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|Abstract paper research to be conducted||Drawing upon cognitive emotion theory, we developed a model and showed how beliefs about functional convenience online store merchandise attractiveness and ease of use and. Full Text Available Consumer behaviour when purchasing wine is the result of a complementary operation of the large number of different factors, which may include economic, geographic, social, psychological, and other. The paper presents the aim and outline Retail and wholesale buying behaviour for two different food products in six Eastern European countries. Visual attention is thus crucial for understanding consumer behavioureven in the cluttered supermarket environment, but it cannot be captured by measurements of visual saliency alone. In contrary, the exposure of an ad in traditional media is limited to the direct or pass-along readers.|
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Our experts in consumer research can help you narrow down your interest area and produce a well-defined PhD research topic. We offer unique, original, and effective research topic to each of our clients to conduct their research. For more information, contact us at helpforphd thesisindia. Thesis India. Quick Connect. SEO Services by Emarketz. Buyers are the people who are acting either as ultimate, industrial, or institutional purchasers.
The latter one, consumer, refers to individuals who purchase for merely ultimate use, which is more restrictive in terms of meaning Sternthal and Craig ; that is, the end-users for whom the products or services are ultimately designed for. If not, each of them should be fully committed, loyal, enthusiastic, repeated consumers; however, this is not the case.
Today the accessibility and transparency of information has profoundly influenced the decision making process; therefore, it is important to examine what are the hurdles and fiction points that hold prospects becoming consumers, or keeps consumers hesitating from repurchasing.
Silverman Figure 1. As the figure Figure 1 shows, the model has interpreted consumer behavior into five stages — 1 Problem recognition, 2 search of information, 3 evaluation of alternatives, 4 final decision, and 5 post purchase decisions. Sternthal and Craig 2. After the realization of a problem, it initiates the search for information before any typical buying action.
When an individual is triggered externally, for instance, a person may see a television advertisement for a vacation, the stimuli triggers thoughts or ideas about the possibility of making a purchase Kotler and Keller Nowadays, the mass media is no longer the only source of information, which may serve as a trigger of a purchase to individuals. Filter, in this case, is a fact of being overlooked because of too much information competing in the marketplace Silverman Internal search indicates former information and experience of an individual will result in future behavior that the consumers will be likely to take Solomon, Bamossy and Askegaard Essentially, competitive brands provide alternatives for consumers who are willing to find the best solution to their problems or needs, even they may offer same products or services.
In order to ensure the outcome within the expectation, individuals require relevance of experience. Direct and indirect experience, which individuals, serve as indicators during the buying process. Direct experience is not always preferred since individuals are inexperienced towards specific products, which may result using it in an unskilled manner and have negative experience with it. Most often, if negative experiences take place, they are most likely to be costly both financially and time , risky, or even damaging to reputation.
Besides, several studies have provided evident findings that the decision maker will increasingly seek ways to simplify the evaluation process when a decision becomes more complex Bruner, Goodnow and Austin ; Association for Psychological Science Kotler and Keller have suggested that during the course of evaluation, consumer eventually forms preferences among the brands in the choice desk, however, there are two factors, which can interfere between the purchase intension and purchase decision — attitude of the others and unanticipated situational factors Likewise, Kotler has also stated that consumers are undoubtedly influenced by the infomediaries who publish their evaluations e.
Kotler and Keller The stages in the decision process are not followed sequentially, but rather in a cyclically order; that is, in reality there are loops, for instance between information search and evaluation, consumer learns about new criteria not previously considered Bettman Two potential outcomes are derived from this phase — satisfaction or dissonance. Sternthal and Craig It is a phase when the consumer decides whether or not to move from merely implementing the product to a full adaption; that is, whether to use the product repeatedly or repurchase or not.
Since consumer always has a choice regarding the products priority, frequency of usage, and new circumstances of new uses. When individuals are comfortable in using a specific product regularly, they will recommend it to others from using the product as well.
Stages in decision making involves many psychological factors, which the above five-stages buying model has failed to explicate; thus, the following discussion focuses on attitude and the psychological components mentioned in the information processing theory proposed by Bettman It is composed of three elements — cognitive, affective, and conative. Cognitive refers to the awareness or knowledge, such as, a brand; affective are the positive and negative feelings associated with a certain brand; and conative is the intention to purchase Smith , In general, individuals, for whom marketers most likely want to persuade, are the most challenging to reach.
