An attitude is an overall evaluation that expresses how much we like or dislike an object, issue, person, or action. Attitudes are learned and tend to grow over time. Our attitudes also reflect our overall evaluation of something based on the set of associations linked to it. This is the reason why we react with attitudes toward brands, product categories, ads, people, stores, websites, activities, and more (Hoyer, MacInnis, & Pieters, 2018; Solomon, 2018). The key aspects of attitudes are that they provide the cognitive function; guide our thoughts, the affective function which influences our feelings and the conative function which affects our behavior. We decide which ads to read, whom to talk to, where to shop, and where to eat, based on our attitudes. Likewise, attitudes influence our behavior in acquiring, consuming, and disposing of an offering. Marketers need to change attitudes in order to influence consumer decision-making and change consumer behavior to gain profit (Hoyer, MacInnis, & Pieters, 2018; Solomon, 2018).
The Functional Theory of Attitudes is a theory, which suggests that attitudes perform four basic functions. The functions are utilitarian function of attitudes, knowledge function of attitudes, value-expressive function, and ego-defensive function. Utilitarian function of attitudes is when consumers use attitudes as ways to maximize rewards and minimize punishment; by purchasing something that brings consumers joy. Apple is a company that should use these theories to understand consumers in a better way. Consumers try to fit in with society by purchasing the newest Apple product. Apple pushes products and innovation that also provide consumers with culture. With this approach, Apple may beat their competitors by creating a brand, which keeps their consumers loyal (Jose, 2015).
Knowledge function of attitudes allows consumers to simplify decision-making processes by avoiding undesirable situations and approach more desirable situations. When consumers are brand loyal to a company it assists them to simplify the decision making process. For example, credit card companies target consumers looking to establish credit and lack the knowledge. Value expressive function of attitudes allows consumers to express their core values, self-concept, and beliefs to others through merchandise such as apparel (Jose, 2015). Consumer first impression of a store is normally based on what can be seen or heard from outside the store such as the displays, the lighting, the music, the color scheme, and the arrangement of space. These features draw consumers into the store filled with curiosity. Consumers will make assumptions about the store that may determine their store decision-making behavior. In the past, retailers ignored the importance of the visual shopping experience, preferring instead to lure consumers into the store by announcing sales incentives (Kotler, 1973; Saffer, 1996). However, as competitive market increases, a sole dependence on these promotional techniques becomes inadequate. Retailer's efforts turned from offering price promotions to creating an enjoyable shopping experience (Saffer, 1996). These atmospheric recommendations have assumed that creating a visual atmosphere would improve perceptions of all store merchandise and features, essentially having a halo-like effect. Marketers seek opportunities from consumer attitudes to develop better promotional messages from companies and groups (Cooper, 1981).
Consumer behavior is a process that focuses on the consumers' decisions to use or influence within their organization. These decisions are based on with the respect to the acquisition, consumption, and disposition of goods, services, activities, experiences, people, and ideas by (human) decision-making units. Consumer behavior reflects more on the way that a single person at any point acquires a product in time. There are many marketing strategies and tactics used to try to influence one or more of the choices of a consumer's behavior (Hoyer, Macinnis, Peters, 2018).
The process of decision-making is tied to psychological core involving four stages: problem recognition, information search, decision-making, and post purchase evaluation. The psychological core, decision-making processes, and the consumer's culture affect consumer behavior outcomes through the symbolic use of products and the diffusion of ideas, products, or services through a market. They also influence and are influenced by issues of ethics and social responsibility. Both consumers and marketers can and do use marketing for constructive purposes, balancing short and long-term horizons plus the interests of themselves and others (Hoyer, Macinnis, Peters, 2018).
When it comes to consumer behavior perception is known as the process of determining the properties of stimuli by using one or more of the five senses: vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Perception influences consumers from contents in ads through absolute threshold. The absolute threshold is the minimum level of stimulus intensity needed for a stimulus to be perceived. This is needed for a person to detect a difference between something and nothing. Absolute threshold comes hand in hand with subliminal perception which a way to process what you are looking at based on your conscious awareness. If a person is looking or listening to an ad for a long period of time, their brain will eventually prompt an interest in the product or service. There is another way of control the consumer's decision-making and attitude without the consumer being aware of the approach (Hoyer, Macinnis, Peters, 2018).
The factors that might influence consumers' perceptions is the usage of the internet. The significant development of the Internet has drastically expanded the shopping space for consumers. Online shopping created a new marketing provider that meets consumer needs and wants, but it has changed the consumer shopping culture with “click” shopping and ease of information searches for product or service buying. Many consumers are exposed to a great amount of information through both off-line and on-line advertising. Providing effective information in online environments can reduce consumer search costs and lead to consumers making optimal purchasing decision by looking at products reviews (Cox, 1967).
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