TT-dm-P: Trust The Decision Making Process

By: Kiersten Millman

Last week in my Consumer Behavior class we learned about Decision Making and the three categories within the process. The first category being cognitive decision making which includes deliberately thinking about a product, weighing out the positives and negatives. The second category is habitual decision making which requires not much thought and mostly results in routine purchases. The third category is named collective decision making and has to do with purchases that are made due to the emotions that are felt from the consumer. The chapter then goes on to talk about how families make purchasing decisions as a whole to fit everyone’s needs. Regardless of the product or situation many individuals go through the decision-making process multiple times a day and may not even notice.   

In class this week we spoke about each category in the decision-making process and which products would fit into each bucket. Our professor presented different examples and had the class identify which product went with the correct category. One product was a Starbucks coffee in which we identified was a habitual product. This is because many people stop for coffee as part of their routine and do not put any thought into the product, it is just a habit. Another product was a wedding ring and after a deliberation we identified this product as a cognitive product. This is because any consumer in the market for purchasing a wedding ring will go through all steps of the decision-making process because it is not an everyday purchase 

While researching decision making even further, I came across a PowerPoint that was straight from our textbook. The 50 slide PowerPoint consists of important information and summarizes the entire Decision-Making chapter. This was helpful to me because I was able to use this as a reference to highlight key topics in which I went back into the textbook and explored the information even deeper. 

I discovered an interesting article within my research from that discussed digital advice within the 5 stages of decision-making. The article, written by Chris Wallace, lays out all the steps and how their company uses technology to leverage consumer purchases. The first step being problem recognition, consumers first start the process when they realize they have a need. Guided Selling explains that they use engaging content such as online quizzes that result in advice and products that they may have not known they needed before the quiz. In the second stage which is information search, the consumer will start to do research on the product to learn more about it. Guided Selling reduces the problem by educating the consumer in using interactive product advisors on their website. With the third step being alternative evaluation, the consumer will compare different brands and the specifications of the product they are interested in. Guided Selling helps consumers in this stage by laying out each products attribute, making it easy to identify which product best suits their needs. The fourth step is the purchase decision, and this is where the consumer decides which sale to make. However, the article explains that ¾ of digital shopping carts go abandoned which can be caused by many different reasons. Guided Selling does their best to ensure that this does not happen as they make the consumer feel confident on their purchase and makes the payment as effortless as possible. The final step has to do with post purchase behavior, essentially identifying if the consumer was happy and if they return for future purchases. Guided Selling’s role in this stage is to ensure that their five steps are helpful to consumers and research has proven that 70% of consumers have reported Guided Selling to be highly valuable and important. 

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In conclusion, there is much information and thought that is implemented in the decision-making process. Many consumers have different thought processes depending on the product but overall can be manipulated by surrounding noises. Furthermore, there are plenty of characteristics that are included in purchase decisions such as price, variation of brands, location, etc. that can persuade the purchase decision. We are all consumers, who in the end make our own purchase decisions.. But are we really? 

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