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Consumers as Individuals and Decision Making

[Name of Writer]
[Name of Institution]



The practice of consumer behaviour is often misunderstood as only helpful to the

advanced and larger firms whereas it is not the situation. Consumer behaviour is
useful for almost all firms whether it is a small size firm or large firm. In modern
era, the firm that operates without analyzing consumer behaviour will not be able
to serve its customers in an effective and successful manner. The study of
consumer behaviour can assist companies with knowledge of their consumers'
consumption pattern and as well as external and internal influences that affect
their purchase decision.

Task 01

Personal Needs & Motives:

The most substantial internal influence that affects consumers purchase decision is his personal
needs and motives. The need of a consumer can be defined as a lack of something or the difference
between his desired and actual state. Motive is an individual's inner state that encourages him to
satisfy his specific need (Kurtz, MacKenzie & Snow, 2009). This could also be understood with an
example like an individual may be hungry or thirsty that is his actual state and he also has a desire
to be well fed that is his desired state. This need would motivate him to discover a restaurant or hotel
to satisfy his need. All needs of consumers are not possible to define but throughout significant
researches consumers' needs are classified (Consumer behaviour: the road to Effective policymaking, 2005).
By identifying these needs and motives of consumers, US coffee marketers can easily influence their
consumers purchasing decisions. The most substantial need identification model that can be used
by US coffee marketers to motivate their consumers is Maslow's Need Theory. This theory is given
by Abraham Maslow an American psychologist. According to this theory, consumers' needs are
classified in this order that if understood and used to influence consumers can be very helpful:


Understanding of these needs is very essential to direct consumers unfulfilled needs towards
purchase decisions. With this, US Coffee marketers can identify the consumers different needs
related to purchasing a coffee (Dawson & Kim, 2009). Like, a consumer may purchase coffee to
satisfy his thirst, whereas other may purchase it for discussion with friends or business class people.
As well, some others may have different reasons to purchase it like students or office going just want
it to get relaxed and some youngsters want it to have fun and get-together at a coffee shop with
some snacks (Consumer behaviour: the road to Effective policy-making, 2005).
So, every consumer has different needs that may be his basic or psychological needs so before
selling coffee to a target market it is essential to identify the needs of different segments of the target
market (Consumer Behaviour: The Basics, n.d.). Identification of consumers different needs related
to purchasing coffee will significantly assist a coffee marketer in segmenting its target market and
serving them in the most effective manner.

The next substantial internal influence that affects consumers buying behaviour is their own attitude.
Attitude pertains to what an individual feels or thinks about something. It is always reflected in
individuals' acts as well as in their buying patterns. Once a person attitude is formed it is very hard to
change (Dholakia, 2007). If a consumer has some kind of negative attitude towards a specific
product or issue, it will not be easy to change that belief. It is long-lasting general evaluation of
consumers about a product, service or company.

Attitudes inform marketers about their consumers and how well they are established in the overall
market place. Identification of these attitudes can also assist coffee marketers in knowing about their
consumers and their perceptions with a coffee seller (Xia, 2010). US coffee marketers need to keep
in mind that in modern era, consumers are exposed with number of advertisements and information
and they don't remember all of them. However, in this exposure, if they find something conflicting
with their own attitudes is screened easily.
So, it is essential for coffee marketers to design advertisements in an appropriate manner that does
not conflict with US consumers' attitudes. Attitudes of consumers are learned as they are shaped
with their own personal experiences and as well as are influenced by their own ideas and personality
(Dholakia, 2007). As well, individuals' attitudes are also influences by their friends & family members
and extensive media coverage (Kurtz, MacKenzie & Snow, 2009). For operating successfully, it is
essential to influence consumers' attitude that can be done by creating and establishing an effective
perception in their mind.


