Adult Consumer Decision Making Process Adults have to make many decisions each day, decisions selecting one option over another. How adult consumers make decisions to buy have been studied by marketers to sell their products and services. Marketers have several views of consumers with different perspectives of how individuals make decisions: economic, passive, cognitive, and economic views. However, there is a decision making model that reflects all of the views.
First, we will discuss the process component of the decision making model and, secondly, we will discuss the how consumers that make these decisions. The adult consumer decision making model consist of three components: input, process, and output. The input and output components are the external influences and post decision behavior, respectively. The process component is concerned with how consumers make decisions. The process component has the influences of the psychological concepts.
The psychological field represents the internal influence (motivation, perception, learning, personality, and attitudes) that affect consumer decision making processes which are what they do or do not need, desires, awareness of product choices, information gathering, and evaluation of alternatives (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2007). The act of making a decision has three stages: need recognition, prepurchase search, and evaluation. Need recognition stage occurs when the consumer has a problem. The consumer purchases a product based on fixing a problem.
The prepurchase stage is based on perception of a need for the satisfaction of product and its consumption. The consumer recalls through memory enough information to make the purchase. Then sometimes, there needs to be research information from external sources to make a good decision. Then, the evaluation stage is reach where the consumer examines several options with two types of information to base the decision. One is the list of brands and the other is the criteria in which the brands will be evaluated. For a consumer to make a decision there has to be an alternate available.
Otherwise, the only alternative to buying is not to buy. Making a selection from all possibilities is a human characteristic that helps to simplify the decision making process. There are different schools of thought that depicts consumer decision making in distinctly different ways. The decision making model depicts the views of the emotional, cognitive, passive, and economic consumer views. The emotional view is that the consumer makes a purchase decision based on emotion. There is hardly any emphasis on the search for prepurchase information. The decision is based on current mood and feelings.
Lerner and Keltner (2000) proposed the Appraisal Tendency Framework (ATF) as a basis for distinguishing the effects emotions on judgment and decision making. The ATF assumes that emotion will give rise to motivational and cognitive processes. An emotion encompasses influences of subjective experiences that are normally relevant or irrelevant to choices. If a person is sad they will make a purchase to change the circumstances. In studies researcher found that consumers in a sad state will buy with no regard to price (Cryder, Lerner, Gross, and Dahl, 2006).
Emotional decisions pose as impulsive, but, there are emotional decisions made through rational, such as buying because a consumer feels that they deserve to treat themselves. The cognitive view portrays the consumer as a think problem solver. The decision is based on researched information . Cognitive processing can be linked to decision making, Conscious processes are mental acts of which we are aware and intend to, that require effort and that can be controlled Through conscious processing, identification and characterization of alternatives are followed by some type of comparison (Loewenstein, 2001).
Information is processed which leads to a formation of preference and to purchase intentions. This view of consumers is pictured as either receptive to or actively searching for products and services that fulfill their needs and enrich their lives (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2007). The passive view explains the consumer as submissive to the promotional efforts of marketers. The consumer does not look at alternatives to purchase; the decision is based on marketing techniques. This view is unrealistic because it limits the consumer to simple and single-minded (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2007).
This view of the consumer is taken by marketers that feel consumers can be manipulated like objects. Finally, there is the economic view, which describes the consumer making rational decisions by identifying the best alternative and ranking each alternative according to benefits and disadvantages. Realistically, consumers rarely have all of the information to make a perfect decision (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2007). Consumers are unwilling to do the necessary research and will settle for a satisfactory decision one that is good enough. According to an rticle in Forbes, there is research on brain scanning equipment that can correctly predict whether a subject will decide to make a purchase (Eaves, 2007). Corporations, such as Ford and General Motors have already tried using brain imaging, Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in market research complements more traditional methods of surveys and focus groups. This equipment was used in a study of 26 participants that were given $20 to spend, which they were allowed to keep if they purchased nothing. The subjects were shown a series of products and prices, while the three parts of the brain were observed.
If the price was lower than what the subject was willing to pay than there was activity in the cortex of the brain, but if the price was higher than the reverse happened, the was activity in the insula of the brain (Eaves, 2007). The orthodox economic view of decision making insist that buyers will weigh the immediate pleasure against the delayed use of the money. So, the study only helps us to understand why credit card debt is so high among consumers. Retailers take advantage of this research information by overspending through the usage of credit cards, this minimizes instant buyer pain.
The consumer views of emotional, passive, cognitive, and economic are of how consumers make decisions. Theories of consumer decision making depends on the researcher assumptions about consumers. The decision making model is designed for all of the views. All decision making consist of input (external influences that serve as sources of information), process, (influence of psychological concepts), and output (purchase and post purchase evaluation). Marketers use marketing strategies based on their view of consumers and how these consumers make their decisions to buy. References Cryder, C. Lerner, J. , Gross, J. , & Dahl, R. (2006). Self-Focus and Sadness- Splurge Effect. Houston, Texas. Eaves, E. (2007). This Is Your Brain on Shopping. Retrieved on January 8, 2009 from http://www. forbes. com/2007/01/05/neuroeconomics-buying-decision-biz_cx_ee_0105paper Lerner, J. , Keltner, D. , (2000). Cognition and Emotion, 14(4), 473-493. Loewenstien, G. (2001) The creative destruction of decision research. Journal of Consumer Research, 28(3): 499-505. Schiffman, L. & Kanuk, L. (2007). Consumer Behavior (5 ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Educational, Inc.