The purpose of this report is to describe and analyze consumer behavior while purchasing KitchenAid Artisan KSM150 Stand Mixer. The consumer is female, 21 years old. With the passion for cooking and the high expectation of gaining popular image on social media, the consumer is heavily involved in all five stages of this decision-making process, from need recognition to post-purchase behavior. As the iconic symbol of domesticity, KitchenAid stand mixer is the premium product that features the love of cooking and truly represents its owners’ lifestyle, achievements, and personal wealth. Its marketing initiatives have successfully won the attention of the new targeted market, the millennial generation, including this consumer.
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When the customer started her patisserie course, she purchased the Kmart Bench Mixer at $59 to practice at home. As a new patisserie student, she decided to buy the generic brand because of its reasonable price. When the consumer finishes her course and plans to open her bakery shop online, the requirement of new equipment for her business has become external stimuli that trigger an unfulfilled need to purchase a new stand mixer. In addition to this, the consumers’ dissatisfaction with the performance and quality of a generic brand is aroused by high-end products due to functional and psychological needs (Dudovskiy 2013, Bing & Chen, 2017). There is a discrepancy between the actual state and the desired state (Kotler, 2010). The current situation with her unfulfilling technology and the desired lifestyle leads to problem recognition.
This consumer has proven that social motivation of acceptance, based on the relevance of status consumption and self-expression, is the strongest motivation for millennials to consume (Martin & Turley, 2004). What makes KitchenAid become such an iconic status is its product’s design and quality itself. Also, the ability to personalize the product and express the owner’s identity through color choice satisfies the millennials’ expectations and habits (Pete & Adam, 2013).
21st century’s KitchenAid relies heavily on social media to create opportunities to influence millennials’ behaviors, personalities, and lifestyles (Aksoy et al., 2013). In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, KitchenAid creates an opportunity to approach the consumers by connecting them through the global campaign #MakeItTogether (Digitas, 2020), making staying home time more valuable, less stressful to their consumers (Hoskin, 2018 as cited in Pasquarelli, 2018). Therefore, KitchenAid continually creates a perceived “need” within the consumer to purchase its product regardless of the current state.
A positive attitude can heavily influence the duration and complexity of this step (Johnston, 2013). In this case, the internal connection with the KitchenAid brand enables her to quickly and easily make it become the preferred brand. However, this consumer is still cautious and willing to do external research. Personal interaction, such as word of mouth (WOM), mass-market communication (i.e., advertising, cooking magazine), online (consumer rating websites, reviews, search engine, social media), are primary sources of external searches. However, as the largest group of the tech-savvy population, millennials usually believe in relationships with social media influencers, celebrities, and micro-influencers, who can create better customer intimacy (Goldgehn, 2004). Our character decides to search online for her unfulfilling mixer replacement. Since today the lifestyle branding is happening increasingly online through social media influencers (Glucksman, 2017) and the brands promote themselves correspondingly (Hughes et al., 2019), the KitchenAid brand knows how to reach our character. The tools of targeting work well, thus it is the KitchenAid who finds her, rather than otherwise.
Evaluation of Alternatives
Stand mixers have similarities. As savvy, design-conscious consumers, it is was highly likely that they would carefully scrutinize all these options before considering spending over $500 on a stand mixer (James, 2009). When evaluating, consumers usually establish the most important features or specific cut-off to suit the individual need. From this consumer’s evoked set (Howard, 1963), KitchenAid faces several challenges from high-end competitors such as Kenwood or SMEG within a similar price range. A comparison of brands/sub-brands in the consumer’s evoked set can be viewed in table 1:
|Kenwood Chef Elite XL Kitchen Machine Silver KVL6300S||$689||Myer|
|KitchenAid Artisan Mini||$699||Harvey Norman|
|Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer Red 5KSM160PSAER||$729||Myer|
|Kitchen Aid KSM 170||$1,536||Harvey Norman|
Purchasing a KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer would be a result of both internal and external influences. Since the consumer is aware of what features she is looking for and buys accordingly, the lexicographic rule is applied to decide on which of the KitchenAid’s models to purchase. Price is often the first aspect of buying the stand mixer; however, when other values (perceived or real) are fulfilled, consumers are willing to pay. Thus, it is a process of building an emotional connection, rather than a rationalization of choice. The most decisive factor in the evaluation between the alternative was the processing by brand. Having seen many popular influencers on social media, especially Instagram, using this particular KitchenAid mixer and other products by KitchenAid, she desires to join the club (Baldwin, 2020). Not the least, she is willing to become an influencer as well. This rationale excluded rational elimination by attributes since the consumers often choose socially acceptable and popular products corresponding to their social needs over rationally justified choice. This behavior is termed ‘conspicuous consumption’ (Veblen, 2005), and nowadays, it is present among millennials choosing products through social media (Helal et al., 2018).
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When the decision is made, consumers have several options to finalize their purchase. Either online through the KitchenAid website or online/in-store at third-party retailers carrying KitchenAid. The store atmosphere, layout, design, or weather are not as crucial as other determinant factors such as product promotion, product availability, delivery options when considering an online purchase.
The outcome of the purchase – satisfaction/dissatisfaction – happens when consumers compare the real experience with the product to their expectations. The superior baking result when she works with KitchenAid Stand Mixer has given this product credit for it. The admiration from family and friends and positive reviews of her social media post feed her ego and lifestyle; therefore, such satisfaction positively influences the consumer’s decision process on their next similar purchase, especially at the stages of need recognition. The longevity of the product contributes to owners’ personal attachment, excluding regrets, which could have come when rationalizing her purchase. One of the crucial aspects contributing to the KitchenAid’s iconic status is its longetivity. Longevity is another crucial aspect of the KitchenAid stand mixer’s iconic status. This decision did not lead to cognitive dissonance for the reason belonging to an imagined community (Cui et al., 2016) is more valuable than rational economic choice.
This report demonstrates consumer behavior through 5 stages when purchasing a KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer. The result of this purchase comes from both external and internal influences. Internal and external research allows the consumer to evaluate all options to ensure a positive purchase experience. However, in this case, although individual preferences, experiences and social media relationship influences a purchase decision, such an iconic symbol that the product and the brand KitchenAid have, has been aroused the consumer. Consumer loyalty is also building through the satisfaction of the customer with the purchase.
List of References
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Pasquarelli, A. (2018). KitchenAid fights competitors with “Maker” campaign. AdAge. Web.
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Pate, SS & Adams, M 2013. ‘The influence of social networking sites on buying behaviors of millennials’, Atlantic Marketing Journal, vol. 2, no.1, p.92-109.
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