Sternthal and Craig have implied few examples of a common observation such as Republicans are more likely to be exposed to Republican propaganda than Democrats, or nonsmokers comprise the majority of the audience for anti-smoking appeals, these evident investigations have provided the fact that information exposure is selective.
Sternthal and Craig , An attitude is usually learned from the result of a positive or negative experience, which the individual has with a certain product Smith , In a review relating to the differences between attitudes based on direct or indirect experience, Fazio and Zanna have stated that attitudes based on indirect experience depends on the expertise and credibility of the source of information.
Adversely, in situations where consumers typically seek out information initiatively, the perspective in viewing information is considered as an active approach Sternthal and Craig Also, buying decisions are often made very quickly, such as consumers are likely to reduce the dimensions they consider during brand choice under the pressure of time Wright , see Ratneshwar, Mike and Reitinger The fact that human beings have a limited capacity for processing information is a very important notion, because it impacts the various components in the decision process; such components as motivation, attention, information search and retrieval, and so on are subjected to the constraints imposed by the processing capacity limitation Bettman Since individuals make choices continually, therefore motivation impacts not only on the direction affecting choice of one behavior over another but also on the intensity of behavior the capacity allocations on a particular activity.
In the perspective of psychology, attention refers to the amount of mental effort or cognitive capacity allocated by an individual to the stimulus environment or task at hand Foxall et al. According to Sliverman , in order for the information to be processed, the recipient must pay attention to it; in like manner to selective information exposure, attention is selective.
Individuals are highly selective in the kinds of stimuli that they pay attention to — focal attention, and tend to neglect stimuli that are nonfocal Fennis and Stroebe , Focal attention is typically divided into two types — voluntary and involuntary Kahneman Voluntary allocation of attention is, most often, impelled by the need to attain some goal or is driven by long-standing involvement with the product area Foxall et al.
Since voluntary attention is highly selective, thus it is commonly found marketers devoting vast amount of money and time in reaching involved consumer Foxall et al. In contrary, involuntary attention is attracted by environment stimuli Foxall et al. Individual tends to look for and see what they have expected, because interpretations of information are quickly constructed in consistent with concepts in memory, and interpretation of stimuli requires an actively analysis utilizing information stored in memory Bettman , People tend to be drawn towards environment where a disproportionate amount of information is consistent with their initial opinion.
Namely, individual typically live in a community with individuals who share the similar values and perspectives, and it caters to their lifestyle; hence, it is not surprising that individuals are unlikely be aware of information that is contradicted to their lifestyles.
Perceptual interpretation of stimuli will often influence the subsequent direction of attention — they are continually interacting. Since consumers are likely to respond to a louder noise, such as a novel stimulus, such events then lead to interruptions of current information processing. Bettman has further proposed two types of interrupting events, which seems most relevant to attention and perceptual encoding — conflicts and learning about the environment.
Individuals can have various responses to conflicts, for instance ignoring it, changing emphasis on certain criteria, search for new information, and so on. The second major interruption highlights that individuals may often learn about the purchasing environment even if it may not be relevant to current purchasing decision.
Bettman When information is sought externally — for instance from friends, packages, advertising, and so forth, the actual external information found would significantly influence the future course of the search in which it may involve changing the goal, and redirecting attention and perceptual encoding.
There are many circumstances that will impact the decision regarding when the information search should be stopped, such as the perceived costs of obtaining information e. As discussed previously, individuals may often learn about the environment, in which results in information intake unconsciously; in other words, individual is not actively searching for the piece of information. Advertising in this case is considered as an interruption that leads to a goal reordering — for instance, consumer may purchase a product, which is broadcasted on television.
Organizing the acquired information entails the combination of the bits of information that the consumer has acquired Sternthal and Craig , During this stage, consumer relates incoming information to his or her existing structure of beliefs and values Bettman Howard postulated see in Sternthal and Craig that if the alternative desired is identified, then the consumer may search for information about prices and stores where that alternative is available, for instance the price levels, locations, service capabilities, and so on.
Bettman has suggested that the relative information availability within the particular choice environment affects the type of information consumer seeks for. For example, he mentioned, particular alternatives may be only available at particular stores, or vise versa, which makes the search for the dealer be extensive In his findings, he has brought up the temporal patterns of source usage found in innovation search by Rogers Rogers states that mass media sources tend to be used during the earlier awareness and interest stages of adoption whereas word-of-mouth communication tends to be most used during later evaluation and trial stage see in Bettman Bettman has indicated that the decision process does not follow a sequential flow, but rather a cycling procedure; that is, if conflict arouses, attention and perceptual encoding may be redirected regarding the solution of the conflict, eventually it may result in a change of decision choice.
