The paper 'Consumer Decision Making – External Factors" is a good example of business coursework. Decision making is a daily activity that consumers have to engage with respect to the purchase of products and services they need. Based on the nature of the product or service, consumers experience varying levels of difficulty in making a purchase decision, which depends on prior knowledge and customer experience on the item of interest (Darley, 2010). The consumer decision-making process is influenced by factors that are both internal and external to the customer. The external and internal factors are interconnected hence work together to enable the consumer to make better buying decisions considering that customers are faced with a wide range of products to select from with fierce competition of companies.
The external factors are outside the customer's control but they affect the buyer’ s decision making both directly and indirectly (Thomas, 2011). This study focuses on the external factors which influence consumer decision on products and services. It is important to note that consumers buy products and services due to their subjectively perceived value but not the roles the products and services play.
The external factors which influence consumer decision making on various products and services include social status, family, marketing campaigns, culture and sub-cultures, social class, demographics, opinion leaders, and reference groups (Darley, 2010). The internal factors which influence customer decision making include attitudes, personality, perception, emotions, learning, learning, and memory. Customer’ s decision-making process requires a good recognition of the existing problem, search for information concerning the product or service, evaluation of alternative products or services, and the selection of suitable outlets for the purchase of the product or service (Pamela, 2012).
The entire process helps the customer acquire adequate experience hence future decisions can be made with ease. However, the impact of these factors to influence consumer’ s decision making varies from one customer to another. This study explores how external factors influence the consumer decision-making process for beverages and other drinks as well as food products. Cultural and subcultural factors fall under both external and internal factors which influence consumer decision making. Culture forms the widest environmental factor that determines a customer’ s decision on the purchase of a product or service (Simcock, Sudbury, & Wright, 2006).
Culture helps customers satisfy their needs as it gives the order, direction, and offers guidance to society in all stages of life by offering trusted and certified ways of helping them meet their personal needs. Different people have varying ideas, beliefs, customs, values, and attitudes depending on the culture they have inherited from previous generations. These varying values and attitudes influence customers’ choice of products and services. Frank (2010) argues culture progressively changes and as it does so, new values may be associated with a product brand or it may necessitate the change of the product if it does not satisfy the society anymore.
An example of this is the shift from analog TV transmission to digital transmission (Sumeet, 2010). The culture people inherit also influences the acceptable advertisements which can be made on a product. What people eat, where they reside, what they wear and travel patterns vary depending on the culture. Different cultures can have different values, for instance, the US puts more value on education, freedom, good health, and individualism, unlike other cultures which promote a communal way of life (Darley, 2010).
The US values create an environment of time scarcity and which has an influence on how customers purchase food products as most of them prefer packed food to save time. The sale of certain drinks and foods may not work well in some cultures and religions as some do not promote the consumption of alcoholic drinks or certain foods. For instance, in Muslim society, pork products and alcoholic drinks may not sell much as customers can prefer alternative products due to their cultural background.
Similarly, in Hindu society, beef and onions are not an acceptable food. For the Coca-cola Company, the coke brand does not sell well among certain cultures as they believe the ingredients of the product are harmful (Sumeet, 2010).
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