By serving coffee with all essential facilities, good environment and high quality will assist coffee
marketers in selling coffee to US consumers. Some of the coffee companies are doing well in US like
Starbucks and it is due to their positive image in the minds of its customers in every aspect of its
business and as well towards society. Creation of a positive image is essential to influence
consumers' attitude and this can only be done by serving them effectively in an all-inclusive manner.

An individual's values, attitudes, beliefs and opinions are shaped with his culture. This in turn also
form people attitude towards purchasing specific products or services. Culture of an individual also
gratifies his several emotional needs and due to this they try to protect their cultural values and
beliefs (Singh, 2006). This culture protection is reflected in individuals' behaviour as consumers. This
could also be understood with an example of McDonald that served Indian consumers in a way it
used to serve American consumers. This act of the company made a negative effect on Indian
consumer due to their specific vegetarian culture values (Kotler, 2002).
Culture can develop a consumer need and as well as can also affect the gratification of that need. In
this way, culture depicts how an individual satisfy or fulfil his needs that if identified by coffee
marketers can assist them in serving US consumers in a much more effective way (Rowley, 1997).
By serving coffee in a way that resonate with the priorities of US culture, US coffee marketers can
increase their chances of consumer acceptance and success. They should try to serve coffee with
high quality and different kinds of environment according to the needs of US consumers (Dawson &
Kim, 2009).
For business class people, they should have serve coffee at esteemed and premium prices with
peaceful environment whereas for youngsters they should serve coffee at reasonable prices with
fun-loving environment. Before serving consumers, it is vital that US coffee marketers collect
information about their specific target markets cultural values (Singh, 2006). It can be done by
analyzing their family, religious establishments, and education associations.
With this specific values taught by US culture can be identified easily that in turn can be used to
serve customers (Clemons, 2008). The culture and value related information can be considerably
used by coffee companies marketing managers to create messages and advertisements that are
more likeable and tempting to attract consumers



With the help of discussion of internal and external influences on US consumers purchasing
behaviour, they can be segmented on the basis of demographic, psychographic and location &
culture (Baker & Ozaki, 2008). In regard to demographic segmentation, US consumers can be
segmented on the basis of factors like age, income, gender, and education level. In psychographic
segmentation target market can be segmented on the basis of attitude towards drinking coffee,
attitude towards going out for coffee, attitudes towards coffee price, opinion about coffee shops etc.
In concern to culture or location, market can be segmented into different locations (Kotler, 2002).
On the basis of different types of segmentation approaches, the primary customer segments for
coffee marketers in the United State are:
The Students: This segment mainly involves students of university, collage, and post-collage from
urban cities. It includes students within the 16-22 age range. This segment consumer has lower
income and is very price sensitive to consumer goods such as coffee.
The Leisure: This segment includes people from family and friends that love to have coffee for
enjoying a good conversation. Age of this group people varies from 16-65. It involves people from
different income and education levels so it is a broad group to serve by US coffee marketers.
Business People: This segment represents busy business class professionals that normally aged
between 22 and 55, with moderate to high income and education levels.

Task 02
Decision making process:
Marketing scholars have developed a stage model to illustrate consumer purchasing-decision
process. When consumers make a purchase decision, they usually go through five stages:
recognize problems, search useful information, evaluate options and alternatives, and make
consumption decision and how to react after purchasing. The purchasing process starts long before
the actual purchase and has impact more than expected afterward.

heth & Mittal (2004, p277) pointed customers make decisions in marketplace as buyers, payers and
users. The decisions contains every aspect of product or service consumption, which is including
whether customers want to buy a product or service, what kind of products or services they want to
buy, when they make purchase, who offer products or services for them to buy, and how they pay for
products or services.


