of increased gas prices, and so on.

As a marketer, you should base your strategy on identifying consumer needs, determining how your product can fill those needs, activating need recognition (by altering consumers desired state, altering their perception of their actual state, or emphasizing an existing discrepancy between the two), and then convincing consumers to consider the benefits your product offers.

For example, many people need eyeglasses but hate to go through multiple visits to an optometrist, first having their eyes tested, then waiting weeks for the lenses to come in, then being fitted for frames. Companies such as – Lens Crafters have had great success because they identified this need and met it by offering glasses in about an hour at shopping malls throughout the country.

Step # 2. Information Search:


Once a need has been recognized, the consumer’s next step is to seek out information to help satisfy it. This information search is both internal and external. The internal search is a check of existing knowledge about the need – What worked last time? What store did I pass the other clay that specializes in this sort of thing?

If the internal search does not produce a satisfactory solution, the consumer begins an external information search – consulting relatives, friends, or co-workers; checking independent sources such as – Consumer Reports; reading ads and sales literature; calling or visiting retailers; and examining product labels.

The extent of the information search in a particular decision-making process depends on the characteristics of the individual consumer (attitudes, knowledge and experience, motivation, involvement), market characteristics (the number of alternatives, price range, information availability), and situational characteristics (time constraints, financial pressure).

Another important factor at this stage is perceived risk, or uncertainty about the purchase and concern about the potential losses that will result from making a wrong choice. People worry about financial risks, safety risks (to themselves and to the environment), time risks, psychological and social risks (such as to self-image), and product performance risks.

Perceived risk is highest with goods or services that are expensive, conspicuous, intangible, or complex. You can reduce consumers’ perceived risk in purchasing your product by offering money-back guarantees, warranties, and other assurances and by building a reputation for quality and customer service.

Conducting an extensive information search before making a decision can cost a lot of money and take a long time. It can also result in information overload and stress (from battling crowds, driving from retailer to retailer, and feeling frustrated in search efforts).


The payoff from such an extensive search, however, is finding just the right thing at the desired price, which reduces perceived risk and increases satisfaction. And for many people, the information search is rewarding in itself. In fact, most consumers engage in an ongoing external search process, gathering information that will be useful in future decisions.

As a marketer, you need to determine the relative importance of various consumer information sources so that you can adapt your promotion and distribution methods to typical searching and shopping habits. For instance, if you were planning a promotional strategy to attract volunteers for the Peace Corps, you would choose advertising vehicles that young people are likely to encounter, such as – MTV, campus newspapers, and fast-food packaging.

Step # 3. Evaluation of Alternative:

Out of all the available brands of a product, the consumer will be aware of only a portion, and of those, he or she will consider only a few. These few that are considered are called the evoked set. From the evoked set, one brand will eventually be purchased, and the rest (the inert set) will be rejected.

Consumers ex-elude products from their evoked sets for several reasons. They might be unaware of a product. On the other hand, they might be aware of it but not accept it because the price is too high or the quality is too low. Obviously, one of your jobs as a marketer to make sure your product gets into the evoked set of your target consumers.

The attributes, features, and standards that consumers use when comparing various alternatives are known as evaluative criteria, which might include price (the consumer usually has a range in mind), convenience, brand reputation, and product characteristics.

For example, a consumer considering various brands of VCRs would use such criteria as format (VHS versus Beta), price, brand image, design/appearance, and features (from basic to sophisticate). Alternatively, a consumer choosing a physician or dentist would consider the person’s courtesy, competence, reputation, availability, and interpersonal skills.

The number of criteria considered varies with the product, as does the importance of each criterion. Furthermore, consumers focus on different criteria, depending on their motives, personality, and life-style. Criteria can even vary from situation to situation. For instance, consumers have one set of requirements for a snack food when they’re at the movies and another set when they’re having company at home.

When a particular product is difficult to judge, people usually rely on price, store image, and brand image as indications of quality. When it comes to products such as – cosmetics, for example, consumers tend to equate a higher price with higher quality. But for products such as – cold remedies they rely on established brand names to ensure safety and quality.

