Selling a consumer product is not easy in present, as nowadays there is high competition in the market and everyone tries to attract consumers with different strategies. For selling a consumer product, marketers are required to adopt different strategies related to price, packaging, brand, advertising etc (Kotler, 2002). Nowadays, it has become complicated for marketers to attract customers but if appropriate approaches are adopted it can be done effectively and easily. In this report the consumer product selected for discussion is “Coffee”.
Coffee is a brewed drink that develops from roasted seeds, ordinarily known as coffee beans, of the coffee plant. It is one of the significantly traded commodities all over the world due to its exhilarating effect on humans. In present, it is the third most well-liked drink throughout the world, after water and tea (Kurtz, MacKenzie & Snow, 2009). Selling coffee is not easy and most of the coffee marketers feel it difficult to sell coffee to consumers. The problem of selling coffee has been confronted by several marketers that can be resolved effectively by identifying the situational influences on consumer behaviour or purchasing decisions (Lancaster & Reynolds, 2005).
In this report, problem related to selling coffee will be discussed and resolved by identifying appropriate situational influences on consumers at the time of purchasing coffee. As well, the problem of selling coffee will be addressed by explicating a better understanding of the specific situational factors that affect its purchase decision. In the end, ways will be discussed through which marketers can use an understanding of identified situational factors to influence the coffee buying decisions of their consumers.
Consumer behaviour is the study of how people, groups, and organizations choose, purchase, utilize and dispose of goods, services, thoughts, or experiences to gratify their needs and wants (Kotler, 2002). For successful marketing of a product or service, marketers must significantly understand both the theory and reality of consumer behaviour. Consumers purchasing involves a psychological processes that consumers go through. First of all they identify needs, discover means to resolve these needs, make purchase decisions, interpret information, make plans and execute these plans (Kurtz, MacKenzie & Snow, 2009).
Consumers’ buying behaviours differ at the time of buying different kinds of products. For often purchased low-cost item, a consumer reacts in a routine response behaviour that include very little search or decision-making exertions. Purchases that are made occasionally involve limited decision-making (Foxall, 1993). On the other when consumers buy an unknown or high-priced product or service they get engaged in extensive decision-making. The purchase decision of an individual goes through various stages (Lancaster & Reynolds, 2005).
Consumer purchasing decision process is significantly affected by several influences like situational influences, psychological influences and social influences. By identifying these influences a marketer can easily address its problems related to marketing coffee to its customers (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2008). Among these influences, one of the most significant influences is situational influences and it is essential to understand by a marketer when it finds difficulty in marketing its product or service (Baker & Hart, 2007). Coffee marketers can also resolve their trouble of selling coffee by developing a better understanding of the specific situational factors that affect the consumers coffee purchase decision.
Specific Situational Influences
Situational influences on consumer buying behaviour are actually impermanent conditions that impact how they behave. It pertains to whether consumers really purchase a marketer’s product, purchase supplementary products, or does not purchase anything from him (Kauffman, 1996). These factors are a significant interfering variable among the moderately unvarying family framework and buying decision behaviour (Johnson, 1995).
Situational factors that affect consumers’ buying behaviour significantly differ from personal or product factors. Situational factors include all those factors that are specific to a time and location of observation in spite of personal knowledge and evocation attributes that used to make a demonstrable and organized effect on present behaviour (Peter & Donnelly, 2002). Situational factors can also be described as the effects of situation on a consumer’s psychological procedures and explicit behaviour (Johnson, 1995).
Situational influences are factors that results from considerations, time, and location that in turn impact consumer buying decision procedure. Situational factors can affect a consumer’s action in any phase of buying behaviour as well as it can also abbreviate, extend, or cease the buying procedure (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2008). Situational factors involve aspects like physical factors, social factors, time factors, the consumer’s purchasing reason and his mood. All consumers have definitely been impacted by all these factors at the time of purchasing one or another product (Loudon, 2001).
By controlling these factors a marketer can easily affect consumer buying behaviour and due to this it is also essential to be understood by most of the marketers who wants to sell coffee through stores or different outlets coffee (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007). By understanding the diverse situational factors that affect consumers’ buying behaviour at the time of purchasing coffee, it will become easy for marketers to develop strategies accordingly (Theoretical aspects of consumer behaviour, n.d.).
Substantial situational factors that affect consumers’ buying behaviour or purchasing decision can be divided into following five significant categories:
This category of situational factors include marketer’s geographical and institutional location, furnishings, sounds, lighting, aromas, weather, signs and observable contours as well as products, exhibits or other materials circumventing the stimulus thing (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2008). Significant physical factors also include store design and layout that if considered by markers at the time of designing their facilities can benefit them in increasing consumers’ purchase. It could also be understood with an example of a grocery store (Kotler, 2002).
