Friday, October 28, 2011

What Goes On In The Front Row

I am currently sitting in the Consumer Behavior classroom, discussing with those sitting around me how our blogs are due on Monday and how we need to get them done. While we are discussing this, Misty pulls out a pack of Extra Kiwi-Watermelon gum and starts to describe how bad it is, how the flavor doesn't last more than five minutes, and how she really regrets her purchase. Brennen and I, being the CB nerds that we are, start talking about buyer's remorse and reference groups. Professor Colvin walks in smiles at our conversation and how well we can implement it into our lives. I then realized how I could use this situation for blog! Misty bought this pack of gum, most likely because she saw an advertisement for it, or she was attracted to the bright packaging or the description of the flavor, and since this particular pack of gum is a low-effort purchase, she didn't give much thought of investing $1.50 into this purchase. All of her steps of the decision process went rather quickly...except for the end evaluation. Her buyer's remorse is so strong that it was brought up in casual conversation. Her negative word-of-mouth has convinced me that this brand and flavor of gum is not worth buying, and Extra gum has lost one more customer. Also, she gave me a piece, and I can attest that this is not the best piece of gum I've ever chewed. So there you have it. The decision making process, buyer's remorse, and reference groups all in a few-minute conversation before Consumer Behavior class. That being said, I should probably start paying attention now, because we have a test on Monday...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

10-6 to 0-7

On any Sunday during the fall, my location is pretty predictable. I am staring at a t.v. watching the Indianapolis Colts. I am decked out in blue and white with my jersey and hat. I have started my pre-game rituals and I am blowing up my twitter feeds about my excitement, joy, and recently extreme frustration. I am calling or texting my family to celebrate the victory or complain about the defeat. For as long as I can remember, I have been a Colts fan. I have spent money on jerseys, posters, flags, banners, hats, hoodies, stickers, away game tickets, and home game tickets. I invest my time. Since I was young, I have invested my time, energy, and money into the Indianapolis Colts.

Over the past 5 years, I have been to over 25 Colts games. I do not own season tickets but would buy them game by game. When someone would suggest to go to a game or when opportunities to purchase tickets game around, I bought them immediately without hesitation and without any regard to the financial risk. The Colts have been the most winning team in the past decade. A win was almost a guaranteed. Fans were almost guaranteed a quality experience, entertainment, and of course a win. There was no uncertainty regarding the outcome of the purchase decision. There was no perceived risk.

Times have changed. The Colts are 0-7 this season and are almost guaranteed a loss. While I still am a Colts fan and will forever be one, I acknowledge the perceived risk of attending a game. The perceived risk is that I will spend money on tickets, food, transportation, parking, and knowing me a jersey too and that the outcome will be disappointing and I will regret my decision.

After going through the decision making process, I bought tickets and I will continue to by tickets no matter the risks. The perceived risks do not have an impact on my purchase but I do acknowledge it. My loyalty and passion override any of the potential risks.

Go Colts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Buying an SLR Camera

A while back I decided to go to Robert’s, a camera store, because I needed a new lens cap for my camera. My parents suggested that I look at the SLR cameras that they had for sale. We began talking with the sales associate who told me about a special deal that they were having this week that lasted for another day or two. He asked me about my camera, and he told me why I might like a new one. I had been thinking about getting a new camera, but hadn’t put too much effort into actively seeking to buy one.

The sales associate made me realize that I had a problem: I wasn’t able to take the best quality pictures that I could take. He talked with me about my actual state and then presented me with the ideal state. He showed me the special features with an SLR, and he displayed a large picture of what I could be taking. I was motivated because it would allow me to take better pictures and get the quality I desired. My goal at that point was to have a nicer camera.

I had one night to make this decision. My parents, who at this time were my reference group, kept presenting me with reasons why I should buy it. I am someone who takes time to make my decisions about expensive products. I considered the pros and cons. The perceived risk was that I would spend too much on something that I didn’t absolutely need and something I might not like. My opportunity was constrained by time. I decided to buy it, and I love my camera!

I learned that sometimes quick decisions can be made in good judgment as long as you still quickly review the pros and cons. I also learned that I have to differentiate between how my reference group feels and how I actually feel because I will be the one using the product. Also, you have to think about the sales associate’s job and make sure you can decipher the truth.

