What Influences a Purchase Decision – A Look at the Customers’ Perspectives

Products are now being evaluated by each individual element of a product as well as the finished product as a whole. Do consumers care more about the environmental footprint of a specific product or the overall behavior of the corporation that produces the product when making a purchase decision? In this report, Cambridge Global Advisory looks into the rationale of which perspective is a greater consumer influence factor.

Product Origination

We live in an environment where we have access to copious information about the products and services we consume, origin and their lifecycle. Knowing that a product originates from an unethical source can deter the consumer from making that purchase. This may be the result of the firm operating in an inappropriate manner or because the actual product is potentially damaging to its users. As different stakeholders will hold a variety of views, there may be no consensus about the validity of the accusation, which is why producers may seek to defend their policies and products to ensure that the accusation lacks popular support.

We have seen a trend in major multinational corporations who are now conscientious of their product’s sourcing. Companies like Starbucks, who seeks to serve high-quality coffee that is responsibly grown and ethically traded. Starbucks does this through their coffee sourcing practices, farmer support centers, loan programs and forest conservation efforts. Starbucks shows their commitment to environmentally responsible through carrying eco-friendly merchandise, furniture and the other items found in their stores, including the paint on the store’s walls.

Environmental Responsibility

Another company that has been in the forefront of environmentally responsible sourcing is Walmart. They have programs in place which focuses on three areas; empowerment, worker safety, and transparent supply chain. To help verify that the requirements in Walmart’s standards for suppliers are met, they have invested in comprehensive social audits across global supply chain. Such audits include review of the working conditions, and ensuring a healthy eco-system to their employees.

21% of women say they usually or always gravitate to restaurants that offer locally sourced items, compared to just 14% of men. – MarketBriefing

In a study carried out by MarketBriefing, American Express, majority of consumers report that they seek out locally sourced products in restaurants, at least occasionally. While only 17% always or usually look for restaurants that offer local sourcing, 40% do so sometimes, for a total of 57%; the other 42% say the issue holds little or no interest for them. Consumers’ willingness to go out of their way to find locally sourced foods in restaurants varies quite a bit by generation: 29% of those under age 35 say they always or usually seek out a restaurant that touts foods and ingredients from the area, compared to 23% of consumers between the ages of 35 and 44 and a mere 9% of those 45 and older. There are also notable gender differences: 21% of women say they usually or always gravitate to restaurants that offer locally sourced items, compared to just 14% of men. CGA team can conclude based on this research that interest in local sourcing of many menu items is widespread and growing, sustained by ideals of freshness and a drive to boost the regional economy.

Locally Sourced Products

Promoting and catering to the needs of environmentally cognizant consumer, large metropolises have started to harvest crops on their rooftops. Cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco are on this list. While it maybe hard to decide which factor is more influential in making a buying decision, we can say that today’s consumer is more likely to buy an environmentally responsible product than a product with no supply chain visibility.

About the Author: Waqqas Mahmood is the Member of the Advisory Board at Cambridge Global Advisory (www.cambridgeglobaladvisory.com). Have a question or comment? Email the author at, waqqas.mahmood@cambridgeglobaladvisory.com.

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