One of the crucial aspects around which the whole market revolves is the consumer satisfaction. Every business organisation ultimately targets at increasing the level of satisfaction of its patrons in order to build the long-lasting relationships with them. In today’s day and age, the business market is ever-changing. In order to maintain their position in the competing market, it is important for the organisation to understand its customers’ demands and tastes. Before launching any product on the market, it is crucial to understand whether the product would get enough appreciation from the customers or not. Companies should research the customers' requirements, tastes, and willingness to buy the services or products. Market research would explore the opportunities for the business to expand. In addition to this, this would determine the factors that affect the consumers' buying behaviour. This research work will try to focus on the Coles Supermarket and the buying behaviour of the consumers. Coles Supermarket is one of the leading Australian Supermarket Chains with more than 1000 store across Australia employing around 100,000 employees. It has an annual revenue of $33 billion. The report will also try to relate the purchasing behaviour of consumer to the level of satisfaction towards food products.
From the point of view of the Coles Supermarket, this business research should have the following objectives:-
This research work is carried out to determine and analyse the consumer buying behaviour regarding the purchase of food products. Moreover, the research would outline the factors that could actually affect the consumer buying behaviour and their effect on the business organisation. For that purpose, a number of surveys and interviews will be taken from the customers visiting the departmental stores of Coles Supermarket. Once the data gets collected and analysed, the final inferences will be made out of it.
According to Neil, B. (2016), the market share of the supermarket companies depend on the prices of the food products and the company’s margin. In search of the lower price and higher values, customers may switch their loyalty to other brands. This happened with the Woolsworth (the rival organisation of Coles) as its market share decreases up to 2.3% in 2015 due to higher prices and large margin. At the same time, the market share of Coles Supermarket increases by 0.2% (Neil, 2016).
According to Nowicki and Sikora (2012), there is a various factor that affects the consumer behaviour. The ecological and biological aspects that are characterised by the human physiology affects their needs, buying behaviour, and consumption. There can be other features, such as age, weight, height, fitness that influence the consumer’s decision-making. The paper also highlights that bio-ecological determinants like environmental impacts severely impact the level of consumption of the food products. It also emphasises on economic factors, such as household income, the percentage of disposable income spending on the food products, the price of the food products, and the supply of the products. Apart from these factors, there are some demographic factors also, namely household size, use of leisure time, education level, etc., affecting the consumer buying behaviour (Nowicki and Sikora, 2012).
Ahila D and Boopathi, C (2015) determined that consumer behaviour towards a food product is directly affected by the new trends and vogue. They understand their needs and desires very well. Therefore, one can get information about their taste, quality, and other attributes directly from them. The organisation should understand that if consumers are unsatisfied, then there are high chances that they can shift to other brands without even giving a second thought. The paper also highlights that consumers usually go for better taste and quality over low price products. If a company offers a high-quality product that justifies the high price, then people will not hesitate in buying those products (Ahila and Boopathi, 2015). \
In one of the research carried out by Roy Morgan (2015), it is found out that over 12 millions people in Australia visit supermarket at least once in 7 days on an average. This is due to higher standard products and various discounts offers. More than 80% of these people visit Coles and Woolsworth (Morgan, 2015).
Another study done by Kurajdova, K (2015) states that if the market is saturated and very competitive, a business organisation can easily succeed if it succeeds in understanding and recognising the consumption patterns. Determining the factors that affect the consumer decision-making process can help in making the attractive offers for the sale of products and services. In addition to this, it would also help in implementing marketing tools that could help in addressing the customer's needs (Kurajdova, 2015).
In one of the studies carried out on the milk products, Elangovan and Gomatheeswaran (2015) found that consumer behaviour is all about focusing on the factors that make consumers spend their money, time, and efforts. In addition to this, the consumer’s lifestyle is influenced by a number of factors, such as social status, culture, subculture, household size, sex, age, demographic factors. All these are external factors. The paper also highlights internal factors also, such as an individual's perception and learning, emotions, and personality attributes. In addition to this, the company's marketing efforts also influence the consumer purchasing behaviour (Elangovan and Gomatheeswaran, 2015).
According to Manciu, V.C. (2017), there are many factors that affect the consumer buying behaviour. In addition to this, the author argues that the customer’s attitude towards the food products is influenced by many elements. One such element is the opinion of another consumer regarding the food product. The paper highlights that the working class people usually order prepared food as they have a very small amount of time with them to cook. Therefore, the online food delivery businesses can attend to their needs in order to expand their business. The paper highlights employees’ attitude as the main factor that impacts the opinion of the customers regarding the business. This influence the image of a particular product and service. (Manciu, 2017).
(Figure 1: Consumer Opinion regarding the food product)
(Source: Manciu, 2017)
In the research work carried out by Kumar and Babu, (2014) on the customer’s choice of preference towards dairy products, the factors affecting the selection of the products were determined. The study emphasise more on carrying out surveys in order to have a better and grounded understanding of consumers’ needs, desires, tastes, and expectations. If a company succeed in this area, then it will surely get an edge in the competing market and can reap great benefits. The collected data can help in brand advertising and implementing marketing plan. This will also help in brand development and building the customer base. In addition to this, the paper also highlights the factors that could affect the customer’s buying behaviour towards the food products. These include product taste, cost, supply, product popularity, and ingredients, packaging, etc., (Kumar and Babu, 2014).
