Bai_whole_thesis.pdf (1.88 MB)
A study of the effect of product information cues on consumers' purchase decision-making of unknown brands
thesisposted on 2023-05-27, 12:07 authored by Bai, X
China is rapidly becoming an important market for consumer goods. Though branding across a number of product categories in the context of the Chinese market is well studied, relatively little is known about how consumers respond to products carrying brands that are neither known nor familiar with. In order to address this gap of research, the purpose of this study is to gain an insight into how Chinese consumers utilise product attribute cues to evaluate product quality and their intention to purchase, particularly towards unknown brands. Through a review of relevant theories and literature, this study comprehensively identified and analysed all major external product cues which may directly influence consumers' perception towards unknown brands. In particular, this study created a multi-cue situation to understand consumers' decision-making process with all product cues presented to consumers simultaneously for consumers to evaluate. Field experiment was employed and the data was analysed using conjoint analysis and 2x2x2x2 factorial design. The results of the experiment indicated that price similarity and package similarity, among all other external factors, exhibited the highest level of influence in consumers purchase decision-making under the shopping context. Retailer image exhibited moderate level of influence in the decision-making process while third party organisation endorsement does not show significant influence. Significant interaction effect was also found between price similarity and package similarity indicating the congruence signal of external cues also affect consumers decision-making significantly. This research contributes by extending the application of existing cue utilisation theory to the context of unknown brands. By combining signalling theory and assimilation/contrast theory, this research proposed two unique external product cues that were critical to consumers' decision-making process but largely neglected by previous studies. This research highlights that it is important for marketers to understand how to manipulate external product cues to shift the position of their brands into consumers evoked set. In addition to this, it is important for marketers to know the investment towards which external factors are most cost-effective and can make their brands stand out‚ÄövÑvp easier and sooner. Furthermore, this research suggests that marketers are required to ensure the external product cues are sending consistent signals to enhance the positive effect of cue manipulation.
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