Rational Consumer Behavior Essay

2340 words - 10 pages

“Consumers behave irrational by keeping products they are dissatisfied with, instead of returning them to the company”

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Introduction and Thesis Statement.........................................4 Chapter 2 – Consumer purchase decision process………........................5 Chapter 3 – Theory of consistence…………………………………………….6 3.1 Experiment…………………….............................................6 3.2 Theory of consistence and consumer behaviour...…....…..6 Chapter 4 – Cognitive dissonance……………………………………….…….7 4.1 Cognitive dissonance and consumer behaviour…..............7 Chapter 5 – Further reasons for irrational consumer behaviour………....8 3.1 Sunk cost ...view middle of the document...

The following thesis paper has the aim to answer the question why consumers show such behaviour. Firstly the general purchase decision process will be expounded. Afterwards the terms consistence and cognitive dissonance need to be explained in order to begin with the chapter about reasons for irrational behaviour. This thesis paper will mainly focus on psychological reasons. In the chapter after that there will be causes mentioned for rational behaviour. Therefore this thesis paper will deal with the pro and contra sides and offer an insight on consumer behaviour during the post-purchase phase.



Chapter 2
Consumer purchase decision process
The purchase decision process can be divided into five phases. In the first phase consumers explore the needs and desires, which are sought to be satisfied. In the following phase consumers collect information about different products, in order to be able to compare and evaluate the range of options provided by the market. Based on this information, the consumers make a decision for the product of their personal preference and buy it. Consumer decisions are not always objective as decisions are not exclusively based on rational aspects. Purchase decisions are also strongly influenced by emotions and other peripheral aspects. The last phase is about post-purchase behaviour. If consumers are comfortable with their decision and their product they might repurchase the product and recommend the label (Rosenstiel and Neumann, 2002). Today it is almost customary that companies provide an after-sell-service to assist consumers, who experience difficulties with their products and to turn distressed users into happy one again. Many companies also offer a moneyback guarantee and offer discontent consumers to return their products. Even though dissatisfied users know about this opportunity they often do not use it. In order to explain this irrational behaviour it is essential to first define the terms consistence and cognitive dissonance in the following chapters.

Fig. 1: Consumer purchase decision process



(Source: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~renglish/370/notes/chapt05/, accessed January 05, 2012)

Chapter 3
Theory of consistence
Theories about consistence are based on the main assumption that humans attempt to avoid contradictions within their own behaviour. They prefer a condition in which beliefs, decisions, knowledge, memories, aims and behaviour coincide with each other. For example, if you give a promise to a friend and you fail to keep the promise, you might feel discomfort about the contradiction within your behaviour. Humans aspire to be in line with their own self-perception and their actual behaviour (Felser, 2007). Sometimes it is sufficient to remember one’s opinion and perspectives in order to reactivate them and to behave accordingly. People are also less likely to act contrary to their perspectives when they have announced and discussed them with others...

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