"Mylo Xyloto" Purchasoto

On Monday I was driving back from Indianapolis after meeting my parents for dinner and on the radio was the band Coldplay conducting an interview about their new album. I own all of their albums so far and love the band, so instead of switching to a station with music playing I stopped and listened to the interview, enjoying listening to them talk about the new album and its release. As soon as I got back, I went and bought Coldplay’s new album, Mylo Xyloto, on iTunes. What caused this immediate impulse purchase?

Throughout our text we discuss the decision making process and how it affects our purchase habits. When I bought the new Coldplay album, the first thing I noticed was that I had a problem. The interview I heard created a new ideal state in which I had and could listen to the Coldplay CD. On the radio they were playing Coldplay’s older songs and one of their new songs, but this sample created a problem for me that Coldplay released a new album and I needed to listen to it.

I then began to internally search for information about the product and for solutions. I searched internally and considered the couple songs I had already heard from the album and compared them to past Coldplay songs. I even searched externally asking a friend of mine who also loves Coldplay if he liked the new album or not. This decision was mainly low effort, so I did not search very long and quickly moved on to evaluating my alternatives.

I remembered a couple other bands I enjoyed that had come out with new CD’s as well and weighed my past experiences and listening pleasure among them. This was mostly affective based as I thought about my emotional feeling after listening to the CD. I also evaluated my alternatives in purchase. From my evoked set, I considered getting the physical CD from Wal-Mart, digitally download from iTunes, or illegally download the album. The most convenient and cheapest choices were online, so I narrowed down my selections. I chose iTunes because I support Coldplay and love their music, so I wanted to support them with my money instead of “stealing” the music.

I then made my purchase decision and bought the album on iTunes. I listened to the whole album as soon as it finished downloading and have listened to it numerous times in the past two days. As I moved onto my post-decision evaluation, I posted on my Facebook my liking toward the new Coldplay CD and found I had other friends who felt the same way. This reinforced my purchase decision and made me feel even better about my decision. The CD was great and that small purchase was just one example of how we use the decision making process in our purchasing habits every single day.

Short Shelf Life = Popularity

One thing that I have noticed when I go to any grocery store is that people, (including me) sometimes decide to buy certain brands based on how many products are on the shelf. For example, when I went into the grocery store yesterday, I noticed that there were many people in the candy aisle (which makes sense because it’s almost Halloween). I observed these people for a few minutes and I noticed someone who picked up a bag of candy and considered it, while looking over to the candy nearby that was almost sold out. After thinking about for a couple of seconds they put the candy down that they were holding and decided to purchase the other one instead. The two bags of candy were around the same price, but the fact that one type of candy was almost sold out might imply that it is a better brand of candy. I didn’t even realize that I did the exact same thing when I was buying vegetable oil. I picked up the Crisco because that was what I was used to getting, but then I noticed that a lot more people had been purchasing Wesson. They were almost the exact same price, and I never thought about the possibility of the Crisco having been restocked. I just noticed that there was less Wesson on the shelves than Crisco, and I automatically thought “this must be the one that’s more popular.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beaten at my own game

Today, I did something that many college students never achieve: I reached 100 monthly points on my Kroger Plus card. I'll take applause later. I wasn't familiar with Kroger before I moved to the south, but for each 100 points a customer earns in a month, the store will take 10 cents per gallon off their gas price. This allowed me to fill my tank today for $3.19 a gallon.

"Congratulations, you saved 80 cents," my boyfriend laughed cynically as I returned to the car. I hadn't thought about it like that before. I had worked so diligently to buy my groceries from one store (sorry, Walmart!) I had paid attention to my point total so my October points wouldn't expire! I had done everything right. But I'd only saved 80 cents? I'd totally fallen prey to Weber's Law.

Why is it that the price of gas messes with our heads so much? My just noticeable difference for gas is only one cent. After growing up with gas being a dollar or so a gallon, my understanding of present day prices is totally skewed. But to fill my entire 12 gallon tank at Kroger's discounted rate, I would only save about $1.20... not even enough to buy me a sip of my normal coffee drink at Starbucks.

Marketers manipulate pricing all the time to make consumers believe they are getting a great deal, and each person's just noticeable difference for each product is a little bit different. Kroger marketing department: you got me.