Researching Consumer Purchases: Process & Example

Instructor: LeRon Haire
In this lesson, we will discuss the activities that encompass researching consumer purchases. We will also explore an example of what happens during each stage of the shopping process.

The Shopping Process

Have you ever made a purchase that you regretted as soon as you got home? Have you ever made an impulse purchase, which is a purchase that has been made at the spur of the moment and was unintended? Before a purchase, have you ever evaluated the alternatives?

Yes, even shopping has a process.

To help with avoiding these issues and many other shopping-related issues, consumers may partake in research-based shopping, which can be defined as a set of related activities that revolve around making the experience of shopping more successful for the consumer. Let's take a close look at some of these related activities including pre-shopping activities, evaluating alternatives, selection and purchase, and post-purchase activities.

Pre-shopping Activities

Let's assume that you are in the market to purchase a brand new car. What is your first step? Do you go to the dealership the next day and make a purchase? If you answered yes, then you definitely need to stay tuned. Before making your car purchase, you need to know what type of car you would like along with things such as your desired payment range, car color, and durability, to name a few.

Pre-shopping activities are designed to help the consumer make the most informed purchase decision by researching vital information related to the purchase. Although somewhat similar to research-based activities, pre-shopping activities are much more detailed and geared towards a specific purchase instead of a general industry. Pre-shopping activities allow you to perform your due diligence by determining what you desire so you can make the best purchase decision.

It can be tough to weigh alternative purchase decisions.

Evaluating Alternatives

After performing your pre-shopping activities, you must now decide on the exact type of car to buy. Should you purchase a reliable Honda? How about a spacious SUV? Or what about a compact car such as a Mini? You have just entered the important next stage of the consumer purchase process: evaluating alternatives.

Let's say that you decided on a Lexus that is out of your price range. Without having a list of alternative purchase options, you would be resigned to the fact that you can't get the Lexus and may not even want to search for a different car. Evaluating alternatives is part of a 'don't put all of your eggs into one basket' shopping strategy that allows you to compare different options.

Selection and Purchase

Now on to the most important step in the process, which is the actual selection and purchase of your brand new vehicle. In this step, you use the information you've acquired through the previous steps to make the most informed decision you can. The purchase should make you happy because you not only have a brand-new car, you got it the right way by acknowledging each stage of the consumer purchasing process.

Without completing your pre-shopping activities and the evaluation of alternatives, you may have been misguided or tricked into making a purchase that was least beneficial for you. The selection and purchase stage is only a success if the first two stages have been thoroughly completed.

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