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 marketing professionals know that bombard customers with too many options will overwhelm them and they will ultimately purchase nothing. As a result, the option heuristics will be applied to shorten the solving problem process by finding practical ways of dealing with them or learning from past experience. In other words, it provides consumers shortcuts in the decision-making process.
Consumers may also construct a set of evaluative standards to cut off the options that do not meet their standards. Brands that meet the initial standards of consumers before they move to the evaluation stage will show up in their 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. Brands 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, it starts with the need recognition and ends with the product purchase. 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 M is cheaper than N, but M is located in a shopping mall while N is store located on way to work, and they are too busy to go to 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, the post-purchase dissonance (buyer’s remorse) is very likely to occur. 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. Firms implement many programs to prevent consumers to experience dissonance. For relatively inexpensive items, companies may provide a money back warranty or they may inspire their salesman to compliment their customers for their choices. For bigger items, companies try to appear as much helpful as possible, e.g.
, quality guaranteed program, guideline booklets, a toll-free hotline to call when you encounter problems or a forum with several admins who are ready to answer all of customer’s questions. Companies often attempt to lower customer’s expectations on the purpose to satisfy them more easily. Service firms such as restaurants often practice this.
Consumers are more satisfied if the hostess tells them that their table will be ready in 30 minutes, but they are seat in 15 minutes. Likewise, if the waitress tells consumers that their meal will be finished in 20 minutes, yet consumers have to wait for 10 minutes, they will be very likely satisfied.