Consumer Indecision


When you head to the grocery store to pick up an everyday product such as, say, cereal, do you pick up the same favorite each time, or are you like many consumers, waiting, comparing and undecided about which one to grab?

When presented with a large range of choices to fulfill the same need, it is in human nature to become confused, and thus unable to quickly make a choice. When we spend too much time comparing the plethora of options we are presented with, the functional differences between each of them soon become blurry. Once the functional differences lose importance, the peripheral aspects take precedence. This means that whichever product’s ad, spokesperson, or packaging color stands out favorably in our minds, we will end up purchasing that product.

What does this mean for those of us in charge of branding and communications for such low-involvement products? We have to make the peripheral aspects stand out for products in categories where the number of substitutes is vast enough to cause customer confusion close to the point of purchase.

Axe is a good example of this. Their marketing messages are well known and hold a great amount of recall. They are likely to be quite popular in the deodorant and body spray isle where men are faced with more brands than they can count. The functional superiority or inferiority takes a back seat in such a situation.

These factors differ for high-involvement goods, however, such as cars, watches and so on, where the customer is not likely to make a grab-and-go purchase. In these cases, functionality, brand values and associations begin to play a key role.

Think about your everyday purchases. What makes you pick up one product over another at your grocery store?

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