Everyone is doing shopping and buying everyday, maybe groceries, maybe clothes or house equipments, but who has ever thought about how do we make the purchase decision? How do we decide what brand is good and the place we shop is cheaper than others? What factors would affect our decision? What factors motivate us to seek out a purchase? What sources of information are used in evaluating competing products?

The basic consumer purchase decision processes involved in purchase decisions are: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision and postpurchase behaviour. An underlying need triggers a search for need satisfying solutions. When possible solutions have been identified, these are evaluated according to some criteria. The final purchase decision is seen as a product of the interaction between the final decision-maker and a range of influencers. Finally, after purchase and consumption, the consumer develops feelings about their purchase which influences future purchase decisions. In reality, purchase decision processes can be complex iterative processes involving large numbers of influencers and a variety of decision criteria.

Consumer Purchase Decision Processes

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Two weeks ago, I bought an alarm in the airplane while on the way of coming back to New Zealand. The digital alarm is very simple and doesn’t have a fancy style, but it took me long time to look for it.

David is one of my friends who is an European, he was my flatmate for two years, one day I went to his room and found he has a very nice digital alarm which I’ve never seen in any shops. The alarm has other functions which others don’t, like temperature display (in Celsius and Fahrenheit), nap countdown timer, and it is very compact, can fold up and put it in the pocket, it is an excellent product for travelers. I was in love with this lovely product immediately and wanted to buy a same one. But David told me that he has not seen this product in New Zealand’s shops yet, because he bought that alarm at the Heathrow Airport. I was disappointed, because I thought if I had this alarm, it would make my life more punctual and convenient.

I didn’t give up looking for this digital alarm, I started to surf the Internet to find where are the shops’ location and find out if I could purchase it from Internet, but no. The brand of the digital alarm doesn’t even have a website. Then, I asked my friends who are going to travel overseas to search this product for me at the airports, and I also tried second-hand newspaper to find if there’s company imports it to New Zealand, and I did find one but the functions it has was not what I wanted.

I was on the off chance of finding this product in Wellington’s shops, the shopkeepers showed me a lot of different models and variety of digital alarms they have, some alarms have exact functions as the one David has, but not the same brand, I almost decided to buy another alarm which I think can provide the same function, instead of finding the one I really wanted, if the other alarm has the same functions, why shouldn’t I buy it?

And the price is a bit cheaper if I bought the other brand which made in China or Made in Vietnam which doesn’t provide warranty service, shopkeeper even said they could give me discount. The one they showed me was cute and more suitable for girls, because its colour is silver-pink and is using AAA battery, unlike my friend’s one, has to use A76 battery which is more expensive and not easy to buy from any supermarkets. But I’ve never heard the brand, therefore I gave up the thought of buying it.

There is one year after, I almost forgot about looking for the alarm, until two weeks ago, I was in the airplane from Taipei to Auckland, the flight was 11 hours, and was trying to find anything interesting to me, so I picked up the in-flight shopping catalogue and was pretty shocked.

In the catalogue, the alarm which I am looking for is right there, the alarm looks a bit different to my friend’s, but it has more functions like “light on demand” and the battery is included, it comes with a little red box, if I don’t use it then I can give it to someone or my family as a gift. There’s another digital alarm showed in the catalogue, but the size is too big, although it has calculator function, but I didn’t ever looking at it again and didn’t think about buying it.

I was very excited and thought if I don’t buy it now, I will not have more chances to buy it from anywhere else, and it is duty-free, so it will not be too expensive compares to others I saw in the shop. I couldn’t wait ’til the flight attendants started to sell the duty-free. I read it and read it again and look at the picture of alarm, couldn’t believe I will get the alarm finally.

Because it was my first time shopping duty-free in the airplane, so I didn’t know which way I should pay for the product. I didn’t have enough cash with me, the only way to buy is using credit card, I don’t have experience in using credit card in air, and therefore my worry has risen. I don’t know how safe the process is and how long does it take to process. When the flight attendant came with the trolley, I stopped them and told them my choice; the stewardess then pick up the catalogue and try to find the right price for the alarm. She asked me again to make sure if that is the product I want, and told me the correct price.

She was friendly and made me feel relaxed, I think it is because she spoke my language and didn’t have attitude even she was very tired of servicing for long hours. If the stewardess were others, maybe I would change my mind that not to buy it, because their faces were impatient and tired, I couldn’t see the smile on them, and that would affect my mood to shop from them.

After I got the alarm, I didn’t open it straight away, because the plastic bag would make lots of noise and wake up other passengers’ sleep. I waited until I arrived Wellington, settled down in my flat. I was like a child who opens the Christmas gift on Christmas Day, the alarm was wrapped very well and there is a manual in fifteen languages inside the box. The style of alarm is a bit different to my friend’s, but it is not out of my expectation. I worked on the functions and they perform very well, I now use it to wake me up every morning, even in the afternoon when I take a nap. This is really a good buy for me, I also have told my several friends about this alarm, now they want to buy it as well.

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