Decisions on Product Set Up and Use

All consumers who have purchased consumer durables are familiar with the need to have their product set up or installed. The product must be made ready for the buyer to use, as with a car for example. Many other durables could be cited, which necessitates some set ups in order for them to be properly used. Television, stereos, furniture clothes washers, and air conditioners for example all must be carefully set up if the consumer is to find satisfaction from their use.

Many other types of products require very little in the way of set up however. Even apparently simple products though, can be very complicated and frustrating in their set up processes. For example many a parent can tell Christmas Eve horror stories about all night exercises assembly of products for their children .

Of course another element of product set up and use concerns instructions given to the buyer for assembly and operation of the item. Products such as autos, calculators, microwave ovens, and so forth may require detailed explanations as to methods of operation. In order to ensure buyer satisfaction such brochures (even books for some product) must be carefully developed to provide sufficient instructions. Finally, warranty information covering buyer protection in case of product failure should be provided to purchasers. This is an increasingly significant element in today’s high tech environment.

Decisions on Related Products or services:

It often happens that a buyer of one item becomes a candidate for all sorts of options and related products or services. For example, Ford’s Extended Service Plan, which is a service contract, is promoted to new car buyers. As another illustration consider a 35 mm camera buyer who may become interested in numerous optional lenses. A camera bag, dust brush filters, a slide projector and trays of photo developing equipment and even photography lessons. In fact, many retailers have learned that the big profits are often in the optional extras that a consumer purchases rather than in the original product itself. As a result for example many camera retailers sell 35 mm cameras close to cost or as a loss leader in order to draw customers into the store and sell accessories on which the markup runs much higher. Similarly a camping enthusiast may begin with a tent and buy a wide range of related products such as a stove, lantern, sleeping bag, and back pad.

Marketing Implications

Some very important marketing implications flow from these consumers post purchase decisions.

Product set up and Use: one set of implications flows from decisions on product set up and use. Three topics are relevant here: (1) providing information and assistance (2) understanding the user’s consumption system and (3) decisions about warranties.

Providing information and assistance

If the consumer purchases a major durable good such as a large screen television, range, washer and so forth from a full service retailer it would ordinarily require the store to be carefully installed or set up the product and explain its operation to the user. If the purchase is made in a self service or warehouses environment the consumer might assume the delivery and installation function. Nevertheless there might still be an important need for the store to explain to the customer proper installation and operations of the product. Unless such activities are conscientiously undertaken, consumer dissatisfaction is likely to result and the consequences of consumer dissatisfaction we have seen in is likely to be poor word of mouth communications about the product , the retailer or both. Thus, manufacturers need to select retailers carefully as members of their distribution team who will provide the kind of quality after sale installation or warranty service that will enhance the manufacturer’s image. The retailer needs to be considerate of such activities for the same reasons – that it can be an important factor in generating a favorable image and repeat customers.

Source: Consumer Behavior