Understanding the User’s Consumption System

Provision of information to consumer is the marketer’s first understanding about how a product is used by the consumer and how this product fits into the consumer’s consumption system. For example the marketers needs to know how his product is used by consumers not only to make improvements in its quality and functions but also to suggest new uses for it (as done by Jell and arm &Hammer baking soda). If marketers were to research more thoroughly the use, environment and behavior of their products prior to full scale launching ,we would undoubtedly see fewer failures and products more carefully attuned to consumer’s lifestyles.

It is also important for the marketer to understand the user’s consumption system, that is, the manner in which the consumer performs the total task of whatever she is trying to accomplish when using a product whether it is washing clothes or cooking a meal. By understanding how this product (let’s say a washing machine) fits in with other products (such as a dryer, iron, and detergents) in terms of consumption, behavior, new marketing opportunities may arise:

Decisions about warranties:

A related factor concerning product set up and use has to do with the product or service warranty, which is a promise by the manufacturer or seller that the product or service is free from defects in materials and workmanship and that problems will be corrected if failure occurs during the warranty period. An effective warranty can be offered along with several consumer benefits including the following:

1) Providing assurance of product / service quality and value.
2) Increasing self confidence about correctness of product services choice
3) Reducing feelings of risk of ownership because of return or refund privileges.
4) Reducing dissonance because of warranty assurance of quality.

Today, marketers are using warranties more as a competitive offensive weapon than as a defensive tool.

Table shows how the two approaches differ in trust. A properly administered warranty program should include the following components

1) use simple, clear and easy to understand warranty wording
2) Encourage customers to use the warranty
3) Clarify who will execute the program and what standards must met.
4) Handle claims expeditiously and flexibly
5) Collect analyze and use warranty information.
6) Constantly monitor consumer and dealer response to invoking warranty.
7) Promptly reimburse dealers or agents for warranty work.
8) Monitor and control costs.

Warranties have the potential to significantly influence consumers. For example, when launching new high performance brand, a strong warranty can have a positive effect on product evaluations. When competition is tough guarantees can be a powerful marketing tool to differentiate your company. Numerous companies have taken to heart the idea that they have to stand behind their products and services. Guarantees of satisfaction are being combined with the growing use of toll free 800 numbers by companies . A study by Technical Assistance Research Programs Institute (TARP) found that 86 per cent of the US population associates the availability of an 800 number with quality products. Moreover use of 800 numbers to register complaints can boost consumer loyalty is increased dramatically when consumers’ complaints are addressed. A customer who complains and is satisfied will tell eight people, but if the experience is negative twice as many people will be told.

If warranties or guarantees are used they will be most potent when the following conditions exist of a product or services:

1) The price of the product or service is high
2) Customers egos are heavily involved..
3) Customers expertise is low.
4) The negative consequences of failure are great.
5) The Industry has a bad image for quality.
6) The company depends on frequent customer repurchases
7) The company’s business is strongly affected by word of mouth.

Source: Consumer Behavior