Habitual decision making is a process of making decisions based on previous experience and behaviour. It is a process which is used by many consumers and is an important part of the decision-making process.
Habitual decision making is driven by both implicit and explicit memory functioning. Implicit memory is a form of memory functioning which is unconscious and automatic, and it is based on previous actions and experiences. It is a feature of learning action sequences and it is associated with making decisions. Explicit memory is a form of memory which is conscious and it is based on facts and thoughts.
When making decisions, people rely on different types of information for support. These may include logic, emotion, past experience, and intuition. With habitual decision making, people rely on past experience, behaviour, and emotions more so than any other type of information. This is because it is the most reliable source of information.
Habitual decision making can be divided into four stages: sensitisation, habituation, habituation 2, and decision making.
The first stage is sensitisation. This is when people become aware of their environment and recognise a decision-making situation. It is the stage of gathering all relevant information such as cost, product features, and customer reviews. It is the stage of analysing all options and coming up with alternative choices.
The second stage is habituation 1 where the person is familiarising themselves with the product information, their feelings associated with it, and their previous experiences with similar products. This stage is all about repeating and testing the alternative choices, which leads to the person making associations between certain choices and outcomes.
The third stage is habituation 2 which is all about familiarising oneself with the product, the experience when using the product, habit formation, and the development of positive and negative associations or attitudes.
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The final stage is decision making. This is when an individual evaluates the pros and cons of the product and makes a rational and informed choice based on past experiences and personal preferences. This is the stage when a person takes action and makes a purchase.
Marketers attempt to influence consumers' decision-making process through strategic marketing plans. Habitual decision making can be influenced through several marketing tactics such as repetition, branding and positioning.
Repetition of a product or message helps to form habits, and is a tactic used to create familiarity and build strong relationships. Branding is the use of a logo, slogan, and distinctive style to create a recognisable identity. Positioning refers to the strategic positioning of a brand in the consumer’s mind.
The general guidelines and best practices for influencing consumer behaviour in the decision-making process include research, understanding the consumer, providing information, advertising, customer experience, and customer loyalty. Marketers should research the customer and understand their needs to create a customer-centric approach to marketing.
Providing information to the consumer helps to educate them on the product’s features and benefits, and allows them to make an informed decision. Advertising needs to target key customer segments to increase awareness and reach.
Customer experience is very important as it creates positive customer impressions and builds customer loyalty. Last but not least, customer loyalty holds key importance in the decision-making process as it provides assurance to a consumer that they are making the right decision.
Therefore, marketers should focus on creating customer-centric approaches to marketing, and garnering repeat customers. By implementing the above tactics, marketers can influence consumers’ decision-making process through habitual decision making.