The consumer goes through 5 distinct stages before committing to a purchase:
The consumer identifies a problem and find a product or service that might fix the perceived problem.
The consumer uses their own knowledge and external sources of information to gather intelligence on that product.
Evaluation of Alternatives
The consumer will compare the product with possible substitutes to try to come to a better, more informed decision.
The Purchase Decision
The consumer decides on the product that they want to purchase, but the purchase has not taken place yet.
Having found a suitable payment method that both allows and encourages them to buy immediately, the consumer finally follows through with the purchase.
Businesses need to consider where they fit in to the puzzle during each stage if they want to nail their marketing campaigns and maximise their sales potential/ actual sales.