Stages of Being a Consumer

Write Label
6 min readSep 9, 2022

by Zenobia Harris

As consumers, many of our daily purchases have become habits. We pick up milk in the grocery store without giving much thought to the brand. Milk is just a grocery staple that we need. On the other hand, when you’re deciding where to buy a car, that requires more research. Despite these drastic differences, every purchase has some version of the same buying process. Let’s go over the six stages of the consumer buying process and see how your work as Write Label writers helps move consumers down the sales funnel.

What is the consumer buying process, and what does it have to do with me?

The consumer buying process is the consumer’s steps towards making a purchase. There are six steps taken before, during, and even after making a purchase. Those steps involve: recognizing the problem, searching for information, evaluating the alternatives, the purchase decision, the purchase, and the post-purchase evaluation. Where do you come into this process as a Write Label writer? Almost everywhere!

Let’s take a quick look at a few famous advertisements, how they impacted the consumer buying process, and where you fit into the equation.

1. Problem recognition

This is the step where consumers realize that they need/want a product or service. The problem recognition could be a basic need, like needing a new notebook for class, or a want, like wanting that expensive pair of shoes everyone at school wears.

Where you come in

Step one is the perfect time for a business to create a problem that the product solves for the consumer. As a part of the marketing strategy, your content will explain why the consumer needs a particular product or service and how that product or service will improve their life. Does the consumer truly need a gallon of Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe? Probably not, but you have to convince them that their life would be better with it, anyway.

2. The search for information

Now that the consumer realizes they have a problem, they’ll begin searching for a solution. They may even start to reach out to friends and family for their opinions. Has Aunt Janice tried Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe? Did she like it? That sort of thing.

Where you come in

Step two is the perfect time to solidify the business’s reputation. Incorporating testimonials can make that possible. Influencer/celebrity sponsorships and ad partnerships can also give the company the visibility and credibility they need to move to the next stage of the buying process. You’ll explain what the product or service offers and present it as a viable option for the consumers purchasing needs. If Beyonce likes Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe, maybe the consumer will too.

3. Evaluating the alternatives

There are many businesses out there that offer the same services and products. The consumer has to figure out which company is worth their time and money and whose product/service can improve their life the most. The consumer may consider several other factors when evaluating alternatives based on the industry (healthcare, retail, etc.). The main point is that the business has to communicate that they’re the experts — the only people who can get the job done right.

Where you come in

As writers, you have to figure out what makes a client’s business better or more unique than the rest and sell that idea to consumers. Write Label clients may provide the answer to this question in the project brief. Other times, you may have to do a tiny bit of digging to find a unique angle to use when creating your scripts or content. Creativity is essential because even if the client has a ton of competition, an ad that is memorable or elicits emotion is more likely to sway potential buyers to purchase. Think about how saturated the ice cream market is. How can Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe set itself apart from the rest? Is unicorn glitter the secret ingredient that makes Bob’s triple fudge ice cream taste so good? Consumers need to know!

4. Purchase decision

During this stage, the consumer must decide whether they will go through with the purchase or not. That’s why you have to reassure the consumer that this business is the right one for them.

Where you come in

You need to reiterate the problem created in step one, provide as much detail about the product/service as possible, and assure the consumer that this product/service is time and money well-spent. Let’s say you’re writing about Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe. Your job is to provide as much detail about the product and business as possible in an engaging way. It might be worth mentioning that Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe offers a satisfaction guarantee to seal the deal. It provides the consumer with a sense of security, so they feel like Bob is genuinely invested in delivering high-quality ice cream.

5. The purchase

The consumer is committed to buying a product/service from a particular company. They’ve decided that Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe is the only one for them and are ready to give Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe all their hard-earned money. The success or failure of this stage will come down to how easy it will be for the consumer to follow through with their purchase. Can you order Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe online and pick it up in-store? That’s mostly a problem that Bob has to worry about.

Where you come in

What if Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe got a less-than-stellar Google review about the amount of sugar in his triple fudge ice cream? *Gasps.* Use your creative chops to reframe the situation. Highlight why the consumer should want Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe. Everyone knows that ice cream isn’t healthy. But, Bob’s triple fudge ice cream is creamy, it’s chocolatey, and it’s made with unicorn glitter. So not only does it taste good; it’s magical.

6. The post-purchase evaluation

The post-purchase evaluation is when the consumer decides if steps 1–5 were worth it. Whether the product/service left a good, memorable impression or not will determine how likely they are to purchase from a business in the future. Was Bob’s triple fudge ice cream worth it in the end?

Where you come in

Yeah, you have a job to do at this stage, too! As a consumer yourself, chances are you’ve received a customer survey after completing a purchase. Businesses use surveys and other post-purchase evaluations to see what was working or not working and incorporate good reviews in future advertisements. When you’re writing an ad highlighting Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe’s success, you may be able to use testimonials, information on how long Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe has been around, etc. to convey to current and future customers that Bob’s Ice Cream Shoppe is a dependable brand that leaves customers satisfied.

Do you remember the 1984 Wendy’s ad “Where’s the beef?” or the famous Budweiser “Wazzup” ad campaign from 1999 to 2002? The popularity of the Where’s the Beef ad led to a 31% increase in sales worldwide for Wendy’s, and sales grew for Anheuser-Busch by 2.4 million barrels. That’s a lot of beer and a lot of beef! Would these businesses have seen such a sharp increase in sales without the help of an incredible creative team? Maybe not. YOU are an integral part of Write Label’s creative team and have the power to impact the consumer buying process. Our clients depend on your work to help increase brand awareness and boost sales, and we rely on you to keep the Write Label engine running!

For more information, take a look at these other helpful articles!

https://www.nytimes.com/1987/08/12/obituaries/clara-peller-the-actress-in-where-s-the-beef-tv-ad.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/16/business/the-media-business-advertising-whassup-america-s-asking.html

https://www.business2community.com/consumer-marketing/six-stages-consumer-buying-process-market-0811565

https://www.infront.com/blog/how-advertising-affects-consumer-behavior/

https://tallyfy.com/buying-process/
https://www.nbwa.org/resources/industry-fast-facts

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