Most of the grocery stores used to place bread and milk on the differing ends of the stores as consumers need both of these products. For purchasing both of these products they will visit the whole store and might also see and purchase other items (East, Wright & Vanhuele, 2008). The next substantial physical factor that affects consumers’ purchasing decision is store location. If store location is convenient, it will definitely attract more and more consumers (Peter & Donnelly, 2002). Starbuck’s that is the well-known company had done a great job in regard to locating its stores in nations where it operates. This is the most beneficial factor for the company in attracting consumers in great numbers (Docrat, 2007).
By managing this physical factor, a coffee marketer can easily drive consumers towards its coffee. In addition to this, other substantial physical factors that need to be managed are store environment or atmosphere as it strikes a lot to a consumer at the time of his purchase decision (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2008). If a consumer discovers a place relaxing with some light music, effective lightings, temperature, he/she will definitely enjoy coffee in that store (Roslow, Li & Nicholls, 2000). In this way, it can be said that physical factors is related to the management of the physical environment that involves all the nonhuman, physical facets of the market in which consumer behaviour takes place (Kotler, 2002).
Generally, it is said that any aspect of the physical environment can have an effect on consumer behaviour (Assael, 2005). The physical environment that affects consumer purchasing behaviour can be classified into following elements:
Non-spatial elements coffee (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007).
Spatial elements pertain to all kinds of physical objects like products and brands, countries, cities, stores, shopping centres and interior decorations. On the other hand, non-spatial elements pertains to all intangible factors like lightings, aromas, temperature, humidity, rainfall, illumination, noise level and time (Docrat, 2007). By understanding the effect of these different aspects of the physical environment, a marketer can easily design strategies to effect consumer cognitions and behaviours regarding purchasing coffee (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2008).
Social surroundings related to a purchase involve features and fundamental interactions of other people who are present throughout a purchase decision or who may be there when the product is utilized or consumed coffee (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007). In addition to this social surroundings also include the shopping environment conditions. In other words, it can be said that social surroundings that influence consumers purchasing decisions are other persons, their compatibilities, roles, interactions and crowding (Chapter 5-Lecture Outline, n.d.).
The social situation in which a consumer is will significantly affect what he will buy, how much he will buy and when (Roslow, Li & Nicholls, 2000). Most of us see collage students buying different products outside retail stores or shopping malls but we don’t purchase anything from them but if we see someone whom we know, it will affect our decision (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2008). By understanding the social situation in which a consumer is, marketer can significantly affect their purchase decisions. Most of the companies like Avon and Tupperware, sell their products at parties because they know in these kinds of parties consumers are in different social situation and have to buy something (Docrat, 2007).
When a student is in collage he will not spend much amount on fast-food but when he is in a restaurant with his special friend or close friend he will definitely spend much more on his food or drink. In this way, consumers purchasing decisions are highly affected by their social situation or surroundings that if understood by marketers can assist them with effective selling strategies (Docrat, 2007). Social surroundings have significant influence on the consumers throughout their purchase and consumption process.
The next substantial situational factor that influences consumer purchasing decision is time. Time affects consumers buying decision process in a number of ways like the amount of time necessitated to become well-informed about a product, to look for for it, and to pay money for and make use of it (Chapter 5-Lecture Outline, n.d.). Time plays a substantial role and in this a buyer regards the probable regularity of product use, the time-span required to make use of the product, and the span of the all-inclusive product life. In addition to this, other time aspects that affect consumers purchase are time of day, day of the week or month, times of year, and vacations coffee (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007).
The consumer purchase decision is affected by the time, he/she devotes for purchasing decisions. This could also be understood with an example like if a customer is under severe time constraints he will either make a fast purchase decision or hold-up a decision (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2008). By managing and handling time, marketers can positively affect consumers’ purchasing decisions. In regard to having a coffee may a customer have lots of time or may a customer have little time. All these things need to be considered for designing effective strategies to affect consumers purchasing decisions (Docrat, 2007).
Nowadays, most of the consumers are having lack of time due to their busy or hectic schedules the companies or marketers should design strategies that accommodated this need of consumers. In this way, by identifying time related factors that affects consumers’ decision-making, a marketer can become able in serving its consumers in a much more enhanced way.
Another substantial situational influence is related to consumers’ purchasing reason. It is a significant factor that affects consumers’ every purchase decision. The cause for purchase elevates the questions of what precisely the product buying should bring about and for whom (Loudon, 2001). For example, when we go to but a gift for friend it differs from what we buy from out closed ones or family members. Our purchasing totally differs with our purchasing reason and this in turn will also affect the time spend on purchasing (Docrat, 2007).
Similar is the situation with consumers when they go for a coffee in a store as some may purchase it for relaxation or some ay purchase it for having fun with friends in a store where there are no limits of time to sit and talk coffee (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007). Purchasing decision is significantly affects by the reason to purchase a product as every product fulfils different needs and necessity of consumers (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2008). By understanding these reasons a company or marketer can significantly influence its consumers purchase decisions.
Nowadays, every company designs different offerings for kids, youngsters and old aged people as they know all of them have different reasons for their purchase. Understanding why a consumer purchase a coffee will definitely assist its marketers in presenting it to its consumers in a different and much more unique way (Loudon, 2001).