For the purpose of this research, and in order to avoid any confusion, the above mentioned terms will be defined, despite the fact that social media is the central gravity of the research. In regards of the term Web 2. O'Reilly Alternatively, Web 2.
Regardless of what the standardized definition per se would be, many of the existing studies and articles have stated out the common core purpose of social media. Social media has created a new landscape in supporting the socialization of information Solis , as a result it has facilitated and enhanced communication flow by making it easier and to more people, and to spread useful information with potentially vast online audiences Smith and Zook , 10 , in which the conversation may be taken place on media locally but lead to a global impact.
Figure 3. Nonetheless, social media expedites the flow of communication by encouraging contributions and feedback from everyone who is interested, and it is a two-way conversation when comparing to the traditional media because social media outlets are open up to feedback and participation Mayfield More importantly, social media is the democratization of content.
Solis Each of these social media platforms has provided unique features and experiences to individuals and entities, for instance marketers and consumers, in the social media sphere. To consumers, they are the outlets, which present wealth opportunities for establishing a closer relationship with the brand via several functions — fan pages, plug-in applications, and groups. Recently, Empathica have conducted a survey about the U. The survey population is more than 6, U. In other words, individuals get to control and customized their news streams, this special attribute of social news site facilitates the democracy which creates values to users.
Youtube and Flickr are outlets where individuals can upload, store, and share their multimedia files, for instance photos, videos, and music, with other users. One of the major elements of these media-sharing sites has to be highlighted is the tag. Blogs create good hubs for other social media marketing tools videos, hyperlinks, pictures, and so on , because they can be integrated into the platforms and posts; besides, blog software provides a variety of social features such as comments, blogrolls, trackbacks, and subscriptions Zarrella , 9.
On the other hand, Weber has pointed due to the fact that blogs allow everyone to publish and to join multithreaded conversations online, in which some of the bloggers have no editorial restrains and have access to the entire Web; as a result, their posts can impact personal, products, or brand reputation harmfully. Microblogging allows users to spread their short-texted messages via instant messages, mobile phones, e-mails, or the Web.
For instance, Twitter, launched in , is one of the primal and leading microblogs that currently has over million users as of and handles over 1. Obviously, Twitter provides companies with leverage via Internet traffic by creating a buzz on online communities, as users get the essence and concise information through short-texted posts.
Many companies have been using Twitter to tap into the business prospects, influencers, and customers; by doing so, businesses are able to take advantage in relationship building, achieving on-line and offline marketing objectives, and brand building etc. Weinberg Retweet is one of the most powerful mechanisms to marketers, in which individuals can copy and paste what others have posted onto their Twitter stream.
Consequently, the certain tweet gets to spread virally in a furious speed Ingram It is no longer a striking fact that most of the advertisements via mass media are not as efficient as in the past, because by advertising through the mass, the message is generally reaching far more people than the potential customer intended to reach Weber ; Weinberg Social web is where people with a common interest can gather to share thoughts, comments, and ideas; hence, instead of continuing as broadcasters, marketers should become aggregators of customer communities; that is, the Web should not be considered as a mere advertising channel, it is a place where marketers can listen and respond to communities, review contents, as well as promote a particular piece of content within the vast social sphere community building Weber Upon the insufficient advertising budget that companies oftentimes encounter via the traditional channels, social media marketing might be, particularly, easier and more effective for small and medium-size companies to take maximum advantage of it.
Weber Social media offers opportunities to achieve communities, once company has established its presence as a community participant worth following, eventually others will be likely interested in what it shares and pass to the relevant ones Weber Besides, in the phase of the new marketing era, bringing the brand to alive depends solely upon the engagement within communities Weber ; Silverman , as a result if company is genuinely paying attention to the members of the community, a strong relationship can be built upon investing time in responding on feedbacks and concerns.
The fortunes of advertising have grown alongside with the growth of mass media, however this growth has stopped these years. Smith and Zook In fact, there are many sport brands in the marketplace are taking social media marketing as a vital component in their businesses, in which they look at effective ways to gain a more detailed understanding of their social media fanbase. Nike has been putting more marketing muscle behind its digital initiatives, for instance by taking social media marketing in-house, claiming that online channels are more valuable to its business strategy than traditional advertising.
