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Does Social Media Affect Consumer Choice?

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Know How Social Media( Facebook) Affect the Consumer Choice

4046 Downloads I Published: 05 Jun ,2018

Identifying factors contributing to process of research project selection

According to Hollensen and Raman, (2014, p.17), in today’s world, social media becomes a part and parcel of an individual’s life. Different social media platforms like, Twitter, Facebook, on the other hand, Instagram and LinkedIn includes a number of users which keeps on growing daily. Overall it is found that more than millions of people are actively communicating through social media. Marketers are being attracted towards the growing rate of users and have recognized that social media marketing is a major part of helping marketing interactive techniques. Also, the companies helped via social media marketing in order to communicate with the customers for decision-making purposes. This collaboration with the marketers helps them to identify and understand the needs of the customers and their choices regarding particular product or service.

The main business factors of social media towards consumers are that it acknowledges in estimating products, making endorsement to the contacts, and sharing any of the investments through social media platform. Online marketing imposes communication through these social podiums which create an impact on consumer choices and marketing strategies. Customer socialization theory anticipates that the increase rate of communication among patrons not only affect cognitive attitudes but also the intuitive and behavioral aspects. Advertising on social media folio has taken a new chapter of consumer’s behavior. The consumers spending more time in online window shopping tend to make purchases or start business on social media because they are more active and communicate with people largely. Consumer’s choices or decision making has a huge impact on the recommendations made by their connections on social media. It helps in brand awareness, buying attitudes and in advertising mediums. The more generous responses a product or service receives, the more rates of consumer purchasing increases. Therefore, it shows that most of the top brands and their services views it and lead to social media marketing for its brand image to grow.

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Starbucks is considered as the largest coffeehouse chains in the world, and definitely the largest in the United Kingdom. It was established in the year 1998 and has over 539 stores alone in UK and more than 21,366 stores across the globe. Starbucks successfully entered the European market because of its number of Seattle Coffee Company in the UK (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2017). Both the companies shared a familiar culture which focuses on the assurance to customer-built coffee. It has same company values with a bonding of respect for each other for the consumers and the environment.

Starbucks buys and roasts high-quality whole bean coffees and its essence of having a genuine service makes the customers attracted towards the company. These coffeehouses have become a flare for all coffee lovers in the entire world because they are getting an inviting atmosphere and a superb cup of mouth watering richly brewed coffee. In order to please the taste buds, they offer varieties of premium teas, pastries, and other delicious treats. The ambiance filled with a music which is chosen for its artistic decoration and the appeal. The environment welcomes people to chat, meet up or even sometimes to work. As a part of daily routine, it stands up as a neighborhood hanging out place which makes it as proud reward to be so close to the heart of the customers. Everything the company takes as an initiative to do makes it sure to do for the benefits of its patrons, i.e., from the commitment of serving fine quality of coffee to the way engaging with the communities for developing the business in a responsible way. It has also participated in social media platform to reach out to its consumers for availing the offers and discounts and receiving high rates of reviews from the. The advertisements they put on their Facebook pages helps them to rise in their business prospect (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2017).

Undertaking critical review of key reference of research topic

As stated by Ashley and Tuten, (2015, p.16), the usage of social media has reached a high growth level where the consumers in recent years, prefer to purchase products and services and also to conduct business through social media platforms. Consumers are getting influenced while buying products because of variety of options available in social media and the comments and reviews of other users about the particular product or services. In order to analyze whether social media really affects in consumer’s choices of purchasing, it is needed to look after and research the amount of time they spent on the internet and how they get influenced by other users. On company’s pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc it gets to see the pictures, comments, and reviews of the people visited the place or purchased items from that particular websites. Generally, the consumers planning to visit or purchase go through the opinions of other customers and judge it as the rates the particular site obtained. So, it can be said that social media affects in customer’s decision making as it has opened a wide platform where people can post pictures, comment, and review as per their opinions.

