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Introduction


My two subjects for this paper will be known as Consumer A and Consumer B. Both consumers have just recently bought digital cameras. Consumer A bought a Hewlett-Packard Photosmart .1 Megapixel Digital Camera �0 for $150, while consumer B bought a Kodak .1 Megapixel x Optical/.x Digital Zoom Digital Camera for $00. A few demographics about Consumer A, is that the subject is female. She is 0 years old and is currently a student while working part-time at the Gap store in Park Meadows Mall. Her current income is approximately $5,000-6,000 annually. Consumer B is a 5-year-old male who is married with a child he and his wife just recently had. He is a programmer that makes $50,000 annually. His wife also makes an additional $5,000.


Need Recognition


Since digital cameras are a high involvement product, the need has been triggered by external stimuli. Consumer A, being a student that lived at home with her parents found that she had some extra money laying around and decided to treat herself to something new, as a reward for working hard and being in school. Consumer B recognized the need for a good camera when his first child came into the world. As like most new parents, they want to capture the memories of their children as much, and as soon as possible. Both realized that with the advancing technology, digital cameras would ultimately be more cost efficient, due to the fact that there is no need to buy film or print out all the pictures. It is also more convenient when they want to show the pictures to multiple people quickly.





Information Search


Not only did I find that both consumers entered the heightened attention level, they went above and beyond, entering into the active information search level. They both began paying more attention to advertisements for digital camera. They both also began asking their friends and family with digital cameras about how satisfied they were with their previous purchases. How the quality of the pictures turned out, how easy the camera was to use and other such things. Also, they both began to pay attention and look at the weekly advertisements to see what the price ranges were, what brands were out and what features are typically offered. Also, because both had access to computers and the internet often, both subjects were researching about the cameras online. They went to the store websites or websites of other consumers and researched on how well a product rated. Both consumers relied heavily on their personal sources. Those are the ones that they trusted the most. For example, a friend told Consumer A that their Hewlett-Packard digital camera was great to use, and worth the money. Since Hewlett-Packard is also a well known and well trusted computer source, Consumer A figured that because digital cameras are so closely linked to computers that Hewlett-Packard is a good brand to go by. Consumer B had always sworn by Kodak, as well as a member of their family, who is a professional photographer. On the day that the consumers went to purchase their cameras, they went to the stores and personally picked up the cameras and used them in the store. While Consumer B asked the salespeople questions about the different cameras and their features and opinions, Consumer A only tested them herself. Consumer A stated that the opinions of her friends and family, and her own intuition, were much more valid than that of a salesperson or advertisement.


Evaluation of Alternatives


There are many different camera brands. Some are better known than others, and those are the ones that consumers tend to trust. The features on the cameras are also a major part in deciding which camera it is that a consumer will get. For example, since Consumer A was merely buying a camera for fun, she decided that it wasn’t such a big deal to have a camera with too big of an LCD screen or a large amount of memory. Consumer B, however concentrated more on the cameras that offered a lot of memory storage and a bigger LCD screen. Price was also a big factor for Consumer A, due to her limited budget. She didn’t want anything too expensive, but she also wanted a good name brand camera, with the most offered features for a low price. Apparently, brand names play an important factor in the elimination of cameras. Also, both consumers mentioned that if someone mentioned dislike for a certain brand, it also pushed that brand further down their list.


Purchase Decision


When the time for purchasing came, both consumers took all the ads that week and went from store to store, checking out the selections and to see if that store had that particular camera in stock. Consumer A tried Circuit City and Best Buy, since those were the two electronic stores that she was most familiar with. Consumer B went to more stores, such as Sears, Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, Target. Basically, he thought of all the stores that he thought that had digital cameras. Consumer A ultimately decided to purchase her camera at Best Buy because she didn’t like the selection of cameras offered at Circuit City. Also, she saw that the camera was on sale at Best Buy. Consumer B liked the deal of the price matching for 0 days plus another 10% of the total sale back at Circuit City. Also, the there was a camera with all the features that Consumer B was looking for. Since Consumer A is only a college student, she paid for her camera by cash. Consumer B, being older with a steadier job with many more bills to pay, purchased his camera by credit card.


Postpurchase Behavior


Both consumers are relatively satisfied with their cameras. Consumer A uses her camera to take pictures of her friends, while Consumer B uses his camera frequently, taking many pictures of his newborn to send to ecstatic relatives. For about a week or two after purchasing her camera, Consumer A still looked through the weekly advertisements at cameras, seeing which new cameras were on sale for the price she bought her, and what additional features those cameras offered that hers didn’t. Consumer B, however looked through all the weekly advertisements for only his camera, in case he saw it for a cheaper price somewhere. Being satisfied with their cameras, both consumers have told the others about how good their cameras are, and how easy they are to use. Hewlett-Packard and Kodak have just added two more satisfied customers to their lists, that will spread good word-of-mouth about their products.


Conclusion


I would classify these two consumers as typical consumers. They both went through the five stages of buyer decision. Both recognized a type of need for a camera, Consumer A for pleasure while Consumer B wanted to capture the memories of his newborn baby. After recognizing their needs, they both began doing research on different cameras, by looking online, asking their friends and family members and going to try the cameras out themselves. While doing research, both consumers were comparing the different brands. When the time came to purchase, they both went to different stores and looked at the different selections. I find that having a well-trusted name is important to the manufacturer. As they say, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Also, I find that having the products on sale drive consumers to buy that certain product instead of a competitor’s product. Also, I find that Circuit City’s 0-day price match draws many consumers to the store. What I find that the retailers are doing wrong, was that sometimes they lack the broad selection of different stores. I know it is difficult, maybe impossible to carry all the different types of cameras, but having a large selection makes the store well-known and popular with consumers, because they don’t have to search far and wide to find all their wanted options in their product. Ultimately, having sales and the products advertised in the weekly newspaper is enough to draw consumers to the store when they recognize the need and want for something. The most important factor, though, in getting a consumer to buy your product, is establishing a following and getting your brand name out into the public. Word of mouth advertising is the best way a manufacturer can go.





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