According to Giri and Sharma (2012), there are only four factors that could influence the purchasing power of the consumer. These include the following factors: 1) creative product promotion, product labelling, product information, and outlook of the product. Understanding these factors is important from the perspective of the organisation. If an organisation wants to expand its business, then it must consider and address the aforementioned factors in its planning and decision making. The paper also emphasises on the importance of understanding the impacts of customers’ education on consumer purchasing behaviour. In addition to this, the paper also highlights the factors that instigate consumers to purchase food products of a particular brand. The paper concluded with a statement that more a company educates its target customers, more it is possible for the organisation to sustain them and increase their satisfaction level. The organisation can educate the stakeholders by various means, such as EXPO, free consumer awareness programmes, stalls, etc. The organisation should seek methods to educate the consumer to make them aware of the products and services of the company. Moreover, this method would also help the organisation to understand the customers’ preferences and extent of their tastes. Once an organisation is equipped with such data, it can easily formulate its marketing strategies and business plans in accordance with the customer’s preferences. In addition to this, the author mentions a number of advantages in making the customer educated. These comprise enhanced level of satisfaction, increased sales and consumer awareness, improvised brand image, and many more (Giri and Sharma, 2012),.
In one of the study done by Nguyen and Gizaw (2014), the authors identified five key factors that can influence the consumer’s decision-making process of low-price private brands. These include brand, perception, brand-related activities, attitude, demographic factors, and customer’s intentions to purchase a product. The paper also talks about a factors affecting the decision-making of the food products. One of such key factors includes price-quality relationship. If consumers find that their price and quality expectations are matched, they will feel satisfied with the products offered by the company. In case, the customers are not fully satisfied, they may switch to other brand without giving a second thought. Another aspect that the paper highlights is that female customers buy lower priced products in comparison to male (Nguyen and Gizaw, 2014).
In the report of Tanja Lautiainen (2015), consumer’s behaviour was studied while they choose, buy, use, and dispose food products or services. The study covers a wide variety of customers including small kids to international investors. Consumers seek a wide variety of items in order to fulfil their desires and needs. The author tried to understand the decision-making process and how it influences the consumer’s purchasing behaviour. Author enlists a number of factors that affect the consumer’s purchasing behaviour, such as cultural, personal, social, and psychological factors. Tanja argues that the customer behaviour is linked to human behaviour. Marketers can easily estimate the market trends, demands, and consumers’ needs just by studying the behaviour of customer while making the purchase. The authors emphasises the role of social, psychological, and personal characteristics in affecting the buying behaviour of the consumers (Lautiainen, 2015).
In the paper co-authored by Veiga Neto (2013), the research regarding Coles Supermarket was shown. It highlighted that the process of purchasing food products is very complex and may involve many factors. The paper outlined that the ideas of marketing & advertising and focusing on the social groups can significantly increase the sales. Products features, such as quality and flavour are more crucial than the advertisement. To collect data for qualitative analysis, personal interviews were taken from the target customers in order to understand the factors affecting the purchasing behaviour of the people. Based on the information provided by the analysis, it was determined that quality of food products plays a more crucial role than the quantity and price. In addition to that, promoting faithfulness in young customers can also serve the purpose. This can be done by mentioning expiration date, flavours, nutrients, and other useful information on the packaging (Veiga N, et.al, 2013).
In a study carried out by A.S. Rood and J. Dziadkowiec, there are numerous determinants that could affect the purchasing decisions of the customers while ordering foods in the restaurants. These consist of factors, such as catering facilities, quality of service, external environment, and internal environment. These classes have further bifurcated into other sub-classes that are shown in the table below (Rood and Dziadkowiec, 2015):-
The location of the restaurant
Availability of the parking spot
Exterior of the restaurant
The menu and number of dishes mentioned in it.
Number of seats available in the restaurant
Atmosphere of the restaurant
The noise and disturbances in the restaurant
The waiting area conditions
Knowledge of the staff members
Appearance of the staff members
Efficiency in the delivery services
Availability of the staff in the restaurant
Method of delivery or serving the food
The politeness in the behaviour of the service
Number of times the order is delivered correctly
Friendliness in the staff’s behaviour
Complying with the bill
The taste of the served food
The quality in the material used in the food
The overall appearance of the final food
Compliance with standards
Friendly environment and behaviour of the staff
Sanitation and cleanliness
Employee’s behaviour in the pressurised situations
Independent or network restaurant
According to Seedaken, J. (2013), the ratio of men to women in overall consumers is 3:2. In addition to this, the majority of the consumer of the food product comprises people belonging to the age group of 20-30 who are either scholars or working. The paper outlines that the decision-making to purchase a product is independent and remains unaffected by other person. The reason for this is that the customers address only their tastes while deciding to purchase products (Seedaken, 2013). Another research study done by Tanapongporn, A. (2012) highlights that the ratio of male to female is 4:5. The paper highlights that the consumer demands are affected by the occasions and seasons. People having monthly income less than 10,000 Baht make most of their exotic food purchase during festive periods. In addition to this, their choice of selecting a product is highly dependent on the information provided by friend or relatives (Tanapongporn, 2012).
Most of the research works focus mainly on behaviour, demand, and satisfaction level of customers who purchase the food products from departmental stores and supermarkets, such as Woolsworth ltd, Coles Supermarket, Aldi, etc. None of the study targets the 7Os of the consumer analysis, i.e., occupants, organisational roles, objects, outlets, occasions, objectives, and operations (purchasing process). In addition to this, none of the research study considers online mode of purchasing the food products. Factors affecting the online purchase are different and none of the literature considered in this section talked about them.
This research report highlighted the importance of buying behaviour of customers and their satisfaction level towards food products in context Coles Supermarket. It outlined a few objectives that could help in achieving the ultimate aim of the business research project. Launching a food product is not an easy task as an organisation has to understand the demands of the customers in order to achieve customer satisfaction. A few literatures had been reviewed in order to determine the gap in the study and the factors affecting the purchasing the food products. This research work focused on the buying behaviour of the consumers and how it is related with the level of satisfaction towards food products.
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