Joseph Social media platforms has radically changed the approach of segmentation in implanting marketing strategy, instead of easily identified demographics, such as age, gender, or income are relatively less important, it groups people by what they do, think, like, and dislike, and more importantly by their behaviors, also known as behavioral targeting.
Many marketing experts Drury ; Mayfield ; Weber ; Weinberg have always emphasized that since marketing via social media is rather about receiving and exchanging perceptions and ideas, which makes social media marketing no longer one dimensional but a two-way process engaging a brand and an audience Drury as well as a creation of increasingly visualize contents Weber Drury has argued that with social media in particular, the content of advertising and branding must be provided as relevant value-added content that is more about consumer, rather than brash product placement.
The following section discusses on how consumers are affected by social media, and identify which would be the considerate phase of the purchase process that marketers should tap into. Each of the social media platforms plays a role in giving out, receiving, and exchanging information without any boundary limitations, and as mentioned previously that social media enables two-way flow of information. When Zagat and Amazon started inviting individuals such as consumers and users to give their opinions, there was no stopping the trend Weber ; that is, the communication in present-day has drastically altered into a medium that is composed of millions of people who can actually contribute or detract from a marketing message.
Consequently, comparing to offline traditional marketing channels such as television, newspaper, magazines, and so on , word-of- mouth solely relies on social media outlets in this digital age Knowledge Wharton on Forbes , due to the fact that websites allow users to create their own virtual spaces in which fosters and ignite the word-of- mouth.
Conversation in traditional media is one-way: the company spoke, an audience listened. Mass messages are filtered through opinion leaders to the mass audience, in which opinion leader is very hard to be identified since they are not formal experts and do not necessarily provide advice but have a certain degree of influence on consumers Katz and Lazarsfeld In the notion of communication models theories Goldenberg, Han and Lehmann , the findings Katz and Lazarsfeld ; Bulte and Wuyts have provided that opinion leaders are those initially exposed to certain media content who interpret the message based on their own opinion, and are more active than others both in seeking information and in conveying it to others.
See Wuyts et al. Listeners, in turns, subsequently feed back to the opinion leaders. Figure 4. As it is said, social media has put consumers back to the center by enabling them to engage in conversations, and neither decisions are no longer to be made by few individuals nor the message being sent to the masses by the brand owner.
Smith and Zook have pointed out that customers, first, talk to each other C2C with the online platforms came the easier facilitation of customer communities, and secondly back to the company C2B. Mangold and Faulds Figure 5. Eventually, information and feedbacks are constantly circulating among the online communities and individuals are able to access to the information easily.
Besides, considering that an average Internet user has social ties Hampton et al. During the phase of information acquisition in the decision process, consumers are influenced by external and internal source of information, Glodenberg, Han, and Lehmann see Wuyts et al , have explicated that internal sources of information are previous adopters of the innovation who can influence potential adopters by digesting, analyzing, filtering, customizing, and spreading word-of-mouth and functioning as role models in the market.
Figure 6. He further explicates the proposed situation with an example of a search for a company Comcast on Google between different time period, in and in Figure 7. If the negative press is highly visible, consumers may likely to look to a competing brand that is not facing a bad press while marking the purchase decision.
As a result, social media platforms have added more dimensions to the communication, rather than having most of the messages flowing from the organization. As a matter of fact, the proliferation of social media is a double-edge sword. While social media has empowered the consumers due to they have access to information which previously was not available for them, has accelerated information flow, as well as has allowed discussions happened globally, yet social media has also offered marketers with the tools to better target their consumers more efficiently, to cultivate relationship among groups of consumers, as well as to exploit new opportunities Constantinides and Fountain Preferences and decision marking are prompted depend upon the inputs provided by parties beyond the control of online marketers, such as peer reviews, referrals, blogs, social networks, and other forms of user-generated content.
According to the presented diagram, see Figure 8, within a traditional shopping environment, consumers are most likely to be affected by the traditional marketing mix e. Constantinides and Fountain Figure 8. Regarding the phase of marketers tapping into the purchase process with social media, Evans has presented the classic purchase funnel model as an indicator of how social media has impacted on consumer decision making process in different stages.