When customers are about to purchase products or services, they will be also involved in decision
making process. This decision making process begins with customers' realization of their needs or
wants to buy something and ends with usage, appraisal and benefits of the product or service they
bought. (Wright, 2006, p27)
Wilkie (1994, p475) mentioned that the entire consumer decision process includes four stages,
which are problem identification, information collection, alternatives evaluation, purchase and postpurchase processes. And three stages: problem identification, information collection and alternatives
evaluation can be grouped together as pre-purchase processes. During the pre-purchase process,
consumers will make decisions on what kind of products or services to buy and when they are going
to buy. Wilkie also described the importance of the role of marketers in his book.
2.5.1 Need Recognition & Problem Awareness
The decision process starts when a customer identifies a problem that is required to be solved or a
need that is required to be satisfied. The problem can be any states such as physical problem,
discomfort, disposition, or desires. Customers try to get back to the right track or normal physical
and psychological state by buying something. (Sheth & Mittal, 2004, pp278-279)
Identify need means consumers realize some problems happened in their lives and they need to
purchase a product or service to solve the problems or get back to normal state. Internal stimulus
such as values, attitudes, lifestyles, self-concepts and so on can cause needs. In addition, the need
might be hidden deeply. Consumers might be not aware of their needs. And the needs sometimes
are related to consumers' anxiety of social status or self-esteem crisis. (Wright, 2006, p27)
This stage starts when consumers begin thinking about purchasing something. And it is very
important to both consumers and marketers. For consumers, they need to recognize their problems
and have needs and wants to stimulate purchase desires. For marketers, they can influence
consumers problem identification via many ways such as advertising, presenting products or
services as solutions and so on. (Wilkie, 1994, pp485-486)
2.5.2 Information Search
Customers start looking for information about alternatives after they recognize their needs.
Customers usually do not search for information about all brands but certain brands instead. (Sheth
& Mittal, 2004, p282) (Figure 2.8)
Figure 2.8 (Source: Sheth & Mittal, 2004, p283)
Consumers are able to search useful information about various alternatives by talking to sales
people, asking friends, reading consumer magazines, viewing consumer or product website on
internet, comparing different kinds of products or services. (Wright, 2006, p27)


During this stage, consumers gather useful information about various alternatives through many
ways such as talking to sales staff, reading consumer magazines or going to Internet to compare
and evaluate options. According to Wilkie, there are two essential types of information collection; first
type is incidental learning, which means information collected is not for current decision making but
long term memory. Consumers gain information for making the future purchase decisions. (Wilkie,
1994, p488)
2.5.3 Evaluation of Alternatives
After customers gather all useful information, they need to decide which alternatives they prefer.
Sheth & Mittal mentioned two general categories of choice models: compensatory and noncompensatory.
? Compensatory model: the customer considers all functions and benefits of a product or service
and compares strengths and weaknesses of various alternatives to make a preferred choice.
? Non-compensatory model: according to Sheth & Mittal, non-compensatory model includes four
sub-models: conjunctive, disjunctive, lexicographic, and elimination by aspects. (Sheth & Mittal,
2004, pp293-294)
When consumers finish information collection by asking questions, read related resources
(magazine, website) and real hands-on, all their doubts and rejections have been overcome and
according to price, value, design, features and functions and attractiveness, they will select the best
alternative to purchase. (Wright, 2006, p28)
2.5.4 Purchase
Customers would make purchase when they finish product or service alternatives evaluation. This
step looks straightforward, but sometimes, customers behavior would alter. They may delay
purchase because of tight timing, need of more information or lack of buying ability at that time.
(Sheth & Mittal, 2004, pp298-300)
Customers make up their minds and they are about to purchase products or services. However,
some issues might cause customers to delay consumption or turn around to other alternatives such
as bad-attitude sales personnel, delays and lack of stock. (Wright, 2006, p28)
When consumers make up their minds and also make move toward products or services purchase,
purchase processes would occur. Wilkie suggested the marketers to learn more about consumers'
in-store decision to deal with the failure. Also the marketers should provide good services and
experiences to consumers to attract them. (Wilkie, 1994, pp521-522)
2.5.5 Post-Purchase Evaluation


