Fresh graduates often think about
traveling to somewhere or take a gap year to do volunteer work before accepting
a job offer after graduation. A graduate realizes that he needs a new backpack
that is bigger and have durable base allowing him to live outside for a month. He
may think about a new car or a scooter to commute when he come back from the
journey. Recognizing a need simply happens when consumers are in need of
something such as a cup of coffee in the morning to stay alert, a durable backpack
to travel and a vehicle for communication. Beyond needs recognized, there are
other needs people will not know until other people remind them. Have you ever
thought of the reason why Pepsi, Powerade, and other beverage manufacturers
place the machines in gymnasiums so people can see them during an exhausting exercise?
Marketers purposely show customers how their products and service add value and
fulfill their needs and wants.
Stage 2. Search for Information
For cheap products such as milk and
bread, consumers may simply buy them immediately when they notice the need.
Nevertheless, if a consumer is upgrading to a better and more expensive car or
buy it for the first time, he may put more effort into the evaluation process.
Perhaps he has experience driving cars, and he knows what he likes and dislikes
about certain features or functions. Or there is a specific high-end brand that
he always wants to possess one. This is the great position that every brand
strives for in which the pre-purchase research stage is restrained, and
consumers simply purchase the brand.
If buyers do not acquire enough
information to make the final decision, they may go online to gather more
information from biased sources, such as advertisements, brochures, company
Websites, and salesman. And/or they will get further independent information
from other channels, such as comments, reviews of other consumers, product
ratings, buying tips, and price information or ask opinions/experience of
people in their social circle.
Stage 3. Product Evaluation
Apparently, there are hundreds of
brands for backpacks and cars available on the market. It is impossible to
check and compare all available choices. The fact that marketing professionals
know that bombard customers with too many options will overwhelm them and they
will ultimately purchase nothing. As a result, the option heuristics will be applied to shorten
the solving problem process by
finding practical ways of dealing with them or learning from past experience.
In other words, it provides consumers shortcuts in the decision-making process.
Consumers may also construct a set of evaluative standards to cut off the
options that do not meet their standards. Brands that meet the initial
standards of consumers before they move to the evaluation stage will show up in
The set of evaluative standards are specific
things that are vital to buyers e.g., such as the price, size, functions, and
color. Some attributes are more impactful than others that they are willing to give
up. However, they must determine the most important characteristics that meet their
Marketing professionals attempt to
persuade their customers the evaluative standards considered present the
outstanding aspects of their products. For instance, the color and functions of
the backpack is more important than its size and durability. Brands may
constantly remind their customers about their key selling features through
marketing communication mix.
Stage 4. Product Choice and
Low-involved decisions are made relatively
very quick, it starts with the need recognition and ends with the product
purchase. For high-involvement decisions, consumers must go through the
evaluation stage in which different alternatives are evaluated and compared
against each other. Some consumers may put more weigh on the product availability
and the payment method, and use them to evaluate the products. The shirt at store
M is cheaper than N, but M is located in a shopping mall while N is store
located on way to work, and they are too busy to go to the mall. This stage
will involve more decisions if they are high-involved goods. For instance, if a
consumer is buying an iPhone X, she may go to an official Apple Store with the
guaranteed warranty service from Apple rather than a local unauthorized
electrical device store which offers a lower price.
Stage 5. Post-purchase Use and
At this stage, consumers will know if
the product they purchased is what it was supposed to be. If it is, they
satisfy with what they bought and are likely to generate advocacy for the
brand. If it is not, the post-purchase dissonance (buyer’s remorse) is very
likely to occur. Obviously, dissonance happens if a product or service does not
perform exactly like what they are advertised. Attractive advertisements will push
consumer’s expectations go beyond what the product can really offers.
Dissonance often occurs with relatively expensive products that are only
purchased on occasion.
Consumers who suffer dissonance often wish
that they should have spent more time searching for more independent
information, or waited to get a better deal, spend that money on something else
useful. When this occurs, this is the problem for the sellers and may create
adverse effect for the brand. Consumers may end the relationship with the brand
by stopping buying anything from that brand again. Even worse, consumers may
create bad word-of-mouth by telling everyone how terrible the product was.
Firms launch many programs to avoid
buyer’s remorse. For relatively inexpensive items, companies may provide a
money back warranty, or they may inspire their salesman to compliment their
customers for their choices. For bigger items, companies try to appear as much
helpful as possible, e.g., quality guaranteed program, guideline booklets, a
toll-free hotline to call when you encounter problems or a forum with several
admins who are ready to answer all of customer’s questions.
Companies facilitate themselves in
satisfying customers by purposely lowering customer’s expectations. Service
firms such as restaurants often apply this technique. Consumers are more
satisfied if they are told that their table will be ready in 45 minutes, but
they are seat in 30 minutes. Likewise, if the waitress tells consumers that their
meal will be finished in 20 minutes, yet consumers have to wait for 10 minutes,
they will perceive that the service is quick and satisfied with it.
Stage 6. Disposal of the Product
Previously, nobody paid attention to
the disposing process of products, so long as people purchased them. Nowadays,
it is changed. The way products are disposed has become extremely vital to
people and the community. Products which are hard to self-destruct such as
electrical devices (computers and batteries) have been concerned most because
their chemicals damage the ground. Consumers and firms have become aware of
this problematic situation. Take Crystal Light, it offers consumers the
concentrated form that consumers manually add water to make it drinkable. Hence,
consumers no longer need to purchase and discard of the plastic bottle. Windex
is another example of this practice. Consumers can buy the concentrate and add
water whenever they are run out of window cleaner. Or in some supermarket such
as some supermarkets that now sell self-destruct shopping bags rather than using
and dispose of plastic bags.
Companies with sales
revenue depends on the durability of their products. In other words, if their
products are too good, consumers will rarely replace them with newer versions.
Therefore, these companies are more concerned about planned obsolescence
instead of conservation. Planned obsolescence is a policy of manufacturing
consumer goods that quickly become obsolete and need to be replaced. This can
be achieved by constant updates in design, termination of the supply of spare
parts, and/or the use of non-durable materials. This can be seen as a strategic
goal of the company to boost sales by encouraging consumers to upgrade their
products. Constant innovation in design or functions, and release of new items
keep themselves attractive in the eyes of consumers, and remind the marketplace
about their existence. Take Google, the release of Google Pixel smartphone is
the dead announcement for Google Nexus generation. The approximate length of support or the end-of-life
(EOL) dates were set for all of Nexus devices. Google released new update of
Android e.g., version 7.0 Nougat and version 8.0 Oreo while Nexus devices are
allowed to update to version 6.0 Marshmallow, this will lead to the
incompatibility with the older software versions. Another obvious example of
planned obsolescence is Microsoft Office. Formatting functions in MS 2010 are
different from that of MS forced to upgrade the present software version