There is no universal definition of the term consumer behavior. Nevertheless, essentially, it refers to how and why individuals make the purchase they do. Successful companies and marketers try to understand this behavior so that they can formulate appropriate market strategies that will result in increased sales and brand loyalty. The science of evaluating and influencing aspects of consumer behavior is foremost in determining the types of marketing efforts to be used and when (Solomon, 2014).
To understand consumer behavior, experts have gone ahead and examined purchase decision processes, especially on aspects that trigger customers to buy a certain product. Consumer needs have changed. It is argued that consumers adjust their purchasing behavior based on their individual needs and interpersonal aspects such as lifestyle, personality, and perceptions among others (Solomon, 2014). On some levels, consumer choice can appear to be quite random. However, each decision made by consumers has some meaning behind it, even if such choices do not always appear to be rational. Others argue that purchase decisions may be influenced by aspects such as personal emotions, goals, values, and social situations.
People buy products for purposes of satisfying all types of needs that they may have. Some buy them for purposes of prestige, some for love, and others equate the type of need to be met with certain goods (Solomon, 2014). Other scholars argue that personality traits and characteristics drive consumers into purchasing certain goods and for marketers, understanding such trends is important. Pragmatists, for instance, purchase goods that are practical or useful and their purchases are made based on quality and durability rather than physical beauty that others may prefer (Lukosius, 2004).
Purchase decisions are not always made or influenced based on what is termed as an “attribute-by-attribute” comparison. Some decisions are made based on an overall evaluation of impressions, intuition, and some knowledge based on past experience, or issues such as attitude-based processing. For this reason, interpreting consumer behavior is of importance to marketers and companies willing to remain competitive. Chief among this is product positioning. This is an important element in marketing plan as it is a way in which marketers use to determine how to best communicate the attributes of their products based on customer needs among others by using carefully crafted messages (Gherghina, 2015).
One of the most successful and profitable Smartphone companies across the globe is Apple. The company understands and best applies product-positioning strategies to attract huge numbers of customers. Apple has been described as having a knack for product positioning. In other words, Apple’s products and their various models such as the iPhone 7 that I recently purchased are positioned in feature set and price so that customers can migrate up the product chain. Apple’s pricing of the iPhone takes care of the low end of the scale, but still segregates newer and better features with a slightly higher price tag. Apple knows how to gouge its customers. For instance, those who prefer high storage can purchase up to 32GB phones (Chwasky, 2015).
Apple has been careful enough to position its product models and also their respective prices close enough in order to please and not to offend its customers too much. Such a move has bred large numbers of customers who own more than one Apple’s product. The firm positions its products by price and quality so that it can attract customers across all walks of life, whether rich or middle-income earners (Knox, 2004).
It was once feared that Apple’s products would one day realize dramatic fall in prices since they were expensive but that is not the case. Apple continued with its existing strategy of positioning its products to meet the needs of its huge customer base.
Steve jobs once made the powerful positioning statement during the introduction of the iPad. He said, “The iPad is so much more intimate than a laptop, and it’s so much more capable than a Smartphone with its gorgeous screen,” That statement clearly positions Apple and its products on top of other tech giants such as mobile device industry and laptop industry. As earlier stated, positioning is followed by price. For instance, low end users could purchase low-end iPads from as low as $499 (Wirtz, Mathieu, Schilke, 2007).
The primary reason for acquiring the iPhone 7 was influenced by my personality, perceptions, affections and attitudes I have towards Apple’s products. For instance, the iPhone 7 screen size is impressive. It is a good fit and comfortable to use. Secondly, its design attracted me. It is slim, light, and offers a 3D display. Third, iPhone 7’s camera and processor is the best so far. Clarity in photos and browsing speeds attracted me. In short, I have been influenced and motivated by a number of people as I grew up. Technology fascinates me. My perceptions towards a given product are easily influenced by learning and memory, motivation, and affection towards a given product such as the recently purchased iPhone 7.
Apart from the recently purchased iPhone, I managed to acquire Louis Vuitton’s Porte Documents Business bag. Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s leading global fashion houses that sell its products through stand alone boutiques, e-commerce sections, and lease departments in high-end department stores. Louis Vuitton deals with the sale of luxury products such as shoes, jewellery, handbags, accessories, sunglasses, watches, and books. In 2013, Louis Vuitton was valued at around US$28.4 billion with revenues of up to US$9.4 billion (Modigliani, 2007). Among its many successes, product positioning is one of them.
Louis Vuitton Product Positioning
LV product positioning is the potent symbol of today’s style. LV creates innovation for stylish, value-for-money, elegant and practical modern luxuries made of quality image. In addition, visual identity is Monogram Canvas on LV products. Brand Logo User Image consumers are fashionable, stylish, and aware of designer’s brands and consider quality and after sales services. For market positioning, LV is challenging the luxury market to become a leader of this way. The company creates new campaigns on regular basis that positions them higher in the market in addition to pricing its products to attract high-end users. Differentiation is a positioning strategy. By use of product differentiation, LV makes sure that consumers feel and experience the difference between LV brands and others (Truong, McColl and Kitchen, 2009).
In short, LV emphasizes on product differentiation, relevance, unique selling, pricing, brand heritage, and market target to position their products in the market. By so doing, LV has managed to capture a huge customer base even in overseas markets due to its excellent brand positioning strategies (Truong, McColl and Kitchen, 2009).
Louis Vuitton products appeal to me due their emphasis on fashion, quality, luxury, elegance and style. I made the purchase due to such reasons. My lifestyle, purchasing power, age, reference groups such as friends, perception of LV products and learning did motivate me to purchase their product. In addition, latest trends in the society informed my decision into purchasing LV product.
In a recap, consumer behavior and product positioning go hand in hand. Companies willing to stay relevant in an era where competition is rife must understand this aspect. If marketers understand what influences purchases, they will be able to design or come up with better positioning strategies that will pull customers towards its products hence increasing sales. Apple understands such. They target or position their product based on customer preferences such as age, lifestyle, preferences, motivation, and affection among others.
Chwasky, M. (2015). 7 Ways to Raise Your Game. Golf Magazine, 57 (11), 83-86.
Gherghina, L. (2015). Positioning Strategies of Competing Firms on the Market. Analele Universitatii ‘Eftimie Murgu’ Resita. Fascicola II. Studii Economice, 73-78.
Knox, S. (2004). Positioning and branding your organization. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 13 (2), 105-115.
Lukosius, V. (2004). Consumer Behavior and Culture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications 2003. , ISBN: 0‐7619‐2669‐0. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 21(6), 435-437.
Modigliani, L. (2007). Louis Vuitton and the luxury market after the end of art. Art Criticism, 22(1), 91.
Solomon, M. R. (2014). Consumer behavior: Buying, having, and being. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: prentice Hall.
Truong, Y., McColl, R., & Kitchen, P. J. (2009). New luxury brand positioning and the emergence of masstige brands. Journal of Brand Management, 16(5-6), 375-382.
Wirtz, B. W., Mathieu, A., & Schilke, O. (2007). Strategy in high-velocity environments. Long Range Planning, 40(3), 295-313.