Unit VIII Consumer

Select two websites from the list below, analyzing them from the standpoint of transferring information. In Unit IV, we analyzed websites for their ability to persuade; in this unit, we are analyzing for the efficiency in providing information to the consumer. Keep in mind that the end goal of both is to influence the target market. Include criteria discussed in the lesson and throughout this course in your evaluation.Furniture from Ikea.comElectronics from Amazon.comLaptops from HP.comBackpacks from REI.comApparel from Macys.comRunning shoes from Nike.comCosmetics from Sephora.comPrivate dressing from Stitchfix.comEnsure that you respond to the questions below.Using website functionality discussed in the lesson, compare functionality attributes of each of the two websites you selected. How are consumers using these websites in their decision-making process?In your opinion, are these websites effective at reaching and providing necessary information in order to persuade the customer? Include your rationale.Explain how marketers might make these websites more efficient in relaying information to the consumer.Your response should be double-spaced and should be a minimum of three pages in length. References should include each of the websites plus a minimum of two additional credible references. All sources used must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations and be cited per APA guidelines
businessBUSINESS MANAGEMENT
ATTACHED FILE(S)

MAR 3211, Consumer Behavior 1
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit VIII

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

1. Discuss how the field of marketing is influenced by the actions of consumers.
1.1 Describe how marketers within a company might revise their website to encourage additional
sales.

8. Analyze how consumers evaluate product selections.
8.1 Explain how consumers are using websites in their consumer decision-making process.

Course/Unit
Learning Outcomes
Learning Activity
1.1
Unit Lesson
PowerPoint Presentation
Cook (2013) video
Olokundun, Amaihian, Adegbuyi, and Mosunmola (2017) article
Zauner, Koller, and Fink (2012) article
Case Study
8.1
Unit Lesson
PowerPoint
Cook (2013) video
Olokundun, Amaihian, Adegbuyi, and Mosunmola (2017) article
Peterson and Merino (2003) article
Wells (2017) article
Zauner, Koller, and Fink (2012) article
Case Study

Reading Assignment

In order to access the following resources, click the links below.

Click here to access the Unit VIII PowerPoint presentation. (Click here to access a PDF version of the
presentation.)

Cook, N. (Producer). (2013). Analyzing consumer behavior (Segment 10 of 15) [Video]. In The age of big
data. Films on Demand.
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ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=55683&loid=246605

Click here to access a transcript for the video above.

Read pp. 192–202 in the article below.

Olokundun, M., Amaihian, A., Adegbuyi, O., & Mosunmola, A. (2017). The overriding influence of social media
as the key driver of cinematic movie sales. International Journal of Information, Business and
Management, 9(1), 192–204.
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resources.columbiasouthern.edu/abicomplete/docview/1854287409/88DDA321D2E249F8PQ/7?acco
untid=33337

Read pp. 99–105 and 115–117 in the article below.

UNIT VIII STUDY GUIDE
Networked Consumer Behavior
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MAR 3211, Consumer Behavior 2
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE
Title

Peterson, R. A., & Merino, M. C. (2003). Consumer information search behavior and the internet. Psychology
& Marketing, 20(2), 99–121.
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resources.columbiasouthern.edu/docview/227744452?accountid=33337

Wells, C. (2017, January 16). Luxury fashion designers struggle to adapt to digital era; exclusive brands look
for ways to combine the best of yesterday with what drives consumers today. Wall Street Journal.
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resources.columbiasouthern.edu/docview/1858558603?accountid=33337

Read pp. 681–685 and 688–689 in the article below.

Zauner, A., Koller, M., & Fink, M. (2012). Sponsoring, brand value and social media. RAE: Revista De
Administração De Empresas, 52(6), 681–691.
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Unit Lesson

To say that the Internet has greatly changed the way consumers search, interpret, and digest information is
certainly an understatement of great magnitude. We can easily access a company and its competitor’s
websites for information. Additionally, review sites and blogs provide us with valuable consumer insights into
products, services, and respective customer service levels. Because of advances in digital metrics,
companies can now move beyond just product and service information to targeting specific consumers with
specific information that is relevant and pertinent to them personally.

