Consumer Behavior and International Marketing

Consumer decision-making process depends on the amount of effort that goes into the decision every time a purchase has to occur. Some researchers view it as a continuum, which depends on one end by habitual decision-making and the other end by extended problem-solving (Solomon, 2006).

Most purchase decisions fall somewhere in the middle and involve limited decision-making process. In this case, we look at purchasing a laptop and food. The consumer has recognized his condition and lacks satisfaction and wants to improve his perceived desires. Thus, he must purchase a laptop and food. Motivations to satisfy the needs lead the consumer to search for information regarding his purchases.

The search for information may yield several alternatives. Therefore, the consumer can choose among the alternatives (Freeman, 2008). He is now ready to make the purchase. After the purchase (post-purchase evaluation), the buyer evaluates his decision to buy food and laptop and determines if the products meet his requirements. Purchasing food bears characteristics of low costs, frequent purchases, and the consumer is familiar with products and brands. Purchasing food has low risks and involvements.

On the other hand, purchasing a laptop is a high involvement process. The product has characteristics of being expensive and infrequent purchasing. Therefore, there is a higher risk and involvement, and extensive search for information with the consultation of several sources before visiting the store (Arens, 1999).

Marketers determine consumers’ satisfaction by overall feelings, or attitude people have about products after they have purchased them (Kotler, Wong Saunders, and Armstrong, 2005). Consumers engage in a constant process of evaluating the things they purchase as they integrate these products into their daily consumption activities.

Despite evidence that customer satisfaction is steadily declining in many industries, creative marketers are constantly on the lookout for sources of dissatisfaction among consumers so that they can improve. Customer satisfaction has a real impact on profitability and customer retention.

Studies conducted among most international markets show that product quality and customer service affect customer satisfaction, which in turn results in increased profitability, and customer retention among firms, which provide quality products and services. Therefore, quality and service are essential elements of consumer satisfaction.

E-business uses electronic applications to do business, whereas e-commerce involves buying and selling processes through electronic means like the Internet. For sellers, e-commerce is an essential tool for promoting customer relationships. It also increases the sellers’ speed and efficiency.

Also, it also offers greater flexibility and better access to global markets. E-commerce faces legal and ethical issues relating to on-line privacy and security, Internet fraud, technological gap, and lack of actual shopping experience from physical interaction with products. Businesses and individuals risk losing personal information, trade secrets, and other proprietary information to hackers. Firms spend significant amounts of resources to maintain security and conduct regular audits to ensure the integrity of their sites.

Doing business in the Internet age requires new approaches to marketing strategies. Firms need to retain most of the marketing skills and practices, which proved useful in the past because technology is unpredictable and moving fast. Likewise, they must also enhance and embrace new competencies and practices if they want to remain competitive in global marketing (Kotler, Wong, Saunders and Armstrong, 2005).

The Internet and other technologies now help companies to carry on their business faster, more accurately, and over a wider range of time and space. Marketers should provide information about and promote their products and services. They must also increase customers’ services and satisfaction using e-commerce.

They should create intranets to help marketers communicate with each other and access information about products and services. Marketers must also concentrate on areas of information exchange in the industry. They can achieve these objectives not only by the firm’s website but also through other social media platforms.

References

Arens, W. (1999). Contemporary Advertising, 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Freeman, J. (2008). Introduction Consumer Behavior. California: Trident University International.

Kotler, P., Wong, V., Saunders, J. and Armstrong, G. (2005). Principles of Marketing, 4th ed. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

Solomon, M. (2006). Consumer Behavior. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Europe.