As mentioned by Cader and Tenaiji, (2013, p.546), the onset of social media has emerged a new landscape that creates a new grid of personal connections. Business enterprises see abundant opportunities to extent its platform towards the mass and are eager to step into the trend, whereas customers are laid behind to the core of the business world for social media. This research will give an explanation on the basis of how people are selecting, deciding and processing the information before buying. The findings stated that individuals perform a productive role on searching data and materials on social media rather than on mass media, which includes the strategies of both objective and subjective methods while seeking. It is to find out all the changes that social media has brought to the consumer's way of purchasing and in their choice making process. The approachability and the clarity of gathering information offered by social media to its customers have indicated trough this research topic. Consumers today can access to all relevant information not only in a wide range but also at a high speed. Social media thus, play a powerful role in collecting ideas, values, and data including the relevant information about the offers and discounts.

Aims, Objectives and Research Questions

Aim:

The major aim of this research project is to critically examine the affects of social media on the decision-making of the consumers.

Objectives:

  • To critically examine the impact of social media on the patrons of Starbucks
  • To understand the effect of social media on decision making
  • To evaluate the impact of customer’s decision making on overall business of Starbucks
  • To recommend some ways by which Starbucks can improve their strategies of social media marketing.

Research Questions:

  • How social media can influence customers of Starbucks?
  • What are the effects of social media on customer’s decision making?
  • How does social media can influence the overall business of Starbucks?
  • What are the ways by which Starbucks can improve their strategies of social media marketing?

Methodology:

The researcher will examine this current research by analyzing the influences that social media created on the purchasers and evaluating the impact of customer’s choice of making decisions on the entire business of Starbucks. The learner for the current research will gather both primary and secondary types of data. Primary qualitative data will be gathered through the interview session with the social media marketing executives of Starbucks, while the secondary qualitative data will be noted from the selective books and journals.

Matching resources effectively to research questions

Social media is a method of reaching large base of customers with the use of internet. People all over the world have been integrated into one zone using this media. Social media has become an important part of life of people as well as business sectors. Business ventures use this media efficiently for marketing their products. This helps in reaching large customer base of world. Social media comprises of characteristics like openness, community, connectivity and participation. All these attributes assist in enhancing speed, longevity, and interactivity between several people. Fan and Gordon (2014, p.75) stated that community help in making virtual as well as online communities for better work conduction. Huge difference lies between social media network and also in other communities. Connectivity has been greatly improved using this media because number of people can be connected in a chain using this social media.

Different resources are being integrated using this connectivity. Social media network is much advanced than that of other forms of media. Trust worthy relation is encouraged using this form of services. Online social media is very rapid in its work. Companies when market their products using this field, try to use latest technologies. This help in gaining more opinions thereby, enhancing business processes suitably. Moreover, decisions of customers have been reformed greatly because this media encourages participation as well sharing information. Using social media, participation of customers can be encouraged more thereby, improving business processes greatly.

As a result, social media attributes help in bringing customers into one frame. Intention of purchasing of customers develops more if a product is more common in social media. Research shows that buying decision of buyers is more complex, which is guided by social media characteristics. Scott (2015, p.998) demonstrated that planning of purchasing of products comes from behavioral nature of buyers. Prediction of users regarding buying of particular product is subjected to advertisement of goods in social media. When people find some changes in composition of products, they show the urge of buying that product more. In this way, business profit, as well as people’s choices, is reformed by social media by its effects.

Importance of Social Media on buying decisions of customers

Social media can influence purchasing behavior of customers in a large aspect. Dingus et al. (2016, p.175) claimed that Brand value, quality of products and price of products can adversely affect choices of customers. Marketers try to manipulate purchaser’s decisions by advertising their products. Effective advertisements are displayed by every business sector in order to move customers towards their products or services. Social media is an important mode of communication between customers and enterprises. Relationship between customer’s choices and social media directly impacts upon attitudes of advertisements and intentions of purchasing of customers. Choices of customers vary in large amount when social media comes into action. It is necessary that effective modes of communication need to be used by business ventures for inclining more customers towards themselves.

Jin et al. (2014, p.75) mentioned that social media does not only advertise products but forms a strong source of communication between ventures and users. In order to search or enquire about new products or services, social media forms a reliable source for people. Reactions, as well as responses of purchasers, are formulated when they use such media for knowing about new products. Buyers can reach company suitably if they use social media as a base for communication. Recent trends of business show that people are buying products in online mode. Buying nature of customers is changing according to the trend of business. Since globalization has reached a great height, companies are trying to match up with such level of business trend. Rapp et al. (2013, p.550) commented that companies are focusing on marketing process greatly thereby, using platform of social media more. Customers are more active on social media sites.

