How do buyers decide what to purchase?

If you are into marketing you should start thinking about this kind of question. It is important to understand who your consumer is, but also how they act as they act, which process or journey is involved when someone actually ends purchasing something specific.

Here is what is called the Buyer Decision Process


This first stage or step of the journey is problem recognition. At this moment, the buyer recognizes that he/she has a need or a problem that must be fulfilled. This might be triggered by internal or external stimuli. For example, as an external stimulus, someone at your office starts talking about food… and you feel hungry. Internal stimuli might be the fact that your old running sneakers are getting too old and almost slipping your toe out.

Here come you, the marketer, to narrow that gap between the ideal state in which individuals like the situation to be and the actual state, what the situation really is. How? Creating a perception of the ideal state by recognizing a problem, generating dissatisfaction with the actual state, and then providing the solution with your product or service. Sounds easy, huh?


So, the need is recognized: your customer IS hungry or your customer IS going to buy new running sneakers. So, what next? He would probably want to analyze what is in the eating or sneakers market. Here is where Google turns into their GURU, individuals start looking for alternatives, information, recommendations, ratings, experiences, etc. They can also use their memory, what food they like to eat, what sneakers used to work for them before, what brands do they like.

Marketer, hear me now, is important for you to know that past experiences and feelings are very important here. Whatever you create that impacts a positive way to your customers, will be highly recalled. HAVE. THIS. IN. MIND.


A decisive moment for your consumer: will this product satisfy my need? Would this Whopper satisfy my hunger? Would these Nike running sneakers will make me run faster?

The keyword here: Solution.

Marketers, you need to solve their problems with your product. Now. Ratings, reviews, price, locations, and accessibility, all of these will be considered here. Decisions are made based on different aspects, most important attributes, and products comparison against cutoffs.

There are decision rules like compensatory or not compensatory ones.

Is there a weak attribute that does not compensate for all the other positives? You are out. That meal has no French fries or the sneakers have no white sole, there is no way the customer is buying it. If there is some specific attribute that the product has to have so that the consumer to actually purchase it, no matter what, if the attribute is not present the consumer will not buy. -> Non-Compensatory.

The weak attribute, which is recognized, is compensated by other attributes that are perceived as advantages. There are no French fries in the meal, but the sauce of the whopper is absolutely unique or the sole is white but the whole sneaker has a great design, and colors and it is very comfortable for running. The consumer will purchase the product despite there being that one attribute that he is not comfortable with. -> Compensatory.


Evaluation is done, so is PURCHASE TIME! Oh, hold on, is not that easy. There are still some factors that can influence this step of the journey. Should I actually need those sneakers? Should I buy them now or I wait for the next paycheck? Should I buy them online or it would be better to go to a store? And much others situational factors that can present at this moment.

Marketer, you have this, you need to retain this customer. Do not let him go right now, and if he does goes…. Follow him EVERYWHERE: Instagram, Facebook, Push Notifications, Cart abandonment Emails.


This step of the journey refers to what happens then, after the actual purchase. Once the customer buys and uses your product and the product life is over there is an evaluation about the product per se and how will this product be disposed of. Is the product still usable so that he can give it to someone else? Could he sell it? Destroy it? Recycle it? Trade it for a new one?

You as a marketer have to know what happens to your products when they are disposed of. Why? Cause this influences the customer to buy another one (of your brand if their experience is good or another brand if it’s not). Trading programs are a good incentive for your customers to dispose of the product but also buy a new one from you too.

Now the journey is finished, another one starts, and so on and so forth. Keeping the cycle moving but always in these five stages. Keep this in mind when evaluating how your customer acts, and when you need to appear with which specific message so as to be as assertive as possible in influencing your buyer’s purchase.

Hope you liked today’s “Let’s talk about…” topic, I look forward to reading your comments and positions about it! You can find more information about the Buyers Process here!

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