Figure 9 illustrates the purchase funnel and the buying phases of awareness, consideration, and purchase. Figure 9. In comparison to traditional media, since social media connects with and involves consumers from awareness all the way through consideration in which simultaneously tackles awareness and consideration instead of inciting a purchase from the awareness perspective.
Google conducted a research in U. S, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, and Brazil associating with the customer journey to online purchase, the research has shown different marketing channels influence the customer at different points in the path to purchase. In all the targeted countries, social media serves as an assisting channel in which to build awareness, consideration, and intent earlier in the purchase funnel. Sliverman has also stated that there are many brands competing for attention, therefore an interesting blog post or a compelling video on YouTube can be the stage quo in which a prospect pays attentions and gains awareness of a product or a service.
During the stages of consumer decision process, social media is applicable as both a prompt awareness and as a validation support the purchase decision takes place. Evans As indicated previously, one of the most valuable aspects of social media is in building and maintaining a feedback loop, as the conversations are more dynamic and flow in two-way.
The difference that social media has impacted on the purchase funnel is the accessibility and transparency of experiential data generated by current customers for the benefit of the next wave of shoppers and prospects. Although there is an obvious decline in the usage of traditional channels both from marketing and consumer perspectives, traditional media still takes a part of the picture in terms of triggering awareness.
Furthermore, Evans has explicated the importance to denote the role of the social feedback cycle as a purchase validation tool Figure 10 ; that is consumer may find out a particular product or service or either television, radio, or magazine, and then consumer can verify it on Internet.
Figure Word of mouth is self-generating, self- contained, and it costs nothing, besides it is increasingly manifesting itself through social media, where it spreads both farther and faster. Silverman has suggested the phenomenon of individuals liking to review products or services and engage in word of mouth is due to the basis of Zagat guides to restaurant, and it expects consumers to vote on everything from cruise lines to cookware; as a result, customer review becomes particularly important Weber and word of mouth has become an attribute of a product Silverman In contrary, the exposure of an ad in traditional media is limited to the direct or pass-along readers.
It is noticeable that the delivery of word-of-mouth is an efficient way to make decision easier, instead of confusing and low credibility information in the form of traditional marketing. The Social Web has had a pronounced impact on how people view their ability to gather unbiased information, to seek, find, and obtain a wider range of products and services, and to talk with others about actual experiences both before and after purchase.
This research strives to provide a clearer, and perhaps a better, understanding to both consumers and companies of why, when, and how social media has impacted on decision making process. It may also offer possible insights for companies to identify the pitfalls and opportunities in the new marketing era. In essence, the dominant approach of this research involves the development of a theory that is subjected to a rigorous test, where the theoretical framework provides the basis of explanation, permit the anticipation of phenomena, predict their occurrence and therefore allow them to be controlled.
Hussey and Hussey , Secondary data — theoretical framework serves as the foundation for this research, and primary data aims to answer the objectives stated in the research and to provide evidence in supporting the secondary data. The primary data of this research were collected through questionnaires from individuals in Finland. Theoretical part regarding steps and components constituting the consumer decision making process has demonstrated a systematic approach in buying of the stages individuals would engage in a potential market transaction before, during, and after the purchase.
By getting a general perspective on the current buying behavior in Finland, this research also aims to provide new insights regarding the impacts of social media on different demographics age and gender in the decision making process. The following chapter explains the choice of research method, how the data was gathered and analyzed, as well as the evaluation of reliability and validity regarding the research. Although it is usually better to link quantitative data with other methods such as in-depth interviews in order to complement the findings of a research Saunders et al.
For the purpose of this research, quantitative data was gathered and utilized. With the strategy of survey, it allows the collection of a large amount of data from a sizeable population in a highly economical way Saunders et al. Since the scope of the research focuses on a geographical area; thus the aim of the research method is to reach individuals ranging in different age and gender groups within Finland, and the more responses are collected the higher the credibility of the findings are.
Besides, the survey was not created merely as a collection of quantitative data, because few open-ended questions are included where respondents can have a chance to comment, to express, or to add extra. By adding open-ended questions to survey data collection, it helps the researcher to gain valuable qualitative information and insights for deeper analysis. While comprehending the qualitative data, Saunders et al. The survey was carried out in the form of questionnaire.
Since there was only one chance to collect the data, the researcher had to identify precisely of what data is needed, and to design the questionnaire in order to meet the research objectives Saunders et al.
