Fall 2013 Semester
Introduction and Justification In a country that is purely driven by capitalism, one must due whatever possible to stay ahead of the curve. In every economic system, entrepreneurs and managers bring together natural resources, labor, and technology to produce and distribute goods and services. But the way these different elements are organized and used also reflects a nation's political ideals and its culture. In The United States, some may argue that capitalism is failing due to the uneven distribution of wealth. Fail or not, our system is run by consumers. These consumers determine the strength of the economy, and a companies ability to understand their mental inner-workings will better that companies chances of generating profit. Consumer behavior is the study of how individuals, groups, and organizations select, buy, use, and dispose of goods, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy their needs and wants. Consumers are exposed to a myriad of marketing and other external stimuli on a daily basis for which the marketer has to consider consumer characteristics and consumer psychology to successfully position a product or service. Consumer characteristics include; culture, social and personal factors and consumer psychology include motivation, perception, learning and memory. I am currently employed part time at B.J.’s Wholesale Club. At this establishment I work in customer service. I do many tasks such as returns, taking phone calls, fielding complaints and many other responsibilities. The main focus of my job however is convincing new customers to join the club. In a way, My job is more about being a salesman than anything else. The core driving force behind this establishments profits is membership fees. The average grocery store orders product from a distributor and increases the price margin between 30-40 percent. With a wholesale club however, they only increase the margin by 3-4 percent. So one can easily see how essential it is for a wholesale club to have lots of paying members. The purpose of this action research project was to see if by better understanding certain consumer behavior ideologies, I would be able to increase my rate of getting people to join this wholesale club. Culture is the underlying determinant of a person’s wants and behaviors. Our values are shaped by our cultural heritage for example. Americans value individualism, freedom, youthfulness, success whereas the British value tradition, the family, the rule of law, etc. Similarly, subcultures such as religion, racial groupings and geographical location impact on consumer behavior.
Description of Business Setting B.J.’s Wholesale club is a large box store. It is about the size of semi pro sporting event arena with 40 ft high ceilings. It is a perpetually running operation open seven days a week along with a night crew who restocks the facility at night. The average member spends around $1000 dollars a year. The sell food, meat, bakery goods, electronics, home goods clothing and eye glasses.
Description of Research Design Because businesses need to understand their consumers in order to develop products and marketing campaigns that appeal to their target audience, people in sales often spend a great deal of time learning more about what makes shoppers tick. This often involves first figuring out the target audience for a particular product including the gender, age and socioeconomic status of the typical club member. The most important reason companies studying consumer behavior is because of the central role it plays in consumer’s lives, much of the time people are thinking in the market by buying or related activities. Besides, it is important to understand consumers in order to help the company or organization achieve its objectives. Advertising managers, product designers and many others who work in profitable companies want consumers to know in order