Purchase doesn't mean the end of customer's decision process. Customers will use current
purchasing experience and usage of the product or service for decision making in future. The postpurchase process includes four steps: decision confirmation (customers identify their purchase
decisions), experience evaluation (customers appraise the buying experience), satisfaction or
disatisfaction (whether customers are satisfied with the products or services) and future response
(wether customers get rid of the products or services or they will continuously choose to buy the
same products or brands). When a customer makes a choice, he needs intensively to test and
confirm if his decision is correct and wise. The outcome of the decision is depending upon his
satisfaction or dissatisfaction, and the outcome will directly affect the customer's future behavior and
response. He may choose to buy the same brand or products repeatedly, complain to the sellers or
never buy the product any more. (Sheth & Mittal, 2004, pp301-305)
Customers usually have some evaluations after they purchase products or services. They may feel
the product or service does not live up to their expectations and meet their needs, or they may think
other alternatives are more suitable and preferable. Once customers have this negative postpurchase evaluation, they might complain to sellers, demand refund or never buy the same product
or brand in future. (Wright, 2006, pp28-29)
This stage includes activities happens after a purchase is made. Post-purchase stage is extremely
important for marketers, as it greatly affects consumers' future purchase decisions. Whether
consumers continue to purchase the same product or brand is strongly depend on this stage. Wilkie
gave some suggestions for marketers to apply in post-purchase stage.

Task 03

Ways that Coffee Marketers can use to Influence the Consumers Buying Decisions
Consumer behaviour is the study of how people, groups, and organizations choose, purchase, utilize
and dispose of goods, services, thoughts, or experiences to gratify their needs and wants (Kotler,
2002). For successful marketing of a product or service, marketers must significantly understand
both the theory and reality of consumer behaviour. Consumers purchasing involves a psychological
processes that consumers go through. First of all they identify needs, discover means to resolve
these needs, make purchase decisions, interpret information, make plans and execute these plans
Consumers' buying behaviours differ at the time of buying different kinds of products. For often
purchased low-cost item, a consumer reacts in a routine response behaviour that include very little
search or decision-making exertions. Purchases that are made occasionally involve limited decisionmaking (Foxall, 1993). On the other when consumers buy an unknown or high-priced product or
service they get engaged in extensive decision-making. The purchase decision of an individual goes
through various stages. Consumer purchasing decision process is significantly affected by several


influences like situational influences, psychological influences and social influences. By identifying
these influences a marketer can easily address its problems related to marketing coffee to its
customers (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2008). Among these influences, one of the most significant
influences is individual influences and it is essential to understand by a marketer when it finds
difficulty in marketing its product or service (Baker & Hart, 2007). Coffee marketers can also resolve
their trouble of selling coffee by developing a better understanding of the specific situational factors
that affect the consumers coffee purchase decision
With the detailed discussion of individual influences that may affect consumers purchasing
decisions, it becomes evident that how this understanding of influences can be used by Coffee
marketers to influence the buying decisions of their consumers (Teare, 1998). Following are the
ways through which coffee marketers can influence consumers' coffee buying decisions:
Designing effective physical surroundings:
Consumers purchase decisions are highly influenced by physical surroundings and by managing
this; coffee company can easily influence its consumers. The coffee marketers need to design wellfurnished stores in which there is homely environment with all essential facilities. A coffee marketer
needs to develop its facilities in a way that customers can find stores at most of the convenient
places of city (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007).
By managing different stores at suitable locations, it will become easy to attract consumers. Store
should be well-equipped with newspapers, magazines and music along with some snacks. In this
way, coffee marketers can easily attract more consumers as nowadays consumers place high
importance facilities provided by a coffee store as well as its ambiance (Zhuang, Tsang, Zhou, Li &
Nicholls, 2006).
Providing most effective Social Surroundings:
If a coffee marketer serves its customers, by understanding their social behaviour or situation, he will
become able in, serving them more effectively. Understanding consumers' social situation is
essential as some people come to have coffee to do their business talks and deals and some are
students who come to get an environment in which they can sit for hours and do their studies
(Docrat, 2007).
On the other hand, some of students and youngsters come for fun with friends. By understanding
customers need, they need to be offered with a good place at store so that their purpose to come
and have coffee can be fulfilled. Store employees should take care of every customer and their
social needs by providing them all facilities and environment that they need (Quester, Neal,
Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007).
Making use of consumers' Time Situation:



