The buyer’s decision-making process is a way to better understand the way consumers go about when purchasing a product or service. It gives marketers a great insight into the world of buyers and the factors that affect their final decision, such as emotions, environment, and attribute-based decisions. It is a complex process in which internal and external factors have an impact on the buying decisions of the consumer. There are five stages through which a consumer passes, before coming to a decision on the final product or service to be purchased. These stages are: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase process and post-purchase process. Problem recognition is the first stage of the buyer’s decision-making process. Problem recognition involves recognising the existence of discrepancy between the consumer’s desired state (what the consumer would like) and the actual state (what the consumer perceives as already existing). Both the desired state and the actual state are influenced by the consumer’s lifestyle and current situation (Hawkins, 2004). A few examples to illustrate the argument stated above would be Chris may recognize that his computer isn’t performing as well as it should or his Teac LCD TV quit working. All these are problems in which the actual state and the desired state are different. Hawkins, 2004 claims that when the desired state is perceived as being greater than the actual state then a problem exists. This can be triggered by stimuli, internal and external ones. Internal stimuli are the forces which arise from within. In Chris’s situation it might be feeling bored and angry not being able to watch his favourite TV shows. External stimuli are the outside factors that influence him to do or buy something. Things such as: advertisements on TV, or passing by a TV retail store such as: Harvey Norma, JB HI FI can influence Chris. When this occurs, Chris will try to find a solution to the problem and as a...
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