Buyer’s Mood and Conditions:
The last significant situational factor that influences consumers buying decision process is their temporary moods or momentary situations like exhaustion, ill health, having sufficient cash (Ferrell & Hartline, 2008). All these conditions of consumers have bearing on their purchasing process. Any of the given mood or condition may affect consumers ability and want to look for information, obtain information and evaluate available alternatives. These can also affect a consumers’ postpurchase evaluation. An individual’s mood is quite imperative for purchasing something (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2008).
Individuals mood temporarily impact their spending habits like if an individual is having headache and he can feel relax by having a coffee; he will have coffee (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007). On the other hand, if his headache cannot be affected by a coffee, he will not buy coffee. As well, if an individual is not having sufficient money to spend and purchase coffee, he will not purchase it. So, overall it can be said that mood and conditions significantly affect consumers’ purchasing decision and by understanding it their purchasing decisions can be significantly affected by marketers.
Understanding of all the above situational influences provides the ways through which a marketer can affect its consumers purchasing decision processes. Coffee marketers, if also understand all these situational influences that affect consumers coffee purchase decisions, can design substantial strategies to affect their consumers behaviour (Ferrell & Hartline, 2008).
Ways that Coffee Marketers can use to Influence the Consumers Buying Decisions
With the detailed discussion of situational influences that may affect consumers purchasing decisions, it becomes evident that how this understanding of influences can be used by Coffee marketers to influence the buying decisions of their consumers (Teare, 1998). Following are the ways through which coffee marketers can influence consumers’ coffee buying decisions:
Designing effective physical surroundings:
Consumers purchase decisions are highly influenced by physical surroundings and by managing this; coffee company can easily influence its consumers. The coffee marketers need to design well-furnished stores in which there is homely environment with all essential facilities. A coffee marketer needs to develop its facilities in a way that customers can find stores at most of the convenient places of city (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007).
By managing different stores at suitable locations, it will become easy to attract consumers. Store should be well-equipped with newspapers, magazines and music along with some snacks. In this way, coffee marketers can easily attract more consumers as nowadays consumers place high importance facilities provided by a coffee store as well as its ambiance (Zhuang, Tsang, Zhou, Li & Nicholls, 2006).
Providing most effective Social Surroundings:
If a coffee marketer serves its customers, by understanding their social behaviour or situation, he will become able in, serving them more effectively. Understanding consumers’ social situation is essential as some people come to have coffee to do their business talks and deals and some are students who come to get an environment in which they can sit for hours and do their studies (Docrat, 2007).
On the other hand, some of students and youngsters come for fun with friends. By understanding customers need, they need to be offered with a good place at store so that their purpose to come and have coffee can be fulfilled. Store employees should take care of every customer and their social needs by providing them all facilities and environment that they need (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007).
Making use of consumers’ Time Situation:
Marketers who want to sell coffee should design stores in a way, which provides coffee to customers in specific time of day or week or the whole day. Some of coffee stores are opened for whole day or night as consumers may feel to have coffee any time of the day (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007). In addition to this, consumers should be aware with this that the specific coffee store is opened 24 hours of the day as this will definitely affect their coffee purchasing decision. As well, stores should serve coffee in specific time periods like in 10 minutes or 15 minutes with some specific snacks.
By adopting these kinds of time related strategies will significantly affect consumers purchase decision as nowadays consumers are having lack of time. Due to this, they want to buy product that accommodate with their time needs (Docrat, 2007). Managing stores for specific times of days and weeks along with specific serving times will assist a coffee company in substantially influencing consumers purchase decisions.
Developing Product Purchase Associations:
By developing coffee purchase association with consumers need, will definitely assist coffee marketers in influencing consumers purchase decisions. Every consumer’s wants coffee for different reasons and associating store offering with consumers need will be very helpful in attracting them. Stores should be designed in a way that serves youngsters with their need of having fun and socialization. On the other it should also have peaceful environment in which business people can sit and talk. Understanding of consumers coffee purchase reasons is quite helpful for developing effective serving strategies (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007).
This should also be done by considering the consumers mood and conditions as some customers may be student and their spending power may be low. The coffee store should serve coffee at reasonable price so that it is approachable for anyone. As well, it can also serve premium coffee servings with snacks for business class or high class people. Pricing and customer service strategies should be based on consumers purchasing reason, mood and conditions (Zhuang, Tsang, Zhou, Li & Nicholls, 2006).
With the help of above discussion of situational factors that affect consumers buying behaviour it becomes evident that understanding of these situational influences is vital for a marketer. By understanding situational influences that may affect its consumers buying decisions related to coffee, will assist him in the development of effective strategies to serve its customers (East, Wright & Vanhuele, 2008). Coffee marketers that also feel complicated to sell coffee, can do it in an effective way by understanding situational influences. Knowledge about these situational influences can be used by marketers to develop effective and positive situations that will definitely affect consumers’ coffee purchasing decisions.
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