From a theoretical standpoint, consumers are looking at the evaluative criteria that will solve the problem and
identify multiple alternatives along with the performance level of each of the alternatives. Evaluative criteria
might involve the qualities of performance, delivery, pricing, or any criteria that will influence the decision.
Identifying alternatives involves a set of potential resolutions to the problem and the associated
disadvantages and advantages of each potential alternative. Things that aid in this process are consumer
memory of past searches and personal experiences. Additionally, these may include reference groups such
as family, friends, peer groups, opinion leaders, and other sources personally associated with the consumer.
Independent agencies, such as federal and state agencies, consumer groups, and the like, provide yet
another influencing force. Marketing sources typically found on websites, review sites, consumer blogs,
traditional advertising, other marketing sources, or even sales associates provide impactful sources of
information. Magazines such as Consumer Reports, which has been used by consumers for many years, are
now found digitally online, making the comparative shopping experience even easier and faster.

In today’s technology-oriented society, online information is no longer an extra but, instead, is expected by
consumers. No matter the size of the company, a website is mandatory to conduct everyday business. Ease
of use and speed at which information can be acquired are absolute requirements. Anything short of an
efficient website will deter potential customers and sales. Online information also can boost offline sales.
Through the accumulation of comprehensive and influencing online information, customers may be inclined to
visit their local brick-and-mortar store. Consumers perceive online information as credible and valuable and,
in many cases, as more valuable than commercials viewed on television that are sometimes viewed as
manipulative. Finally, a well-established website can reduce the necessity of additional salesperson
expenditures. The hiring of salespeople is an expensive venture. While personalized face-to-face discussions
have significant value, the website can provide a solid introduction or closing to a salesperson’s efforts.

To maintain frequent and ongoing traffic, websites need to contain relevant and frequently updated content.
This could include product-related news features, updates on products and services, and positive reviews.
Websites that encourage consumer engagement through clicking, responses, and other activities also
promote additional interest. Website functionality was documented as one of the most important factors in
securing consumer sales. The top component of website functionality is detailed product information. Other
factors that contribute to website functionality are solid search capabilities, live help options, better navigation,
accessible contact information, efficient check-out/purchasing process, offerings that meet individual needs,
and increasingly better access via other digital modes (mobile and social media). Fast and efficient are key
components. Online privacy is an ongoing concern to consumers as well. Websites that provide opt-out
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MAR 3211, Consumer Behavior 3
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE
Title

options and a statement to consumers regarding the company’s use of their private information will also
increase trust and reduce privacy concerns, which ultimately could increase sales and brand equity with the
company. Companies also typically offer opt-in e-mail updates, which are only partially effective as
consumers tend to opt out to avoid a volume of e-mails.

Important concepts within the online search functions include behavioral targeting and search engine
optimization (SEO). Behavioral targeting tracks consumers’ click patterns on websites that ultimately
determine where and when banner advertisements will appear on the consumers’ computers. This suggests
that consumers will be exposed to products and services that they are actually interested in versus those that
they have no interest in viewing or buying. This, of course, implies that the consumer’s browsing activity does
reflect not only their interests but also their buying interests. An example of this might be if you began looking
at yachts online. Understanding that you cannot afford to buy a yacht, you now would be bombarded with
banner advertisements on yachts. The disconnect here is between desires or wants versus needs and actual
buying potential.

Another online search function of SEO involves techniques that ensure a company’s webpages are not only
accessible to the consumer but also increase the probability that the consumer will actually find these
webpages. This technique suggests that as the consumer searches for a specific product or service, a list of
webpages with the key search words will be listed. Studies have shown that customers tend to only look at
the first page of webpages; thus, it is important for companies to be prioritized on that first page. Obviously,
the top five sites on the list are incredibly valuable because this represents a significant amount of traffic
driven to the website pages of these companies. Companies need to put important category-defining
keywords in their URLs in order to obtain these prestigious positions. Google’s AdWords is a common method
used by many companies. This provides companies with the ability to pay for sponsored listings for specific
search terms.

The use of mobile devices, particularly cell phones, has increased significantly over the years. When asked,
most people have stated that if they forgot their cell phones at home, they would return home to retrieve it.
With this in mind, information searches using mobile devices have also increased. The fact that our cell
phones are conveniently located in our pockets at all times inherently leads to an increase in information
searches on cell phones. Look at these categories of cell phone information-users below.

