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- Consumer Buying Decision at Ethel’s Chocolate Lounges
Consumer buying decision at Ethel’s is tied to routine purchases. Based on the case study, businesses in the confectionary industry and research results by Datamonitor reveal that chocolates are the “new coffee,” such that people routinely purchase chocolates like they would purchase coffee on a regular basis. Routine response behavior also means that the goods sold by a business are bought by consumers because they are readily available for consumers. Moreover, for these kinds of products, consumers do not need to conduct research or check and purchase other brands because they purchase those that are displayed and readily available for them (Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, 2011). At Ethel’s, consumer buying decision is tied to the coffee shop set up of the store where the place is open for people who want to hang out while sampling the different types of chocolates available at the chocolate bar. In some way, consumer purchasing decision at Ethel’s is also parallel to extensive decision making. Extensive decision making means that “consumers want to make the right decision, so they want to know as much as they can about the product category” (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel, 2011, p. 4). At Ethel’s, consumers differentiate the brand from others and choose to purchase products from the business because it offers something different from the usual brands of chocolate.
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- Factors that Influence Consumers at Ethel’s Chocolate Lounges
The consumers at Ethel’s Chocolate Lounges are influenced by psychological and social factors. Psychological influences on consumer buying decision refers to people’s perceptions and motives in buying products or services (Pride & Ferrell, 2010). The perceptions of consumers at Ethel’s are related to what people believe to be the image or lifestyle attached to the brand and its implications to the image and lifestyle of consumers. As previously discussed, Ethel’s is able to differentiate itself from other products because it has established its own target market. While earlier brands have targeted the masses and others targeted the upper-class, Ethel’s has managed to provide a brand that is approachable but also establishes an air of luxury by serving gourmet chocolates. The businesses is compared to what brands like Starbucks were able to accomplish, and where people buy the products because of the image and reputation attached to the brand as well as the quality of the products. The same principle applies to Ethel’s. Consumers’ behaviors toward the brand are influenced by the idea of what buying the product means for the people’s image or reputations.
Aside from the psychological aspect of the brand, consumers also choose to purchase products from Ethel because of social reasons. The social factors that influence consumers include the things that are related to the consumers’ relationship with other people (Armstrong & Kotler, 2008). In the case of Ethel’s, consumers are loyal to the brand because the business provides a venue for people to socialize. Like Starbucks, Ethel’s is considered a store where people can sit and spend time with their friends while consuming chocolates, which is similar to the set up of coffee shops. The experience of purchasing products from Ethel’s becomes something that consumers can share with their family and friends. Other times, consumer decisions are influenced by personal factors. Ethel’s provides chocolates that are also for health conscious individuals. For this reason, individuals who refuse to consume chocolate because of the high caloric content may choose to purchase chocolates sold by Ethel’s because they provide non-fat gourmet chocolates at an affordable price.
- The Factor that Motivates the Consumers the Most
Overall, the factor that motivates consumers the most is what they believe they would gain from patronizing a specific product. At Ethel’s one of the main reasons why consumers choose the brand is because it offers a line of products that are highly different from the usual brands in the market. There are chocolate brands that are intended for the masses while other brands cater to consumers belonging to the upper-class. In an attempt to target both target markets, Ethel’s decided to create a brand and produce products that would appeal to the markets of the businesses from opposite sides. Ethel’s now provides approachable gourmet chocolate, which means that although the chocolate they sell are luxurious, people can enjoy them because they are still affordable. Aside from the brand and its products being affordable, another factor that motivates consumers in the market is that chocolate bars and coffee shops offer new experiences. The coffee market is highly saturated with many businesses offering the same type of products and services. It is time for innovation, and changing coffee as a routine product and attempting to replace it with chocolate, is the kind of innovation that intrigues consumers because it provides a unique experience (Blackwell, Miniard, & Engel, 2006).
- The Needs at Ethel’s Chocolate Lounges that is Most Appealing
The need to save and limit expenses amidst the global economic recession is one of the primary concerns of consumers nowadays. Many people are getting laid off from their jobs while some employed people cannot set aside money to purchase chocolates because these are not basic products that must be added to the priority list of expenses. However, Ethel remains in business because it offers affordable products. Ethel’s need to continue on that in order to maintain consistency and offer new products that would draw more consumers to the store. Moreover, Ethel’s need to constantly arrive at new ideas or innovation in order to make sure that consumers stay invested. The business should continue to conduct evaluations in order to know if consumers are still buying their products and if not, the reasons behind it.
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