When an individual buys a product, there is a process which occurs for making their decision. This is the consumer decision-making process, which includes: recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase, and post purchase behavior. Now not all of the steps are exactly necessary or even taken. For example, a person may not even purchase the item or some consumers may not need to do the information search.
Starbucks' consumers rely mainly on the recognition step and even the information search if it is a new consumer. When a person is thirsty and needs their daily fix of coffee, they are responding to their stimuli. An individual can be walking by one of Starbucks' coffeehouses and their senses become aroused, which could be enough to indulge in a coffee, or morning beverage/treat in general. If a consumer needs the information search, they can receive this information from word of mouth. Many of Starbucks' loyal customers speak very highly of the brand and the quality of the coffee. Even though the price points are about $2.00 or more than say a Dunkin' Donuts coffee, Starbucks' locations are more convenient to have access to then one of their competitors.
Now within the decision-making process, perception of a specific product is considered by marketing managers. Perception is a process all people take part in as we move through the course of events in our daily lives. When we meet people, make business decisions, evaluate performances, or pass judgments, our perception surrounding such events helps us persuade our next course of direction. Starbucks focuses on their employees and the effects they give on the consumer, as mentioned in previous blog posts. Starbucks has been successful in modeling guidelines to direct employee behavior and shape corporate perception to help in its success. Consumers perception must start from the perception employees view about the company. If the employees decide this is the place to be for them, then the energy will be given to the consumer and they will return.
The consumers' post purchase evaluation process is probably the most important out of the five steps taken because it requires the decision of whether or not to buy that particular item again. This decision to purchase a product at Starbucks, because of all the research and the variation of products they offer, can be done in one store visit. Starbucks gives a good motive for customers to return because if you are unsatisfied with your drink, then you will be offered another drink and even given a coupon for a free one. Again, the customer service in Starbucks is what makes the experience. The employees make sure that the customer receives what they ask for in a personal way which makes a customer feel like they are the only person Starbucks is attending to and caring for. As Howard Schultz, CEO, stated to Fortune Magazine, “We aren’t in the coffee business, serving people. We are in the people business, serving coffee."
An advantage marketing managers take into consideration when selling a product and making sure the consumer continues to buy the particular product is looking into specific primary or secondary membership groups. Consumers are influenced by people around them, whether from their similar cultures, values, personalities, attitude, etc. Starbucks focuses a lot in spreading their brand name by word of mouth. They have some commercial ads but what mostly works for them is to be recommended by someone consumers know. They also take opinion leaders, which by textbook definition is an individual(s) who influences the opinions of others. Starbucks does this by being featured in many shows and movies. This has helped them grow their credibility and gain return customers.