The questions Appendix 2 for the questionnaire were designed and built closely upon the theoretical framework — decision making process, information processing theory, and social media marketing, which has discussed thoroughly in previous chapters of the research. Since the researcher had to keep an appropriate length of the questionnaire, thus, not every theory discussed previously could all be included in the questionnaire.
The logical order of the questions was structured mainly based on the steps carried out during the decision making process — problem recognition, serach of information, evaluation of alternatives, final decision, and post purchase behaviour. Components of information processing theory were integrated in the questions as well. Condiering the matter of subjectivity, the use of close questions was critical in order to allow statistical conclusions to be made in a relatively objective manner; likewise, a few open-ended questions allow individuals to develop own responses, and may reveal attitudes or facts Grummit The questionnaire was sent out via school e-mail see Appendix 1 to all international business program students and teachers in TUAS, as well as all personal contacts of the researcher who are currently living in Finland, which yields the sample size to be approximately individuals.
Participation was voluntary and the questions were designed in English. Analyses and conclusions of the research are made upon actual numerical facts of the colleted data, in order to obtain verified and applicable data. As for the reliability of the research, it refers to to the stability of a measure, and the extent to which the data collection method will yield consistent analysis. Saunders et al. The sample group of respondents was decided to enclose as many people as possible in order to receive many answers, and finally altogether questionnaires were completed in which delivers a good range of answers to yield consistent findings and sufficient extent upon; thus, reliable conclusions can be made.
The set of questions based on the theories discussed in preceeding chapters were sent to all possible individuals who are currently living in Turku Region, Finland. Each question and response option associates with componenets of theories, and they have been modified in order to allow respondents to understand easily and to avoid any potential error in misunderstanding.
In total the questionnaire contains 31 questions. In the upcoming sections, analysis and the findings are presented; as for conclusions and further suggestions, they are discussed in the next chapter. Since the collected data covers a wide range of demographic, therefore the following analysis is carried out in examining the general consumers behavior in Turku, instead of a particular segmentation.
Considering that, previously discussed in Chapter 2. By identifying which channels or platforms are mostly used, it can help to understand how consumers are actually exposed to information and the type of source they are exposed to. Also, by comparing the usage between social media platforms and mass media channels, it can reveal whether mass media is lossing its effectiveness in advertising among the targeted group or not. The choice of the social platforms are narrowed down into 5 catagories, and the reason of doing so has already indicated in the preceeding chapter see chapter 3.
The reason is to examine whether the time of exposure to information via social media platforms comparing to mass media channels may imply to one of the reason that advertising via mass media may not be as effective as it was before see Smith and Zook , Despite the age groups, in combination of the answers, an individual spends an average of 6.
Time spent on social Figure In order to uderstand better the factors which cause attitude, and how attitudes affects and altered during the course of decision making process, several questions were asked. Answers were combined into the figure An actual consumption in this case refers as trying or using the particular product or serivce.
Prejudgment leads to the types of information which individuals would seek for. The resons of causing this pheonomenon are discussed in the upcoming sections in associating with the relevant questions. Adversely, the data cannot tell if social media has a great effect in triggering individuals to realize their problems or needs which would lead to a purchase. However, information searching does not necessarily mean the search is relating to products or services.
This indicates that there are certain reasons which keep individuals in performing a search via social media before a purchase, such as the credibility of the source, the available time, the available information, etc. The source of information on social media used most and least Respondents were inquired the source of information on social media which they use before a purchase base on the frequency, figure However, social media at this point helps these young products, services, or brands to deliver their presence to individuals.
In theory, when consumers have accumulated sufficient information, they undertake an alternative evaluation according to their motives or goals Sternthal and Craig Direct or indirect experience serve as an indicator at this stage of buying process, in which social media provides means for consumer to gather information of indirect experience regarding their initial preference of purchase. The questions which fall under this section are to find out the perspectives that consumers are holding towards information available on social media and on mass media.
As in previous section, the findings have shown that social media has provided a more powerful platforms where new products, services, or even new brands to be noticed in the marketplace. However, this does not imply that social media could influence consumers to actually try these products and services. According to the data, it reveals that contents available on the social media have a different degree of effect on different age groups, which is presented in the following table.
