The purchase is only the visible part of a more complex decision process created by the consumer for each buying decision he makes. But what happens before and after this purchase? What are the factors influencing the choice of product purchased by the consumer? Engel, Blackwell and Kollat have developed in 1968 a model of consumer buying decision process in five steps: Problem/need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives to meet this need, purchase decision and post-purchase behavior. I. Need recognition / Problem recognition: The need recognition is the first and most important step in the buying process. If there is no need, there is no purchase. This recognition happens when there is a lag between the consumer’s actual situation and the ideal and desired one.However, not all the needs end up as a buying behavior. It requires that the lag between the two situations is quite important. But the “way” (product price, ease of acquisition, etc.) to obtain this ideal situation has to be perceived as “acceptable” by the consumer based on the level of importance he attributes to the need. For example, you have a pool and you would like someone to take care of regularly cleaning it instead of you (ideal situation) because it annoys you to do it yourself (actual situation). But you don’t judge the “way” to reach this ideal situation (pay KES 14000/ month for a specialized company) as “acceptable” because its price to obtain it seems too high. Especially compared to the relatively low level of importance you attach to it. So you won’t have a purchase behavior in this situation. On the other hand, the ability to be able to go to your work by car in 20 minutes every morning (ideal situation) rather than lose three hours in transit because you do not have a car and you live in the countryside (actual situation) is something that means a lot to you. So you will have a buying behavior to purchase a car. Even if the price is important. In addition to a need resulting from a new element, the gap between the actual situation and the ideal situation may be due to three cases. The current situation has not changed, but the ideal situation has (a neighbor told you about the possibility –that you did not know –to clean
the pool by a specialized company). Or, the ideal situation is still the same but it’s the actual situation has changed (you’re tired of cleaning your pool by yourself). Or finally, the two situations have changed. The recognition of a need by a consumer can be caused in different ways. Different classifications are used: • Internal stimuli (physiological need felt by the individual as hunger or thirst) which opposes theexternal stimuli such as exposure to an advertisement, the sight of a pretty dress in a shop window or the mouth-watering smell of a french “pain au chocolat” when passing by a bakery.
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- Spring '14