Another indicator used with certain products is country of origin-consumers generally expect high quality from German cars, Japanese electronics, Belgian chocolates, and so on.

You need to determine which criteria are of greatest importance to people in your target audience and emphasise those criteria in your advertising. For example, there is not much point in stressing that a brand of catsup is lower in calories, than competing brands when consumers’ main criterion is price or taste; most people use such small servings of catsup that the calorie difference would be insignificant.

Step # 4. Purchase:

The consumer may choose a particular brand first and then a place to buy it (retail outlet, catalogue, phone order), may choose the place first and then the brand, or may choose both simultaneously (such as – when seeing a shirt in a store window). Choice of a retail outlet depends on the store’s location, assortment, prices, personnel, services, ambiance, clientele, and advertising, as well as on the consumer’s particular shopping orientation and perceived risks.

The great majority of purchases are not planned far in advance. In fact, 66 percent of purchasing decisions are made right in the store.

These in- store purchase decisions share one or more of the following characteristics:

(i) Spontaneity – These purchases are often stimulated by in-store advertising materials or salespeople, and the consumer gets the urge to buy immediately.

(ii) Excitement – Consumers often get a thrill from impulsive buying decisions.

(iii) Compulsion – For some consumers, the excitement outweighs all other considerations.

(iv) Disregard for Consequences – Often to their eventual dismay, consumers sometimes makes impulse purchases without considering the consequences.

Regardless of the nature of the purchase, marketers can add value to their offerings in making the purchase process easier. That’s the secret behind Domino’s success – simply making it easier to buy pizza. No longer did customers have to pile the family into the car, fight traffic, and then sit in a crowded restaurant. After Domino’s came along, they could just pick up the telephone. This concept of purchase convenience applies to every business, whether you’re selling pizza or power plants.

Step # 5. Purchase Outcome:

After consumers make purchases, they frequently evaluate the choice they made. Does it live up to their expectations for performance, meeting both utilitarian and hedonic needs? If so, they will be satisfied; if not, they will be dissatisfied.

In the United States, one-third of all households have had trouble with a purchase, and roughly one-quarter of all purchases result in dissatisfaction. Dissatisfied customers are much more likely to tell others, creating negative word of mouth. Other reactions to dissatisfaction are switching brands or retailers and seeking redress (by complaining to the retailer or to a consumer agency).

As a marketer, you can increase the chances of customer satisfaction by not creating unrealistic expectations for your products, by regularly monitoring customer satisfaction, by taking complaints seriously (because poorly handled complaints create even more negative word of mouth), by ensuring quality control in production, by providing sufficient information on product use, and by offering service after the sale.

Some consumers experience post purchase dissonance (also called buyer’s remorse) after making a purchase. This is a psychological discomfort or doubt that arises from the knowledge that unchosen alternatives also had desirable characteristics.

Process in the Consumer Decision Making Process – Need Recognition, Search for Information, Alternative Evaluation, Purchase Decision and a Few Others 

1. Need Recognition:

Consumer behaviour is directed at solving problems. Existence of a problem and its perception is necessary for a consumer to look out for solutions. Products and services are marketed as solutions to consumer problems. Problem recognition or need recognition is a state when a discrepancy is felt between existing or actual state and desired state.

To put it simply, it refers to when a consumer feels the need for something. Need is recognized when the difference between the existing state and desired state is big enough to be perceived by a consumer and activates his decision-making process for finding a solution to it.

Three things are important here—discrepancy between the existing state and desired state, size of discrepancy, and activation of decision-making process. The consumer is unlikely to move into the problem solution mode unless a problem is felt or a need is recognized.

The absence of perceived discrepancy implies consumer is in a state of balance. For instance, a consumer’s motorcycle gives a fuel economy of 50 kmpl of petrol (current state) and he expects the motorcycle to give the same mileage (desired state). In this situation no discrepancy is felt and no need is recognized hence it would not activate the consumer’s decision-making process.

A perceived discrepancy between existing state (50 kmpl) and desired state (70 kmpl) is essential for need recognition to occur. However, this discrepancy may not be sufficient for need to be recognized for a new motorcycle. In this situation, marketer can activate problem recognition by influencing the importance and magnitude of discrepancy.

