In the Eye of the Consumer
Every week, month and year, consumers are required to make many and varied purchase decisions: What products to acquire, and of which brands and models — from food products like cheese and pasta sauce, through smartphones and clothing garments, and to domestic appliances, cars and more. In additions, consumers of course utilise services they hire or subscribe to such as home repairs, telecom, air travel, healthcare, and others. To handle multiple decisions in so many domains consumers allocate their time and effort (cognitive, psychic) according to priorities they set between tasks, consciously and unconsciously.
Consumers’ behaviour encompasses the decisions they make, yet also activities and experiences that take place between them — the process that precedes a decision (e.g., information search, evaluation and judgement) and the consumption or usage experience that follows. It is a cycle almost always in motion of decision process-purchase decision-usage or consumption-(process)-new decision, and so on.
But this is not an exact and uniform cycle: sometimes the process will be concluded with a no-purchase decision or deference to a later time; the next decision may be reached as an outcome of a much quicker and partial process or automatically; in-between, consumers perform also exploratory, on-going search expeditions with no specific goal or intention to buy (“window shopping” as well as “screen shopping”). Exploratory search is a way for consumers to learn new product information, keep up-dated with latest developments, and get ideas for future purchases, free of time pressure; but more often consumers shop around just for leisure and while hanging around with friends and relatives.
Hence we should view consumer experiences as a whole that includes both experiences that lead to a purchase decision and experiences with the good or service purchased. Through such experiences consumers acquire further knowledge and expertise.
The aspects, motivations and conduct of decision-making to look at may include:
- How consumers solve problems?
- What are the expectations and preferences of consumers?
- What thoughts and feelings occur and combine in the decision process?
- What kinds of effort are required of consumers to make their decisions?
- What utilitarian and hedonic considerations direct and motivate consumers?
- What decision strategies and rules do consumers utilise for making their decisions?
Approaching a marketing problem or situation from the viewpoint of consumers is essential for companies to respond to their needs and wants more accurately and effectively — through solutions derived, action plans devised, and targeted offerings constructed.
A consumer-driven approach may involve domains of consumer decision-making processes, preference and choice behaviour, personality and lifestyle. This website dedicates particular attention to application of such approach in the areas of:
- New Product Development (NPD)
- Branding & Brand Equity
- Pricing & Value
- Visual Marketing
- Experiential Marketing
Other sections of C / S / C Behaviour website focus more specifically on:
- Retail & Shopping Behaviour
- Relationship Marketing & Customer Experiences