The consumer decision-making process is a five-step procedure that a typical customer is likely to follow before, during, and after purchasing a product. The first step is needed recognition, which refers to the gap brought about by the ideal and actual state of a need. Product marketing influences need recognition (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2004). The second step is information search, where a consumer engages in knowledge-seeking through recalling past information reserved in memory or seeking outside information.
A customer will go for an outside source where more information is needed owing to lesser product experience and a high level of interest. However, it riskier to seek external information as compared to internal sources (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2004). Third, the customer will analyze alternative products and rank vital attributes to arrive at the best brand. Fourth, the customer will purchase the most appropriate product. Last, the customer will engage in the post-purchase analysis where he/she will wonder if they purchased the right product and whether it was the best value (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2004).
A consumer who purchases Toyota Prius will make such a decision after all the steps above. However, the consumer will have recognized the need to keep the environment clean and will thoroughly look for information that adequately convinces them about this product compared to alternatives. A consumer is also likely to experience post-purchase jitters and will constantly need reassurance from the manufacturer (Sahney, 2012).
There are elements that affect the above process at every step. They include cultural, psychological, social, and individual factors. When buying a hybrid car such as Toyota Prius a consumer may not understand exactly what they expect in as much as they will carefully analyze the price, gas mileage, and other core factors. It is also crucial to note that they will look at the style and social acceptance.
Hence, they will source for information to ensure that they meet these latter factors. For example, social acceptance means that they will drive without an additional passenger on carpool lanes in states such as Arizona. Toyota Prius is designed for the 21st century to need to curb global warming. In purchasing it, a consumer will feel a level of personal satisfaction in the effort to contribute towards a better environment.
Consumer’s Level of Involvement
There are two levels of involvement: high and low involvement. Products that require extensive decision-making are deemed to have high consumer involvement (Sahney, 2012). Normally, these durable and expensive products cannot be put to test through a test purchase. Toyota Prius falls in this category. Consumers that make these purchases take long to decide, critically evaluate alternatives, and have a higher chance of experiencing cognitive dissonance (Sahney, 2012).
A Toyota Prius is a relatively expensive brand with new features and designed to solve certain global problems. However, Prius is stylish, comes with high social acceptance, and other privileges. Consumers in the high involvement category will always have a critical look at the product features even after a purchase.
The products attract customer loyalty after they (customers) are satisfied (Sahney, 2012). Additionally, the customers offer suggestions on the future improvement of the product features. Since this involvement spans a long period, a consumer needs long-period warranties and constant servicing. Toyota Prius continues to record high sales globally. This can be traced directly to the enduring involvement of the consumer (Sahney, 2012).
Sahney, S. (2012). Consumer Behavior.
Schiffman, L. & Kanuk, L. (2004). Consumer Behavior. India: Prentice Hall.