2. Search for Information:

The second stage in the decision-making process is search for information. Once need has been recognized, the consumer moves on the next stage of information search. For instance, suppose a person discovers bleeding gums—current state of bleeding gums being different from desired state of healthy gums—and thus a need is recognized.

The next course of action that the person is likely to take is to search for information on issues such as why gums bleed, who can cure bleeding gums, should one consult a doctor, are there any products that can provide relief, are bleeding gums a common problem, do toothpastes help, and does he recall any previous incidence of such a problem happening with any of his acquaintances. These questions suggest his quest for taking an appropriate decision to solve his gum problem. Information search is a necessary condition for decision-making.

There are various aspects related to information search behaviour, namely external search and internal search, and amount of search. Information search is an important stage in the decision-making process. In situations when a problem is solved for the first time, for example, a consumer is buying his first dishwasher, information search is necessary for two reasons.

First, the consumer requires information to form his evaluative criteria. This requires getting informed about the product category and discovering and learning what attributes or benefits to look for. Once the desired characteristics are identified, information about available brands is required in order to match their features against the desired characteristics.

Therefore, information search helps a consumer become aware of particular brands from the other available brands. Then brands in the awareness set are measured against the evaluative criteria that lead to formation of different brand sets such as evoked, inert, and inept sets.

3. Alternative Evaluation:

The choice among alternatives is a focal point in consumer decision-making process. A brand’s fate is decided at this stage. The brands in consideration or evoked set reach this stage and are subjected to evaluation. It will not be appropriate to sequentially put evaluation after information search because in many cases it is a simultaneous process that begins even before information gathering begins and goes on alongside as information is gathered, accepted, and discarded.

Alternative evaluation is a process in which considered alternatives are compared or matched against the evaluation criteria. The question then arises as to how a choice is made from brands or alternatives present in consideration set. To put it simplistically a choice involves rejection of those alternatives that do not serve the purpose well.

Consumers are guided by certain goals that could be linked with benefits and product attributes. For instance, a car consumer may be motivated by a goal of personal safety that can be connected with safety features of a car such as brakes, anti-skid mechanism, and reinforced body. Therefore, brake feature, anti­skid mechanism, and reinforced body form the evaluative criteria for this customer.

The evaluative criterion consists of those attributes, features, benefits, or dimensions that consumers looks for. In other words, the evaluative criteria are a set of standards that consumers employ to compare products and brands.

4. Purchase Decision:

Final selection of an option involves use of rules of elimination. The consumer decision processes equip a consumer to develop evaluative criteria and be knowledgeable about brands in terms of their attributes or features. The consumer now faces a challenge of picking out a brand, which is most suited to his needs, using some calculation.

A mental map of brands could be made in terms of their attributes against the evaluative criteria. Then brands could be rejected by applying some rules of elimination. Brand selection decision is guided by a principal that the consumer is interested in selecting the best option.

This is consistent with the assumption of a consumer being an information processor. Information about each of the considered alternatives is processed to arrive at a best perceived choice.

5. Post-Purchase Behaviour:

Decision-making does not end with the act of purchase. Consumers, after the purchase go through the post-purchase evaluation stage. Post-purchase evaluation involves comparison between the expectations and actual performance of the product or brand. Often consumers, who have bought a brand, experience a psychological state called cognitive dissonance.

The term cognitive dissonance implies a situation of discomfort arising out the presence of conflicting beliefs and behaviours. For instance, suppose a highly eco-sensitive person works for an environmentally irresponsible company. Here his values or beliefs are in conflict with his behaviour. Take another example of a vegetarian consumer of French fries who later discovers that the fries were laced with beef tallow.

Cognitive dissonance is a state of discomfort, where the customer experiences a tensed state of mind with conflicting thoughts, after the customer has made the purchase. Psychologically, every individual strives for peace of mind. In case of cognitive clashes, the consumer attempts to reduce this tension by either reducing or erasing the dissonant beliefs or by reducing the importance of the dissonant belief or attitude.

