Consumer Analysis Introduction The kitchen appliance chosen is the Microwave oven. The product finds use in cooking or warming food. The appliance runs on electricity and works on the principle of radiation. It is safe to use provided the specific instructions are followed. The appliance finds a place in most kitchens of working people. Product The Product is simple and easy to use. It is more useful especially for working individuals or families. A larger set of consumers use it for warming food. According to the crisp product brief on the site (sears. com), microwave ovens are useful for heating and de-frosting food.
Most of the microwave ovens are operated on a one-touch function. The microwave oven typically has different versions. The base version is good for re-heating food and basic cooking. Higher end versions have grill options, where additional attachments help facilitate the enhanced functionality. Pricing The prices range from $184 to $3500 (sears. com). The pricing is based on the features. A basic, Kenmore TrueCookPlus microwave oven is priced at $139.99. The microwave oven range is classified into three major categories: 1) built-in microwave ovens, 2) countertop microwave ovens and 3) Over the Range microwave ovens.
The built-in microwave ovens are high end appliances which can be customized for specific zones in the kitchen. The prices range from $800 to $3500. Over the Range microwave ovens are priced from $184 to $578. The countertop microwave ovens are priced from $60 to $1000. Place (Distribution) The microwave ovens are sold through a variety of sales channels. They can be found in departmental stores such as Sears and in discount retailers such as Wal-mart and K-mart. They are also found in a host of dedicated stand-alone electronic appliances stores throughout the country. Promotion Being sophisticated, high end products, they are not promoted through heavy discounts.
Instead, they are promoted through bundling offers, where another smaller electronic item is bundled and the total package is discounted to make it lucrative. Similarly, smaller discounts and price-offs are the norm in this segment. If there is a new product within microwave ovens, it is often promoted through open-air kiosks, where there is a demo for consumers who are keen to explore the product. The Target Market The target market for microwave oven consists of working individuals – both single and married.
At first glance, this seems to be the best possible interpretation of the target market. However, we could also consider another target market: the retired people. Understanding the demographics of this segment is relatively easy. ‘Working people’ signifies that the age band for the potential customers of microwave ovens is 22-40. We are not considering the 40+ age band as a significant target since a small proportion of people in this segment could, at best be looking at replacement or upgrade options.
Again, considering the retired group, we can also have another band as 60+ years of age. From the marketers’ standpoint, they divide the market into distinct groups and try to design products that would meet each group’s needs in a fitting manner, hoping that their understanding is correct (Hoek, Gendall & Esslemont, 1996). For a sophisticated, yet commonplace product such as microwave ovens, the demographics need to be defined carefully by marketers. Possibly, research could throw up insights that define the right age bands more closely; for instance, research may show that most customers purchase microwaves just after their marriage, which could be at the age of say, 28 years.
Whether males or females influence the purchase decision is another point for research. Consumer Behavior: The Purchase Decision Process The product is a consumer durable and it is likely to be used for at least three to five years by most consumers. Hence the decision making is a fairly involved one. We apply the five stages of the decision making process (Mowen & Minor, 1998, p.
349) to understand the consumer behavior with regard to microwave ovens. Stage1: Problem Evaluation. Here the consumer is assessing the problem which may be stated in different forms. Instances could be “it is difficult to start the cooking unit just to de-frost the chicken” and “I need something to warm up the food in 60 seconds”. Here the customer is looking for a solution that could help. Among other options, microwave ovens fit the requirement well. Stage 2: Search. The consumer is looking at different solutions. Does he / she consider buying a smaller stove or an electric kettle?
There could be other options. The consumer is going through various kitchen appliance stores and trying to find a solution. Stage 3: Alternative Evaluation. What brands are available among microwave ovens? What are the types of product features that I need? Which are the nearest retail outlets, where I can browse through different products? The consumer is also evaluating how much he is willing to pay for the microwave oven. Additionally, by now, the consumer has a mental evoked set, which consists of acceptable brands and product features, pricing, etc.
The final decision would be made out of this set. Stage 4: Purchase Decision. At this juncture, the consumers have decided upon the most appropriate product. In this case, it is the microwave oven. Additionally, they have also decided upon the brand, the product features and the price they are willing to pay. The retail outlets under consideration have been listed down. The right timing and place of purchase are the smaller decisions that succeed the ‘green signal’ for purchase. Stage 5: Post Purchase Behavior.
Once the microwave oven is brought home, the consumer starts using it. He / she observes the working of the unit closely. Over a period of the next few weeks, the consumer either develops positive feelings or negative feelings about the product. There could be another option, where the consumer is satisfied and exhibits a neutral state of mind. In any case, satisfaction or dissatisfaction is observed. Influences for the Marketing Mix For products that are of everyday use and that get consumed and spent in a week or a month such as soaps, shampoos and cereals, the decision process is simple and involvement levels are low.
In the case of microwave ovens, you have a very involved consumer. Hence the influences that are critical are mainly the socio-cultural and situational influences. Let us briefly describe them separately. The consumer is exposed to a circle of family members, friends, acquaintances and others. During the course of daily interactions, the consumer gives and receives feedback about a variety of ideas and subjects. If the consumer broaches the subject of microwave ovens, he / she is likely to receive diverse feedback.
Accordingly, a few perceptions of the consumer may change. Belonging to a particular community also may change the perceptions. For instance, the consumer could be a European or an Australian, who thinks differently from an American. All these would influence the marketing mix for microwave ovens. With regard to the situational factor, we can assume that if the consumer sees his / her family members or friends who have recently bought a microwave oven, then there is some inducement for him / her to buy one.
If this coincides with the stage 1 or stage 2 of the decision making process, then the chances of making a purchase decision quickly tend to be higher. Assume another scenario: The consumer is married and has a three-year old toddler. If they happen to be browsing in the same store, where another similar family is purchasing a microwave oven, then the consumer is likely to be positively influenced. Hence the situational factors are also important. Concluding Discussion Every stage of the decision process is important.
The consumer analysis helps us identify the potential consumer from different perspectives. When we consider the product and the consumer, we have a host of interactions that are possible. In our brief analysis, we have described the product, the consumer purchase decision process and the factors that are likely to influence the sale of microwave ovens. Considering that the decision process is complex for a microwave oven, marketers need to evolve and design the right marketing mix, so as to result in higher sales of the product. Reference List Hoek, Janet, Gendall, Philip & Esslemont, Don.
(1996). Market Segmentation. A search for the Holy Grail? Journal of Marketing Practice: Applied Marketing Science, 2(1): 25-34. Mowen, John & Minor, Michael. (1998). Consumer Behavior. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Sears. (n. d.) Retrieved August 17, 2011 from the Sears Website: http: //www. sears. com/