Table 1. Since both mass media and social media have provided certain amount of information to consumers, and the critical determinant which differ them is the credibility of them. Thus, respondents were inquired to mention their beliefs in how credible and reputable the information on social media is comparing to those on meass media. Then, respondents were asked to express their opinion. Both communication models of traditional media and social media see chapter regarding social media and consumer have mentioned individuals who share their reviews, comments, or experiences though the social media can be referred as opinion leader, in which they have a certain degree of influence on consumers.
With the available platforms on social media, the gathered data has proven that information is easier to find and the flow of information is faster and access to more individuals; that is, everyone can be an opinion leader and has a certain degree of influences on the Internet over the others. Change of initial preference after a search of information on social media From the above, one can observe that information available on social media has a certain degree of influence on consumer behavior; that is, a change in attitude positive or negative can be made prior to purchase.
Likewise, companies can utilize the platforms on social media to interact with consumers in order to strive for building up a better and stronger relationship. This expression has indicated that consumers are undoubtedly influenced by the infomediaries who publish their evaluations Kotler and Keller Thus, after a purchase and a consumption, it is critical to identify the actions of individuals would carry out in particular with the access to social media sites.
As the below Figure 20 shows, when respondents were asked if they were likely to share their opinions comments, reviews, or related articles etc. Willingness to voice out As Figure 21 has shown the comparison in percentage between two variables — available of effective communication platforms and whether individuals are encouraged or not. It is observed that even social media has provided an effective communication platform to consumers, yet individuals do not feel encouraged to join the conversation.
From one of the collected opinions question 31 , the respondent has denoted that mass media oftentimes initiates a thought in purchase or introduces a new product, then s he will then use social media to seek information relating to certain products or services. Consumer may find out a particular product or service or either television, radio, or magazine, and then consumer can verify it on Internet. Table 2. In regards of the nature of the information on social media, two factors have been mentioned from the received comments — accessibility and transparency of the information; it has proven the suggestion made by Evans for the purchase funnel in present-days, in which social media has imapcted by providing experiential data from current customers for the benefit of the next wave of shoppers and prospects.
With social media, the quantity of information concerning any kind of products or services is particularly enormous when comparing to mass media; hence, some of the responses have indicated that individuals have to filter out the relevant information based on whay they are looking for, which in responds to the behavior in association with contents evluation as Silverman has denoted see Chapter 5.
Besides, there are few intriguing responses that the researcher has come across to: 1. Some of the purchase decisions are taken place in the actual shop by comparing the packages and prices etc. Respondents are aware of themselves being an active role in information exposure. The amount of information available to us increases in each new day, as a result, we are overwhelmingly exposed and attained to different aspects of information via the Social Web.
The central gravity of the research was to explain why, when, and how social media has impacted on consumer decision making process both in theory and in practice. There is a generous amount of reports relating to social media marketing which are primarily aimed to help businesses benefit from this marketing trend. Oftentimes, businesses assume that they are on the right track in the new marketing era, for instance engaging customers by creating a Facebook page; in fact, customers may not share the same picture as businesses may have.
Therefore, the research was carried out in the perception of consumers in Finland , which was aimed to explain the impacts of social media on different stages in their decision making process, by finding out how consumers perceive social media in the entire process. Additionally, the research, perhaprs, could help company to gain new insights from this perspective and to identify potential pitfalls and opportunities via social media, for instance to develop appropriate ways to tab into the decision making process at the right time or to have a better understanding of why their social media marketing campaigns may not be executing as they would have anticipated.
The five stages in the buying model served as a basis of the logical order of how the survey was carried out and the theories in social media provided guideines on which set of questions would grasp the research questions. The following chapter presents the conclusions drawn from the research findings. Nontheless, further discussions and limitations are outline and deliberated.
Research questions were designed to narrow down the subject and to help the researcher to identify the explanations of the issue. The three research questions for this thesis were as follow: 1. To begin with, social media has brought profound changes to both consumers and businesses, the findings of this research are consistent with the theories presented in the theoretical framework, Chapter 2 to 4.
The collected data from the survey is elaborated in association with the presented theories in Chapter 6 Data Analysis of the research. The aforementioned theories and the data analysis of the research have both proven that, no matter it is in association with social media or mass media, consumers are highly selective in attending, process, and selecting the information before a purchase takes place. Information exposure is highly selective in the initial stage of information, because consumers have the selections of information source, in which determinates the type of information that consumer will be exposed to.
