Summary of Belk Case
The article illustrates that thoughtful recognition of variables for a given situation facilitates the process of understanding different behaviors shown by customers. The article addresses the importance of situation in buying decisions and it describes how same individual behave in entirely different ways towards same object under different conditions. The individual personality and the conditional variables modulate the choice and pattern of buying behavior. This article demonstrates that the concept of variable influence on buying patterns has never been addressed before and therefore the wide variation has been identified in the customers’ preferences. Specific time and space constitute a situation and together with set of behaviors called as behavioral setting. There are number of unique situations that exist in a setting and therefore diverse range of behaviors emerges.
Environment has been addressed as a discrete unit and has broad spheres for its application. It is regarded chiefly as a snapshot of the situational characteristics available to an individual at certain time frame and varies on the basis of geography. The stimuli may vary with, occasion, preference, need, or social inference. The stimulus that modifies a person’s behavior is divided into two parts; the object and the situation. Both the stimuli are significant in explaining a consumer’s aptitude towards any offering. Consumers are highly sensitive to the offered product/service so it is very important to separate the impact of situation and personal sensitivity towards object so as to comprehensively understand the behavioral transformation. The situation may refer to entail all the factors and determinants of a peculiar timeframe and space. Countless efforts have been made to classify the entire situational factor but there were always some of the personal and environmental intervening variables found. Researchers extensively worked to give taxonomic classification status to various factors that constitute a situation and finally able to conclude five groups of attributes that are consistent with the latest description of situation. These are; social and physical surrounding, temporal perspectives, definition of task and antecedents. These all have defined set of implications on the behavior of the customers. Researches further carried out in order to validate the significance of these five broad domains and their direct impact on the buying patterns of the consumers.
The validity has been tested by studying the influence of situations on the buying decision by examining consumers in set of different scenarios pertaining to different situations. The experiments demonstrated that product popularity does not play a significant role in determining the choice rather the situation suitability persuades any purchase decision.
Different products have been tested by the researchers to develop clear understanding of the variations in purchase. Studies have illustrated the fact that customers show different behavior towards same object when they are buying for personal use and when the intentions are to gift someone else. Two different approaches could be used to estimate the situational impact and these are; psychological technique and the other one is objective. The psychological way reflects the individual’s own perception of the situation and its importance whereas the objective technique tends to rely on the attributes of any given situation. Another appropriate and little costly way to conduct research in an experimental way to find out the situational influences .The most significant way is to use diaries of customers that will provide a complete record of customer’s activities in different time and spaces. This technique is not only helpful in determining the situational impact but also useful in finding an individual’s behavioral and personality characteristics which can be easily converted into a tabular form to study the differences in individual responses to situation variability and susceptibility. This will facilitate the process of understanding customer’s behaviors in a more descriptive manner.
The marketing managers need to clearly understand the reciprocal relation of inconsistent situational factors and the choices made by their customers. The article is very important and shows how managers can target their desired set of customers in a better way. Managers need to analyze the surrounding and socially interacting factors that set the expectation level of the customers for any brand. Mangers can achieve customer satisfaction of their prime clients by understanding the nature and psyche. Different situations demand different type of products and therefore it is very important for the manager to plot a diagram of all possible factors that may change or control the buying decision.
Mangers cannot achieve big market share by just making latest and chicly products. They would have to work deep into the minds of their customers to understand their varying demands based on changing situations .Researches have shown that the nature of the customer also play a major role in the overall purchase process. The responsibility of marketing managers is very competitive and thorough because the customers are very demanding and their preference readily change with the time and provided situation. Different situations tend to change the satisfaction level of customers with the same product and different level of performance is required under different circumstances. So it is now almost impossible to win the market competition with one standardized product. Situations change the behaviors in a very systematic way and a very thorough understanding is required to tailor the products/services accordingly. Various social, economical, physical, personal and environmental factors poses great influence and customers have become more skeptical.
The different researches in this article pertains to the fact that now the marketing is the most challenging part of business and the whole network of variables and situational interdependency is very complicated. So the best strategy so far is to track the customers’ behaviors in diaries in order to get a tabularized form for their different responses under different circumstances. These can further be used to develop a clear understanding of the factors that constitute complete inventory of situational scenarios.
Customers compare and thoroughly contrast their choices at different points based on their own prior experience and motive of buying. Managers needs to keep this point under consideration that product should be so versatile and competitive that it could appeal the customer in all possible situations. Customers’ level of investigation and purchase efforts vary with the motive of the purchase. People mostly get more conscious about the brand and price when purchasing for personal use so it is very important for the marketing managers to capitalize on this point to make better and competitive strategies for their targeted and prime audience.
In the light of above discussion It can be concluded that customers are now more aware and more versatile. It is very important for the marketing managers to keep a tap on their changing needs in order to stay in the market .Otherwise a competitor would better serve their needs and will take aware the market share.