Sample Essay on 5 Step Consumer Decision Making Process

5 Step Consumer Decision Making Process

The 5 step consumer decision making process refers to a systematic approach that consumers take while making all purchases. Whether making major or minor buying decisions, buyers go through a process called the consumer-decision making process. This process can be outlined in five steps as follows:

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Need recognition

Most purchases are necessitated by the desire to satisfy a need. The consumer must recognize an emotional or a functional need before they embark on the buying process. An emotional need is based on the desire for a service or product by a customer for pleasure, craving or other hedonic or emotional interests. A functional need is a need that is based on the use of a product in executing a certain function.

Information search

This step entails searching for the basic information to determine what products and providers offer the best solution to the need. Information searches entail both external and internal processes. External search involves the use of other resources like the internet and consulting other consumers. Internal search entails recalling past experiences. This is common with impulse buying where the consumer makes a quick buying decision.

Evaluation of the alternative

In this step, the consumer forms consideration sets while evaluating the available options on the basis of certain criteria. A consideration set comprises of several brands or providers that have the ability to meet the needs of the consumer. Criteria refer to elements like quality, taste, durability, price and convenience. The consumer evaluates the available options on the basis of the criteria that are essential to them while trying to get the best value of their money.


After identifying a product that gives the best value at the evaluation step, the consumer buys the product or service. In this step, the consumer gives out money for a product or service. This happens after the consumer has established that a certain solution gives the best value of their money. The consumer can purchase the product or service on the basis of their past experience of making a similar decision or influence of advertising of the product or service.

Post-Purchase Evaluation

This is the final step in the consumer decision making process. In this step, the consumer evaluates their decision on the basis of their previous expectations. If the experience or the implementation after buying the product or service goes beyond the expectations, the consumer feels that they got the best value of their money.

Thus, the consumer might purchase the same product or service again. However, if the product or service does not meet the expectations, the consumer will most likely not buy the product again. The consumer can even share information about their bad experience after using the product or service with other consumers.

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Originally posted 2015-09-10 07:52:52.

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