Posted By Jack Davis
The super quick consumer decision making process
I mentioned earlier that these processes can be lightning fast for things that the consumer is used to or doesn’t consider to be a major issue. A good example could be if the customer is question has run out of bread then they will follow this model the same as with most other things but just a little faster.
That is not to say that there are less choices to make, on the contrary in fact. If the consumer has tried many different types of a product then they will be more knowledgeable about their locations, costs and qualities. The potential customer also has to follow the process to decide whether they will walk to the corner shop or take the car to the supermarket. This decision could be influenced by the variance in price, which store stocks their favorite brand and even the ambience of the place can put someone off going in.
But because bread is generally a fast moving consumer product most people have tried many different types and have a preference over the cost or quality of it and base a very quick but very informed decision within a matter of seconds.
The longer, more arduous consumer decision making process
When buying something which will last a long time, or something very expensive, the decision making process is dragged out for a very long time. This usually from the second step being dragged out as the consumer seeks to become extra sure that their money is being invested in the right product for them.
Lets say for example that our consumer is looking for a new TV. With modern technology and especially the digital switchover, requirements are very different to what they were in the 1950s. Consumers will look at the different specifications of the TVs, looking at colour contrast, sound quality, HD ready/Full HD, whether it has freeview built in, widescreen viewing, DVD and internet capabilities. It requires a lot of research and then a lot of time finding the right product that will fit in with the surround of the house they live in and could be influenced by products that their neighbours/friends/family have or know about.
However, it would be wrong to assume that anything expensive lasts a long time or vice versa. There are many exceptions which actually don’t require a lot of processing but can be one or the other. A bottle of fairy liquid is something that lasts a long time but isn’t expensive and requires only a quick decision process. A mobile phone is something which can be extremely expensive but by comparison only makes it a year before the consumer is looking to the next big thing but generally does invoke the need for some research.
So, while there are situations where the decision making process can be done very quickly or dragged out over months, remember that these extremes usually have to be applied to a certain situation.
The decision making bypass
To muddy the water even more, there are certain situations which require urgent attention for the consumer and therefore they skip out the research step completely with a complete disregard of the product they are using but rather focusing on fulfilling the need itself.
Although this may seem like it takes all element of choice out of the situation you may find that companies with a very strong branding actually benefits from this bypass. There are many companies which have associated their company with a product or even a phrase to the point that if the consumer is urgently looking for it, they will automatically sway towards the branded name.
For example, if the consumer found himself in a rush and was told to find some snacks they would hurry to the confectionery aisle. There, provided with the choice between Pringles and the store’s own brand equivalent, they would probably choose the well known brand Pringles. This is because under the stress of the situation the consumer has to bypass the usual analysis of the different products and simply goes for the one they are most familiar with. Pringles, having a strong marketing position, convey family and entertainment to viewers on their adverts and this association between the two comes to the fore during this stressful rush, encouraging the consumer to reach for it.