From the consumer behaviour point of view evaluate; how individuals undergo this process, and what are the factors encouraging and discouraging innovation adoption. (3) From a marketer’s point of view assess; what marketers can do to ensure innovation adoption, and speed up this process. (4) Discuss what Google should do to prevent the rejection of its new Google Glass product (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4) when it is launched in the market; (5) and what marketing strategies the company should apply to increase the rate of its adoption.
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New products and styles termed innovations constantly enter the market. An innovation is any product or service that is perceived to be new by consumers. These new products or services occur in both consumer and industrial settings. If an innovation is successful, it spreads throughout the population. First it is bought and/or used by only a handful of people and then more consumers opt to adopt it until a vast majority have eventually tried and bought the innovation.
A consumers adoption of an innovation may resemble the decision making sequence where a person moves through the stages of awareness, information search, evaluation, trial and adoption, although the relative importance of eat stage may differ depending on how much is already known about a product as well as cultural factors that may affect peoples willingness to try new things.
The Adoption Process (also known as the Diffusion of Innovation) is more than forty years old. It was first described by Bourne (1959), so it has stood the test of time and remained an important marketing tool ever since. It describes the behaviour of consumers as they purchase new products and services with a set of individual categories; innovator, early adopter, early majority, late majority and laggards.
Innovators are the first to adopt and display behaviour that demonstrates that they likely to want to be ahead, and to be the first to own new products, well before the average consumer. They are often not taken seriously by their peers and they habitually buy products that do not make it through the early stages of the product life cycle which can be best described as the stages through which a product progresses in the marketplace through 4 main stages; introduction, acceptance, growth, and maturity.
Early adopters are typically also quick to buy new products and services, and so are key opinion leaders with their neighbours and friends as they tend to be amongst the first to get hold of items or services.
The early majority are the ones who look to the innovators and early majority to see if a new product or idea works and begins to stand the test of time. They stand back and watch the experiences of others, and then there is a sudden surge of mass purchases.
The late majority tends to purchase the product later than the average person. They are slower to catch on to the popularity of new products, services, ideas, or solutions. There is still mass consumption, but gradually it begins to diminish.
Finally, laggards tend to be very late to take on board new products and include those that never actually adopt at all. Here there is little to be made from this category of consumers.
Initially Google may expect for only a smaller group of well learned and financially well off individuals of a certain age to buy into their Google glass innovation. The early adopters then buy the product and tend to be a target for the marketing division looking to get an early stranglehold on the market. The early majority are those who are marginally ahead of the trend followed by the late majority and last but not least laggards.
It can be difficult to ascertain how Google Glass will fare without a watertight element of market research and through product testability amongst other things. As the adoption process is seen as a mental process through which an individual passes from first hearing about an innovation to final adoption, newly created products, especially technology akin to Google Glass requires a very unique selling point to make it stand out to any potential consumers. The five main product characteristics; relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, divisibility and communicability can be especially crucial to a user adopting a new product.
Google’s glass project is not an entirely new concept however they may be the first to perfect the idea of wearable mobile technology. With the fleeting reputation, hefty financial resources and market leading employees they possess, the means are there to have a sizable adoption of their product.
There are however, several other factors to consider that can have an influence on the adoption process. Adjusting to change is a key factor especially in the case of a product like Google Glass. Change is something we all claim to want however when it comes to readiness of trying a completely new product it there will still always be some degree of hesitation. Consumers do tend to differ in their approach towards change. Some differ in adopting new fashion, some in adopting new tastes and some differ in adopting new technology no matter how groundbreaking it could potentially be. This is often refereed to as adoption culture. As mentioned previously, following early adoption, usage is increased and more adopters follow suit.
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Google has never been a design-forward company, revolutionising our lives through interface design. Instead, they’ve achieved their ascent through creating products with raw intellectual magnetism using groundbreaking artificial intelligence to fuel search, wise mapping systems for unparalleled navigation, and market leading wireless syncing applications that allow worldwide remote project collaboration. Therefore Google has always been seen as the driver of smart intuitive technology.
Conventionally there are several prerequisites for successful adoption – Relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trailability and observability.
Relative advantage is the extent to which a consumer sees a certain attribute of a new product or service to be better than the characteristics of products of a similar nature. If a consumer sees elements of the new product to be better than incumbent ones, then this is seen as positive consumer perception. This effect can be magnified especially where opinion leaders are concerned.
There is a direct correlation between positive relative advantage and the rate of adoption. The more a consumer sees certain characteristics of Google glass to be better than that of a rival wearable computer technology manufacturer then the rate of adoption will be reached within a faster timeframe.
Relative disadvantage such as extortionate price tag or steep product learning curve will have the opposite effect thus a negative impact of the adoption rate.
Compatibility is viewed as consumer perception of a new product with regard to the person’s lifestyle choices. When the product matches the needs of the individual as well as values, and consumptions patterns, the product is said to be highly attuned to the consumer.
Complexity is the point to which the consumer considers the product to have a steep learning curve to use. If the product has a high level of complexity it will have a lesser level of adoption. This could be the case with Google glass. Despite it Google making it seem relatively simple to operate in their promotional video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4) it is undoubtedly a complex device in the manner it is constructed and it would be sure to require a certain level of nous to operate and when it comes to maintenance/updating. Of course Google can combat this by offering step by step video tutorials to ease such concerns.
Trialability ascertains whether the newly innovated product can be tried out for limited time period before the consumer parts with their hard eared money. If so, the adoption rates are likely to increase substantially. Trialability is instrumental in reducing the consumer’s perceived risk of buying the product. By allowing potential consumers to test the product before buying it, it would demonstrate confidence in the quality of the product. For a firm like Google, this is one of their forte’s. Prior to launching many of their products in the past they have hosted events and exhibitions where they have allowed such open testing of their new products. Not only does it provide assurances of product quality but it can also help build rapport with consumers as well experts within the industry who can in future vouch for their products.
Lastly there is observability which is the degree to which a potential consumer can observe the innovation and assess its positive effect. The more the positive effects are felt, the more apparent the effects are to the consumer. The easier it is for individuals to see the positives of the product, the higher the rate of adoption.
On the whole, innovations that are perceived to have greater relative advantage, compatibility, trialability, and observability whilst having less complexity, will be adopted more quickly than innovations that aren’t.
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