There are a range of depths of involvement implicated when consumers purchase a product. For example, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG’s), need very little decision making by the consumer in terms of comparing of prices etc. The sale is a habitual buy. In complete contrast with an FMCG, like a chocolate bar, is a house or car. Every step of the consumer decision model would be considered in depth and time would be taken to seek out cheaper, better quality alternatives. Basically, people are looking for the best buy for their money. So yes, the model is applicable for high involvement products. But is it really at all for FMCG’s? I decided to counter the hypothesis of 'it works for all purchases' and talk to students in the union shop as they bought chocolate, soft drinks and chewing gum. I asked them how much it was, were they regular purchasers, was there a cheaper alternative and did they feel they thought about the purchase, pre or post purchase? The results were unanimous. Ten people that were asked did not have a clue about the price, didn’t care if there were cheaper alternatives as the amount they were spending was so insignificant and bought the products out of habit. All of them agreed they didn’t think about what they were buying as they didn’t felt the need. I studied the behaviour of more people to see whether the price tags were consulted or whether people seemingly took the time to think before buying but no one seemed to perform as Kotler expected, by following all the stages of the buyer decision making process model. We can see how, as the type of purchase changes, the level of involvement by the customer changes.
As discussed by Barry Howcroft in his journal entitled 'Customer involvement and interaction in retail banking', all consumers asses high involvement products 'intensely'.
The class discussed the theorists Laurent & Kapferer (1985) who hypothesised that we can determine what is high involvement and low involvemtent products by a simple risk assessment of financial implications (house and car), time , performance, Ego, Physical and Social. (FTPEPS).
The class activity was to discuss the FTPEPS theory by Laurent and Kapferer and apply it to two types of people. Firstly a 21 year old and also a 46 year old. the products they hypothetically are going to buy are 1) a car, 2) a mobile phone and 3) underwear for their partner.
The responses were completely different by everybody. some people believed that younger men would be more embarassed and in contrast, some felt that younger would be more cocky and older more embarassed. the results far from correlated.
according to many theorists such as Kotler, Kerin and Hartley, the higher the thought involvement in a purchase = higher emotional involvement.
The definition of involvement according to Kerin (1989) - 'personal, social and economic significance of a purchase to the consumer'.
“If we believe our overall values drive our behaviour, then we should be concentrating on the important, underlying motives that drive consumers to make product or service choices rather than simply product attributes” (Ries & Trout 1982)
We then proceeded to talk about our personal value systems. Aaccording to Kahle (1983), the most important things to a person are :
1. Self Respect
3. Being Well Respected
5. Sense of accomplishment
6. Warm relationship with others
8. Fun & enjoyment
9. Sense of belonging
The class prioritised these in the order they felt suited them personally. the results were shocking. the majority of english people put fun and enjoyment at the top of their list, with things such as self respect very far down. my list, along with the polish students was practically inverted. perhaps this is due to the secondary socialisation which occurs in England.. but perhaps it is due to primary socialisation too?
ØHigh involvement think-feel-do e.g. cars, computer equipment
ØLow involvement think-do-feel e.g. canned spaghetti
ØExperiential/impulse feel-do-think e.g. chocolates, crisps
ØBehavioural influence do-think-feel e.g. clothes