Therefore, it induces people to adopt strategies to eliminate the same. For instance, it is extremely important for marketers to communicate with their current customers (positive behaviour) so that they continue to think favourably about their brand (positive belief) and do not develop negative thoughts (negative beliefs).

Process of Consumer Decision Making – 5 Processes: Problem Recognition – Perceiving a Need, Information Search – Seeking Value and a Few Others 

Behind the visible act of making a purchase lies a decision process that must be investigated. The purchase decision process is the stages a buyer passes through in making choices about which products and services to buy. Actual purchasing is only one stage of the process. Not all decision processes lead to a purchase. All consumer decisions do not always include all five stages, determined by the degree of complexity.

Process # 1. Problem Recognition – Perceiving a Need:

The buying process starts when the buyer recognizes a need or problem. A need can be activated through internal or external stimuli. It also refers to perceiving a difference between a person’s ideal and actual situations big enough to trigger a decision. Marketers need to identify the circumstances that trigger a particular need.

Process # 2. Information Search – Seeking Value:

After, need recognition, the consumer tries to solve it and gathers the information about the product through different sources.

The information search stage clarifies the options open to the consumer and may involve:

i. Internal search and

ii. External search.

i. Internal Search – Internal Search refers to scanning of one’s memory to recall previous experiences with products or brands. It is often sufficient for frequently purchased products.

ii. External Search – External Search takes place when past experience or knowledge is insufficient. The risk of making a wrong purchase decision is high but the cost of gathering information is low.

There are four consumer information sources:

a. Personal Sources (family, friends, neighbours, etc.)

b. Commercial Sources (advertisements, salesmen, dealers, etc.)

c. Public Sources (mass media, consumer-rating organizations, etc.)

d. Experiential Sources (handling, examining, using the product)

Process # 3. Evaluation of Alternatives – Assessing Value:

Having collected the information, the consumers clarify and evaluate the alternatives. There is, unfortunately no simple and single evaluation process used by all consumers or even by one consumer in all buying situations. Various considerations form the part of judgment such as product attributes, importance, weights, brand image, utility function etc. The information search clarifies the problem for the consumer by –

a) Suggesting criteria to use for the purchase.

b) Yielding brand names that might meet the criteria.

c) Developing consumer value perception.

A consumer’s evaluation criteria represent both the objective attributes of a brand (such as – locate speed on a portable CD player) and the subjective factors (such as prestige). These criteria establish a consumer evoked set i.e., the group of brands that a consumer would consider acceptable from among all the brands in the product class of which he or she is aware.

Process # 4. Purchase Decision – Buying Value:

Evaluation behaviour leads the consumer to form a ranked set of preferences.

Normally, a consumer buys the article, he or she likes most but there are three more important considerations for taking the buying decisions:

a) Attitude of others such as – wife, relative and friends etc.

b) Anticipated situation factors as income, total cost of product and benefits.

c) Unanticipated situation factors as looks and manners of the salesman.

Process # 5. Post Purchase Behaviour – Value in Consumption or Use:

After buying and trying the product, the consumer will feel some level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction and level of satisfaction depends very much on the expectation and the product’s perceived performance. If the product matches up to his expectations, the consumer is satisfied; if it exceeds, he is highly delighted; and if it falls short of expectations, he is dissatisfied.

Involvement and Problem Solving Variations:

Consumers may skip or minimize one or more steps in the purchase decision process depending on –

i. The level of involvement,

ii. The personal, social and economic significance of the purchase.

Three general problem solving variations exist in the consumer purchase decision:

i. Routine Problem Solving:

a. Virtually a habit.

b. Involves little effort seeking external information and evaluating alternatives.

c. Typically used for low period, frequently purchased products.

ii. Limited Problem Solving:

a. Involves the use of moderate information seeking efforts

b. Often used when the buyer has little time or effort to spend.

iii. Extended Problem Solving:

a. Each stage of the consumer purchase decision process is used

b. Considerable time and effort on external information search and in identifying and evaluation alternatives

c. Used in high involvement purchase situations.

Involvement and Marketing Strategy:

Low and high consumer involvement has important implications for marketing strategy, which differs for products that are market leaders from their challengers.