Understanding the Consumer Buying Process


Around 85% of Millennial shoppers trust anonymous reviews over traditional advertising. As competition grows and research tools become easier to use, consumers are becoming more well-informed.

So, how do businesses expect what consumers want? The answer involves mastering the consumer buying process strategy. If you want to learn about consumer buying behavior, this guide will answer all your questions.

What Is the Consumer Buying Process?

The consumer buying process is a series of stages that describe what an average customer goes through when buying a product. Understanding these stages is essential when crafting a marketing and business development strategy.

The consumer buying process involves five essential stages. These stages highlight the steps every consumer goes through when buying a product.

  1. Problem Identification
  2. Product Research
  3. Alternative Evaluation
  4. Product Purchase
  5. Purchase Evaluation

A Deeper Look at the Consumer Buying Process Stages

Each of the five stages of the buying process is important in maintaining a good customer relationship. Let’s take a deeper look at these stages to understand the importance of each step.

Problem Identification

When a consumer begins their search for a product, the reason is typically related to a problem they need to solve. For example, someone newly interested in baking can’t get started without measuring utensils. Once this realization hits, the first stage begins.

Product Research

Once a potential customer realizes their problem, product research begins. In this phase, consumers figure out what they need to buy to solve their problem. In some cases, people are drawn to products by marketing, personal research, and word-of-mouth. For businesses, this stage is the perfect set up for creating demand.

Alternative Evaluation

After a consumer understands the type of product they need, alternative evaluation takes place. This involves comparing similar products from different brands. Customer reviews, pricing, and feature comparison are tactics often used by potential customers.

This is a sensitive stage for businesses. This is because it involves staying ahead of the competition, especially in saturated markets. To stand out, businesses should consider adding desirable features to their products.

Product Purchase

At the product purchase stage, the consumer has decided to buy a specific product. But there are factors that may cause consumers to lose interest, like a last-minute negative review or unexpected costs.

To avoid losing consumers at this stage, businesses should test cart abandonment rates and negative reviews.

Purchase Evaluation

Purchase evaluation occurs after the consumer buys a product. At this stage, the customer decides whether they like or dislike the product.

This stage is just as important as the initial stages. Dissatisfaction tends to spread quickly, especially on social media. Businesses should focus on building trust with customers by delivering transparency and empathy.

Mastering What Consumers Want

Knowing the consumer buying process strategy is the key to mastering their buying behavior. Paying close attention to these five important stages will lead to an increase of satisfied returning customers.

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