Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In response to Jonathan Tomachick

Do you find yourself doing the same when you shop? Have you ever had to cut another shopping trip short because of splurging for sale items the week prior?

Just like many other consumers, I get caught up in sales.  I work in a grocery store and I constantly find myself leaving work with items that I didn't intend to buy because I noticed during my shift that they were on sale.  The funny part is that the majority of the time I don't even end up using what I bought so I ended up actually wasting money instead of saving it.  

I have never found myself having to cut shopping trips short because of prior weeks sales, but rather I find myself having to cut shopping trips short because of the current weeks sales.  

One thing that working in a grocery store has made me wonder is how much is enough when it comes to sales.  I have watched a lot of people come in and buy a ridiculous amount of sale items, or items that they have coupons for, that I know they will never be able to use.  Just because an item is on sale does not mean that the item is necessary.  

I definitely believe that here in America we buy items just because they are on sale, and not necessarily because we need them.   Can you think of other countries where this is true?  Can you think of other countries in which their culture prevents them from buying lots of items that they don't need just because they're on sale?


Psychological factors influence consumers' buying decisions.  These psychological factors include perception, motivation, learning, and beliefs and attitudes.  Consumers use these factors in interact with their world.  Psychological factors are the only influence of consumer behavior that can be affected by the person's environment.

One psychological factor that I would like to specifically focus on is perception.  Perception is defined as "the process by which people select, organize, and interpret stimuli into a meaningful and coherent picture."  Basically, perception is used by consumers to produce meaning; it's how they see the world and how they discover that they need help in making a purchasing decision.

There are three parts to perception - selective exposure, selective distortion, and selective retention.
Selective exposure is what consumers use to decide which stimuli they are going to pay attention to and which ones they are going to ignore.  Selective distortion happens when information conflicts with a consumer's beliefs or feelings so the consumer changes or distorts the information.  Finally, selective retention is when a consumer only remembers the information that supports their personal beliefs and feelings.

Perception plays a huge role in marking because marketeers have to pick up on consumers' perceptions of products and play on them to help sell a product.  For instance, if consumers feel a specific way about how the packaging of a product should look, if marketeers pick up on this and change the product's packaging to match what the consumer perceives as something they want to buy, a product will be more successful.  Pricing and quality of a product can be dictated by consumers' perceptions of what they should be as well as quality and reliability.

When naming, packaging, advertising products, etc. companies should keep perception in mind.  You don't want to create a great product but have it flop because the name was associated with something that people perceive as bad, or the consumers' perceptions of the packaging were negative.

Can you think of any products in which consumer perception caused them to flop?