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 of them together. The fact that smart salesmen and marketing experts know that offering customers too many options will overwhelm them and they will ultimately purchase nothing. As a result, the option heuristics which is a method of solving problems by finding practical ways of dealing with them or learning from past experience will be applied. Because this method provides buyers shortcuts in the decision-making process. They may also construct a set of evaluative standards to cut off the options that do not meet their standards. The brands whose products reach the initial standards before the evaluation will show up in buyers’ mind.
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 important than others that they are willing to sacrifice. However, they must determine the most important characteristics that meet their criteria.
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. Nevertheless, Osprey – a backpack manufacturer may constantly remind their customers about their key selling features via various channels such as magazine advertisement, packaging information.
Stage 4. Product Choice and Purchase
Decision-making process for low-involvement products are relatively very short, consumers may start the process by recognizing the need and end the process by purchasing the product. 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 heavily weigh the availability of the product and the payment method, and consider them as evaluative criteria. The backpack at store A is cheaper than B, but A is located in a shopping mall while B is store located on way to work, and they are too busy to go the mall. Several more relevant decisions are made at this stage if they are big-ticket items. For instance, if a consumer is buying an iPhone X, she may go to an authorized Apple Store with the guaranteed warranty service from Apple rather than a local electrical device store which offers a lower price.
Stage 5. Post-purchase Use and Evaluation
At this stage, consumers will know if the product they purchased is everything it was supposed to be. If it is, they satisfy with what they bought and are likely to create advocacy for the brand. If it is not, they may probably suffer the post-purchase dissonance. It may be called buyer’s remorse. Obviously, dissonance happens if a product or service does not perform exactly like what they are advertised. Fancy ads will make consumers expectations go beyond what the product can really offers. Dissonance often occurs with relatively expensive products that are only purchased on occasion.
Consumers who experience dissonance often regret that they should have spent more time searching for more independent information, or waited to get a better bargain, 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 B2C 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 terrify the product was.