To be noted, personal attitude is a crucial factor which underlines during the course of information acquisition and evaluation. As a result, not ony judgments regarding products or services are presumably based, but also it is an vital determinant of the information consumers will seek out, in which it eventually affects the extent of the information reception.
At the essence, all platforms available on social media have offered a two-way communication flow, which is highlighted theoretically and practically. Consequesntly, this principle feature of social media has created a new landscape in supporting the socialization of information, and has forced marketers to give up what they old mindset in dealing with mass media marketing.
As the collected feedbacks from the individuals, it has emphasized that, in particular with social media, consumers are able to access to customer experiences and word of mouth, in which supasses the marketing and advertising mumbo-jumbo or polished slogans. In other words, marketing via social media is more about creating high-quality contents that are consumer relevant Drury , instead of being a brash product placement.
Moreover, marketing through social media focuses on building relationships between consumers and companies. The research findings have shown that the position of the consumer in the new marketing approach is the centralized gravity, because consumers are empowered. Finally the core objective of the entire research was to find out the changes that social media has brought to consumers in each stage of their decision making process.
According to the findingd, social media still cannot be considered as a powerful tool to trigger a purchase in Finland, whereas individuals have reflected that mass media still remains a certain influence in gaining awreness, for instance discounts available in stores, or a good deal. Social media has considered as a powerful tool in getting relevant information, while mass media creates awareness of certain discounts or promotions.
In theory, information exposure through mass media is considered as a passive process as individuals are exposed and receiving information unconsciously. However, when consumers seek out information initiatively, it is perceived as an active process. In the research findings, consumers play an active role in the course of information acquisition because of the accessibility and availability of information on social media platforms. The accessibility and transparency of information that social media has offered to consumers have been indicated throughout the entire research.
Consumers are able to access to relevant information not only in a great range but also in a faster speed, which mass media consumes more time in searching information. In contrary, contents are not in control and monitored, thus the chance of getting fasle and nonfactual information which the consumers have shown concern of.
Many individuals have noticed and agreed that with social media, they are able to voice out their opinions and to communicate with other consumers and with the company more effectively. In the perspective of marketers, this pitfall may serve as a bottleneck in association with marketing via social media; thus, marketers should identify the reason of this particular negative feelings among consumers and initiate consumers to participate in the conversations.
Social media has altered the communication model which it uesd to be in mass media see Smith and Zook , instead of having companies deliever messages to the public all times, social media has fostered a web communications between customers and opinion leaders in which spins around the brand; consequesntly, this particular new communication flow has built interactivity and communities among all users, which the effects of it has penetrated in every stage of the decision making process.
This influence has been reflected from the collected opinions see Appendix 3. To conclude, from the findings of this research, it can be observed that consumers in Finland are actively utlilizing social media platforms as a tool in validating of the purchase decisions; however, consumers are deemed to be inactive in sharing their word of mouth to others with the available social media platforms. The consistency in the gathered data and time-hornoured theories relating to consumer behavior and contemporary frameworks regarding social media marketing, it has suggested that the essence of consumer behavior still remains the same even after the advent of social media, in which individuals have to go through the all the stages before a purchase, instead of straight to the purchase decision once a thought of purchase being triggered.
Therefore, if further research could be conducted, then an in-depth survey should be carried out in tackling the research objective. It would be undoubtely useful and interesting to have a case company as a reference of the research. By studying the case company, it may offer a comparison between what company thinks it is working out, and what does its consumers actually perceive. Would the result reflect a diverse perception from two different parties in regards of social media and decision making procee?
The reults could help company to gain an evident insights and to identify actual tactics to tackle the situation. Since research has revealed that consumers do not feel encouraged to generate the word of mouth through social media, and this indications may imply that marketers would have to carry out certain actions in order to provoke these conversations. Therefore, a furture research can be conducted based on this perspective in investigating the reasons associating with this particular feeling and how it could be altered in order to utilize social media as an effective purchase validation tool.
Nonetheless, if further research could be conducted for companies , then theories could be implied more accurately, because some of the theories are propsed and developed in aiming to help companies to gain a better postion in the transition from the traditional marketing approach to the new marketing mindset.
In that case, findings and conclusions could be drawn without vagueness. In the foregoing chapter the above findings cannot represent all individuals across Finland as a whole, due to the decision making process involves psychological factors which may result in different behavioral actions. Automatic information processing and social perception: The influence of trait information presented outside of conscious awareness on impression formation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 43 3 : —