Assignment: Consumer Behavior
Case Study – BPL Sanyo Refrigerator
Submission by - Group Number : 5
Submission date – 30th July, 2012
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The Sanyo Refrigerator Case
The case presents challenges in front of the marketing team which primarily relates to how
customers take decisions and that too for a house hold product from which different members in
house hold carry different expectations.
For success of product, it is important that marketing team understands Consumer’s Decision
Making process and basis the same develop strategies.
Brief about Consumer Decision Making framework& application to Case Study
The consumer’s decision making process is the way in which people gather and assess information
and make choices among alternative goods, services, organizations, people, places, and ideas. It
consists of the process itself and factors affecting the process.
The consumer decision making process consists of six basic stages. Factors affecting the decision
making process are captured in figure below.
A more elaborate process can be given as:
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STIMULUS: A stimulus is a cue or drive meant to motivate a person to act. A stimulus can be any of
the following: Social, Commercial, Noncommercial, Physical.
A prospective consumer may be exposed to any or all of these types of stimuli. If a person is
sufficiently stimulated, he or she will go on to the next step in the decision process.
In the given case the changing lifestyle is acting as a stimulus. They have very less time at their
disposal and they are being forced to make infrequent purchases of larger quantities of food items
including frozen foods, ready to eat food and changed preference towards packed food. Moreover
increasing income levels are acting as stimulus towards purchase of high end products.
PROBLEM AWARENESS: During problem awareness, the consumer recognizes that the good, service,
organization, person, place, or idea may solve a problem of shortage or unfulfilled desire. Many
consumers are hesitant to react to unfulfilled desires because there are risks and the benefits may
be hard to judge.
Double income nuclear families do not have time to make frequent trips to buy groceries and
vegetables. The consumer can solve this problem only by purchasing larger quantities which would
last for longer durations. With this comes another problem of maintaining the freshness of
vegetables and fruits. The available refrigerators are more of generic solutions, ie one solution for all
known problems and thus not able to provide effective solution. One answer can be larger capacity
refrigerator with segmented cooling system.
Different food items require different levels of temperature and humidity for retaining their
freshness. In the present context both the direct cooled as well as frost free refrigerators which are
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available in the market provide only specialized freezer section. They do not address the problem of
maintaining differential levels of humidity and temperature to suit requirement of different
refrigerated items. Differential levels are must to maintain the freshness of refrigerated items.
INFORMATION SEARCH: Information search involves listing alternatives that will solve the problem
at hand and a determination of the characteristics of each. Search can be internal and/or external.
As risk increases; the amount of information sought also increases. Once the information search is
completed, it must be determined whether the shortage or unfulfilled desire can be satisfied by any
Refrigerator purchase is a longer term problem solving decision and involves large investment for an
average Indian. A wrong purchase decision exposes the consumer to higher risk of post purchase
dissatisfaction. Therefore the consumer would devote more time and energy for information search
in such matters.
EVALUATION OF ALTERNATIVES: The alternatives are evaluated on the basis ofthe consumer’s
criteria and the relative importance of these criteria. They are then ranked and a choice made.
In the given case the alternatives available for the consumer are low-cost, low-capacity refrigerators
in both direct cool and frost free categories AND the BPL 500 Ltr refrigerator.
The company faces the challenge of segmentation, targeting and positioning because:
1. The refrigeration market is yet not fully developed and optimized. Only 4.1 million units sell
in a year against an installed capacity of over 7 million units.
2. Approx 70% of total available market is only of low-cost, low-capacity refrigerators.
Identifying a segment for the proposed refrigerator will be tough given that it’s high-capacity
3. The BPL refrigerator should be targeted at High Net Worth Families and Double Income
4. The product is a premium product so the company will have to position this product as
“Integral solution to Modern lifestyle Problems” taking into consideration the social class
and individual consumer characteristics like demographics, psychographics, values and
The marketing concept premised that the marketer should make what it can sell instead of trying to
sell what it has made. In the given case, we find that the company has not done sufficient market
research before deciding on the new refrigerator.
PURCHASE - The purchase act involves the exchange of money or a promise to pay for a product, or
support in return of ownership of a specific good, the performance of a specific service, and so on.
Purchase decisions remaining at this stage center on the place of purchase,Terms and Availability.
If the above elements are acceptable, a consumer will make a purchase.
Purchase of this BPL refrigerator will have to be supported through advertising as premium product
and high-end visibility. Though immediate purchase can be ensured through expatriates, foreigner,
NRI and HNIs. Display of the unit as high end product and a well trained manpower to support its
sales and service will play a crucial role in influencing the purchase behaviour of the consumers.
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Moreover to meet the aspirations of upper middle class society and to push the purchase of BPL
refrigerator in that segment, the company should offer financing options.
Follow-up calls, extended warranties, and post-purchase advertisements will help in impacting the
post purchase evaluation of the product.
This refrigerator would elicit a complex buying behaviour because it is expensive, risky and
purchased infrequently. The customer would be highly involved in the purchase.
Since it is targeted as a new product in the category, Sanyo needs to formulate a strategy to
facilitate its adoption process by the customer.
It will have to strategize a roadmap for the customer to fast track following stages in the adoption
process for successful adoption:-
(a) Awareness- A marketing campaign for the target consumer segment should be devised
which should be mainly target both, working husband and wife, who have high disposable
income. The medium of communication should be glossy ads in high end magazines as well
as ads during TV Soaps showing western serials. For this product both husband and wife are
likely to play the role of Initiator, Influencer, Decider, Buyer and User.
(b) Interest- To generate interest, the ads should be designed to educate the consumer about
the features, consequent convenience and promote it as a lifestyle product to cater to the
aspirations of the target consumer.
(c) Evaluation- The consumer should be helped to evaluate the product by displaying the
refrigerator in multi brand electronic stores in posh urban residential areas where high end
refrigerators of other competing brands are also displayed.
(d) Trial- To facilitate trial of the product, the company should try and reach out to the
Innovators by tagging on to other markers of innovators e.g. ownership of another
innovative product, data on buying behavior etc followed by Early Adopters.
(e) Adoption- At this stage the word of mouth publicity and adoption by opinion leaders would
play a crucial role in adoption of product.
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