The Nature of Consumer Product Selection

Once consumers enter the grocery or supermarket, they are instantly greeted by rows of products with different forms, features, appearances, and promotions. Nowadays, companies give an increasing amount of effort in devising new and fresh ideas to make their products known in the market—extending product variety and selection for the consumers. The great expanse of choices that the latter are presented with and how they select among these choices thereby serve significant room of exploration by product companies and firms.

One specific focus of study is the nature of consumer product selection. More particularly, it is beneficial to know the factors that consumers’ consider upon purchasing an item among the innumerable alternatives available. According to Berkowitz, Crane, Kerin, Harltey and Rudelius (1994), such decision-making prior to purchasing is attributable to three bases: personal, psychological, and social. Firstly, personal factors involve a consumer’s demographic and individual background that is unique to him/her.

The sex, race, age, economic status, lifestyle, and educational attainment are the basic components of product selection under this set of factors, yet it also encompasses situational components or moments that vary in terms of time and space that are usually unexpected occurrences. The last mentioned component, for instance, takes emphasis when a consumer is considering which among two types of medicines is best for her mother, hence based on the situation that someone in the family is ill (Kundi, Khan, & Mahir, 2008).
The second basis is defined by psychological factors, or those factors that initiate from one’s subjective preference allocations with regard to products out in the market. Berkowitz et al. (1994) and Kundi et al. (2008) stated that factors such as motives, perception, ability and knowledge (or learning), attitudes, and personality, strongly determine a consumer’s manner of selecting among a wide range of choices.
For example, a housewife’s motives, which, based on Maslow (2007), is directed by a hierarchy of general needs for human survival and perpetuation, may influence her decision between getting a simple door knob with a basic lock or a high-technology lock system with multi-level sensors for their home. This shows a clash between a physiological motive and a safety motive, respectively. Social factors, the final basis, encompass a greater spectrum of consumer product selection because it relates the consumer with the social variables in his/her environment.
Specifically, these social variables include opinion leaders, family of the consumer, social class, reference group, and culture (Berkowitz et al. , 1994; Kundi et al. , 2008). This can be depicted by a teenage girl who is about to shop for a new set of clothes. She may base her selection on a reference group, which may be a popular teenage clique at her school or a set of Hollywood personalities. The nature of referencing to a particular group, however, may vary depending on certain personal and psychological factors, as well.
In order to verify the aforementioned determinants of consumer product selection, a study with a sample in a neighborhood may be questioned and observed. Residents within the age bracket of 16 to 40 years old shall be taken as respondents. This criterion is defined on the since they are the ones known to have optimal purchase activity among the population. The respondents shall be questioned regarding their bases for selecting certain, basic products: food, clothing, home, office, or school supplies, and gadgets or technological devices.
These specificities are rooted on the fact that such products generally and equally cover the buying behavior of the whole range of respondents. From the youngest to the oldest possible respondent, it is feasible that such individuals spend their money in order to provide for the needs that the said products address. The specific variables to be looked into would be the three bases of consumer product selection according to literature obtained: personal, psychological, and social factors.
To respond to the objective of this study, field methods such as questionnaires and interviews may be conducted. Field methods are commonly used to obtain qualitative information in the real-life setting, as opposed to experimental methods that are done within a laboratory or scientific setting. Since the area of study is influenced by the market environment and the different components that are related to it, a field method is necessary for application in this study (Perner, 2008).
Moreover, such particular methods shall be utilized in order to supply rich, qualitative data regarding consumer product selection. These two methods differ in some contexts, in that the former is a form of data collection that is easier to conduct yet relatively impersonal, while the latter is rich in subjectivity but more tedious and costly to execute. Nevertheless, both methods will provide substantial data addressing the research problem (Jones, 2008; Perner, 2008).
The completion of this study shall therefore contribute to both consumers and producers, principally because significant information regarding the bases of product selection shall be thoroughly determined, assessed, and verified. Products and services may then be modified and improved, initiating the modification and improvement of life as well. References Berkowitz, E. , Crane, F. , Kerin, R. , Harltey, S. , and Rudelius, W. (1994). Marketing [4th ed]. Dutton: McGraw Hill. Jones, N. (2008). Market research: Questions and questionnaires.
Retrieved on November 30, 2008, from http://www. training-management. info/market-research/questions. htm Kundi, J. , Khan, F. , & Mahir, M. (2008). Customer buying behavior. Jamia Hamdard University. 6-7. Maslow, A. (2007). Maslow hierarchy of needs. Retrieved on November 30, 2008, from http://www. abraham-maslow. com/m_motivation/Hierarchy_of_Needs. asp Perner, L. (2008). Consumer behavior: The psychology of marketing. Retrieved on November 30, 2008, from http://www. consumerpsychologist. com/

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