• Mobirati: These are younger consumers who grew up with cell phones, and they use cell phones for
all decision-making.
• Mobile professionals: These consumers use their cell phones for professional business use as
valuable and efficient information sources.
• Social connectors: These consumers use their cell phones for social connectivity as their means of
communication.
• Pragmatic: These are typically older consumers who learned to use cell phones beyond a
communication tool; they use cell phones functionally, but this group represents the higher-income
group.
• Basic planners: These are older consumers who are not really interested in mobility. They use cell
phones for basic calling or emergencies.

Understandably, some consumers fall into several categories and others into a single category. Whatever the
case, a company needs to understand exactly how its target market will search for information and utilize that
method. For instance, if a company’s target market is elderly folks 85 years or older, spending money on
Google AdWords to reposition the webpage based on web searches is not necessarily an effective method.
Conversely, if a company’s target market is 18- to 25-year-olds, this might be an effective strategy.

Consumers are also increasingly using applications (apps) on their mobile devices for their shopping needs.
Consumers pull up apps before, during, and after shopping in a brick and mortar store. Generally, this
decreases the control and effectiveness of the in-store salesperson. In order for consumers to use these
apps, it needs to be easy, efficient, and information-laden. Without this, the consumer will quickly move on to
the next app.

Broadly speaking, there are multiple marketing strategies that can be employed with respect to
consumer information gathering. These strategies are focused on the needs of the consumer and have
been listed below.

MAR 3211, Consumer Behavior 4
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE
Title

Take a look at this TED Talk by Johanna Blakley who discusses the impact of social media with respect to
dismantling common stereotypes in the media (TED, 2012). Throughout this course, we have discussed the
importance of understanding audiences, including the stereotypes that Johanna discusses in this talk. Click
the link below to access the video.

TED (Producer). (2012, December 19). TEDTalks: Johanna Blakley—Social media and the end of gender
[Video]. Films on Demand.
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ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=48598

Click here to access the transcript for the video above.

Understanding how consumers search for information is important to marketers today as it represents yet
another method for the marketer to understand the target market. Today’s consumers are the most
empowered in history because they have quick and easy access to more information about products and
services than ever before. Catherine Roe, head of consumer-packaged goods at Google, also presented a
TED Talk about consumer behaviors that you may find interesting (TEDx Talks, 2012). It is available in the
Suggested Readings section of this unit. In the video, she explains the significance of consumers now
receiving their information through smartphones and tablets versus televisions and desktop computers (TEDx
Talks, 2012).

The illustration shows information-gathering strategies.
Maintenance strategy: The company’s products are
already purchased habitually by the customer; thus,
the strategy is just to maintain his or her buying.
Disrupt strategy: The customer repeatedly purchases
competitors’ products; thus, the company desires to disrupt this
behavior by enticing the customer to buy its products..
Capture strategy: The customer makes
purchasing decisions based on only a few
criteria such as price and availability.
Intercept strategy: The customer does not usually
consider this brand; thus, the company needs to
attract the attention of the consumer.
Preference strategy: The company needs to more strongly
influence the consumer.
Acceptance strategy: The company needs to
ensure that their product is preferred over
other products.
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MAR 3211, Consumer Behavior 5
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE
Title

References

TED (Producer). (2012, December 19). TEDTalks: Johanna Blakley—Social media and the end of gender
[Video]. Films on Demand.
https://libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login?auth=CAS&url=http://fod.infobase.com/PortalPla
ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=48598

TEDx Talks. (2012, May 25). Consumer behaviors: Catherine Roe at TEDxUChicago 2012 [Video]. YouTube.

Suggested Reading

In order to access the following resource, click the link below.

In this video, Catherine Roe, head of consumer-packaged goods at Google, explains the significance of
consumers now receiving their information through smartphones and tablets versus televisions and desktop
computers.

TEDx Talks. (2012, May 25). Consumer behaviors: Catherine Roe at TEDxUChicago 2012 [Video]. YouTube.

Click here to access the transcript for the video above.


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