Marketers who want to sell coffee should design stores in a way, which provides coffee to customers
in specific time of day or week or the whole day. Some of coffee stores are opened for whole day or
night as consumers may feel to have coffee any time of the day (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer,
Davis & Hawkins, 2007). In addition to this, consumers should be aware with this that the specific
coffee store is opened 24 hours of the day as this will definitely affect their coffee purchasing
decision. As well, stores should serve coffee in specific time periods like in 10 minutes or 15 minutes
with some specific snacks.
By adopting these kinds of time related strategies will significantly affect consumers purchase
decision as nowadays consumers are having lack of time. Due to this, they want to buy product that
accommodate with their time needs (Docrat, 2007). Managing stores for specific times of days and
weeks along with specific serving times will assist a coffee company in substantially influencing
consumers purchase decisions.
Developing Product Purchase Associations:
By developing coffee purchase association with consumers need, will definitely assist coffee
marketers in influencing consumers purchase decisions. Every consumer's wants coffee for different
reasons and associating store offering with consumers need will be very helpful in attracting them.
Stores should be designed in a way that serves youngsters with their need of having fun and
socialization. On the other it should also have peaceful environment in which business people can sit
and talk. Understanding of consumers coffee purchase reasons is quite helpful for developing
effective serving strategies (Quester, Neal, Pettigrew, Grimmer, Davis & Hawkins, 2007).
This should also be done by considering the consumers mood and conditions as some customers
may be student and their spending power may be low. The coffee store should serve coffee at
reasonable price so that it is approachable for anyone. As well, it can also serve premium coffee
servings with snacks for business class or high class people. Pricing and customer service
strategies should be based on consumers purchasing reason, mood and conditions

Consumer behaviour and decision making process has been one of the favorite research topic for
marketers since ages. Authors like Sheth (1974) recommended that consumer decision making is
largely influenced by their family, awareness, knowledge and power of their attitude for the brands
available in the market. Consumers use detailed information and their past experience to minimize
brand ambiguity. Therefore managers must ensure that each purchase experience leads them to
higher satisfaction and positive learning about their product and brand.
Allen m. Weiss, Nicholas h. Lurie, and Deborah j. Macinnis, (2008) mentioned in their paper that
Marketers can play with the psychology of the consumer as consumers compare each product in
their mind. Companies need to identify about the consumers, what they want and which products
make them happy. Fortune 500 companies have chosen marketing activities like advertisement,



pricing, packaging and labeling to attract their customers. Modern marketing practices have moved
on to CRM, service quality which leads to strong brand image and name. Service quality has
emerged as an influencing characteristic in consumers learning, as a goods service quality leads to
positive learning and rewarding experience for the consumer.
Marketers have used this element to understand the needs and want to optimize the satisfaction
level, which is actually developing positive attitude to rebuy the same product. Marketers can use
modern methods to reduce the level of negative out come by spending more on developing
consumer learning and experience. The right use of service quality, customer relation and
satisfaction helps to create long term business with every customer which also reduces the brand
switching. It is also observed that companies and marketers cannot solely depend on learning
determinant. While investigating the determinants it is seen that marketing stimuli also affect the
buyer behaviour. The choice of marketing mix product, place, price, promotion) significantly changes
the taste and choice of buyer. Marketers must design the strategies to reduce the flaws and ensure
that the right message is conveyed to the consumers. The primary aim of marketing is to develop the
need, attract, educate and influence consumers to buy the product. Therefore proper market study,
product design, segmentation and targeting should be ensured by the marketer.