The rational decision making process primarily involves:
- Problem/need recognition: Consumer recognizes a problem or need. The need is triggered by internal stimuli when one of the person’s normal needs rises to a level high enough to become a drive. Hunger-Food. A need can also be triggered by external stimuli (such as advertisement) i.e., see a commercial for a new pair of shoes, stimulates your recognition that you need a new pair of shoes.
- Information search: In this stage the consumer is aroused to search for more information; the consumer may simply have heightened attention or may go into active information search. This is usually done on higher ticket purchases such as cars, pianos, computers, etc.
- Evaluation of alternatives: The consumer uses information to evaluate alternative brand choices. Different process for every consumer, involves weighing product attributes and their ability to deliver benefits.
- Purchase process/decision: Choose buying alternatives, includes product, package, store, method of purchase, etc
- Post purchase behavior: Outcome; Satisfaction or Dissatisfaction. Cognitive Dissonance, have you made the right decision. This is the buyer’s doubts shortly after a purchase about whether it was the right decision. This can be reduced by warranties, after sales communication, etc.
Consumers evaluate the product on the basis of their usage and this evaluation results either in consumer satisfaction or dissatisfaction.