Consumer decision making can be defined as a mental orientation characterizing a consumer's approach to making choice (Lysonski, S 1996) 1.This approach deals with cognitive and affective orientation in the process of decision making. Quality judgments are largely influenced by the product characteristics reflected by packaging, as packaging overall features underlines the uniqueness and originality of the product. If the packaging material, packaging design communicates good quality, consumers mostly assumes that that the product will be of high quality, however if the package symbolizes low quality, consumer will definitely be perceive that the product will also be of low quality. So it is only the packaging which communicates product favorable and unfavorable characteristics about the product and gives a visionary idea about the product tastes, looks, feels, smells, or sounds while viewing the product images on the package.
In case of food products, such as FMCG's which are low involvement products, product expectations can only be generated through packaging features, like packaging design, material, labeling, product information and stereotypes. A research study indicates that in case of choosing low involvement products such as FMCG's, colors were the most obvious factor influenced by the consumers. Consumer perceptions of an acceptable color are mostly associated with the perception of other packaging attributes such as nutrition and flavor, and also with satisfaction level. Nazlin Imram (1999) 2, indicates that positive effect can be achieved by falsifying one or more packaging variables, including packaging color, deign, material, clear packs that allows viewing food color, incident light, and appearance of a brand name.
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Visual image on the packages is another important essential. Picture on the packages can be a strategic method of differentiation, which will enhance access to consumer consciousness. This is mostly because visual images are extremely vivid stimuli compared to the simple words and is easier and quicker for consumers to process in low involvements situations. So a well design and attractive visual package may gain the attention of consumers and set expectations for them and is likely to evoke a positive and memorable image in the mind of consumers not only associated with the product but the brand too.
In addition, there is a quiet of research done on the consumer behavior that whether consumer behavior is consistent across cultures or not? Many research industries such as AC nelson, a world wide leading international research company believes that consumers across the cultures are likely to have roughly similar to response to many FMCG's. However some observers believe that with the rising income of consumers and extensive competition give consumer more ability to consumer according to their own cultural preferences, while some believes that many issues may be similar in response to package across different cultures, such as colors associations or themes on packaging may be perceived and interpreted by consumers differently in different cultures (Silayoi and Speece, 2004).
FMCG Food Products and Consumer Buying Behavior:
FMCG can be defined as: A type of good that is consumed every day by the average consumer. The goods that comprise this category are ones that need to be replaced frequently, compared to those that are usable for extended periods of time. While CPGs represent a market that will always have consumers, it is highly competitive due to high market saturation and low consumer switching costs 3.
Certainly for FMCG's, which are mostly low involvement product and for which consumes also don't really think about so much, many informational elements such as food products, desire for convenience, or health, nutritional and ingredients information on packages may be similar across different cultures. In low involvement situations, consumers extensively don't search about that brands, evaluate their characteristics, and make a weighty decision on which brand to buy (Kotler, 1996; Silayoi and Speece, 2004) 4. One reason for this mite is, as FMCG products are not that much important nor involve any type of risk in purchase, because they are mostly cheap.
Silayoi, 2004 indicates that this lack of substandard evaluation often results due to inability to distinguish between leading product brands. Thus, when consumers find a brand which meets their standards, they tend to stay satisfied with it, but at the same time, if the particular brand is not available, they can easily switch to substitute because FMCG substitutes are easily available and in a large variety.
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Silayoi states that a research of west indicates that about one third of the women shoppers buy food products through habits, which is also common in Thailand and Asia. A recent survey data from Thailand indicates that packaging plays an important role in reminding consumers about the brand, which helps to reinforce habit loyalty. Here the involvement level also plays a vital role of brand habit loyalty, because some researchers thought that not all the consumers view grocery as a low involvement product. Those consumers which are high involver seeker tends to be more brand loyal including willingness to postpone purchase or go to another store if the brand is not available. In Thiland about 20-40 % of the consumers do this.
Clearly, consumer use of packaging elements is quite an important issue for low involvement products - generally, informational elements require more mental effort to process than do visual elements, which evoke more of an emotional response. Some consumers are not willing to put forth this small effort, and food products which are of rely low involvement for them. Others may consider the product more carefully, so that involvement level might shift the package elements which are most critical. We look at these various elements in more detail in the remainder of this section, to examine how consumers are likely to use each one.
Silayoi and Mark Speece states that other main factor which affects consumer decision is the time pressure, it is the factor which often affects consumer purchase decisions, most of the respondents agreed that shopping under relatively high constraints, they spend very less time to make any given purchases, and due to time pressure they make quick decisions without any deliberate evaluation and this ultimately lead them to purchase fewer products. Similarly most of the respondents also agreed that it became more difficult for them to make decisions, when considering multiple brands of the same product line.
- Lysonski, S., Durvasula, S. and Zotos, Y. (1996), “Consumer decision-making styles: a multi-country investigation”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 12, pp. 10-21. Article URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/03090569610153273
- Imram, N. (1999), “The role of visual cues in consumer perception and acceptance of a food product”, Nutrition and Food Science, Vol. 5, pp. 224-8.Article URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au/Insight/ViewContentServlet?contentType=Article&Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0170990502.html
- Kotler, P., Ang, S.H., Leong, S.M. and Tan, C.T. (1996), Marketing Management: An Asian Perspective, Prentice-Hall, Singapore.
- Research Report On Influence Of Packaging On Consumer Buying Behavior