That is why; huge buyers are able to incline towards such products of different business enterprises. When customers are engaged in decision-making process, each aspect might be a reason behind affecting choices of customers. Motives of purchasers in indulging them in social media lead to gain an insight regarding buying activities of customers. Using social media, buyers can be divided into two separate groups namely, rational group and emotional groups. As a result, social media not only affects decision regarding costly items but also impacts buying of inexpensive items. Whiting and Williams (2013, p.362) argued that social media helps in broadcasting items that are launched recently. In addition to that, vision of purchasers is also broadened using such marketing practices. That is why; expectations, as well as demand of customers, increase in massive amount from different enterprises. Those companies that make changes in their products accordingly, they are welcomed by customers. Social media helps in advertising such products, which indirectly helps in motivating large base of customers.

Theories related to influencing customers

Conversion theory and information manipulation theory help in influencing customers’ decisions greatly by social media. As stated by Kannan (2015, p.40), conversion theory states where involvement of minority is seen, other people get converted towards majority customers. That is why; social media need to move more customers towards their products so that impact can be left upon different customers. Majority of people are most susceptible people, who like a product or service of an organisation. It becomes easier for any organisation to motivate disinterested people towards their products by providing examples of majority customers. It is essential that buyers remain satisfied after their purchasing of products or using products. Social media need to use effective advertising policies so that people can get attracted easily. This will help in gaining immense profit in business. However, impact of social media upon customers’ choices is great.

Schivinski and Dabrowski (2016, p.190) argued that there lies variety of customers in market, whose purchasing nature is different from others. However, companies use this media in such a manner that every customer can pay attention towards their products at least once. Majority people, whose voices are confident, assist in converting rejection of numerous users into accepting of products. As a result, social media is very effective in its field of motivating customers. Information manipulation theory helps in segmenting products or services into four parts, namely, quantity, quality, relation and manner (Hollebeek et al. 2014, p.150). All these attributes lead to determine quality and quantity of products suitably. When customers judge products’ attributes, they decide whether they need to buy that product or not. Social media provides guidance to people regarding quality and quantity of products. This makes them more determine to buy the products or neglect it. Relation and manner are other aspects that are expressed by social media regarding any product.

Non-verbal actions speak more than verbal actions. That is why; customers can be involved in buying accurate products from market. Buyers can understand things more when social media provides assistance regarding services that is provided by companies. By providing correct information, purchasers can be manipulated suitably thereby, ensuring that social media affects customers’ choices immensely. Peters et al. (2013, p.282) opined that purchasers have to be very efficient in dealing with messages that are provided using social media. This helps in influencing society in a large manner. As a result, customers can use this theory for profitable outcomes. Every business enterprises need to use social media more for conducting task of marketing. This will help in gaining attention of customers that purchase products online and also purchase products offline. It is required that change in approach of marketing has to be done for ensuring profitable results in business.

Unique aspects of social media

According to Hajli, (2014, p.387), social media networks and communities of different brands are used by the consumers to be updated about all kinds of latest brand and product developments by going through the relevant data available online. Social networking sites include Facebook brand community which connects people all over the world to view the contents in the pages of al product companies and to like the page and review the product or services used by them. Companies aware of brand communities divert their attention by offering valuable benefits to their patrons in the form of social partnership, entertainment and social networking sites like Facebook in terms of business profile are mainly used by the corporate firms in order to engage their customers to build relationship with other loyal customers. It also encourages the people who want to conduct business through social media platforms to use business-oriented social networking sites like LinkedIn.

As stated by Hudson and Thal, (2013, p.150), social media influence the customers in terms of making their choices by allowing them to go through the reviews of the particular product or service before purchasing. It helps the customers to make the right choice worth to the expenditure they spent for the product. Brands are benefitted by extending its link to reach to the friends of their target audience which will lead to increase in understanding of people. This new trend in the society helps the companies to compete better in the market for earning profits. The developed social interaction enables the companies to gain information that can be relied upon and helps the customers to make a fine decision of purchasing which will create impact on overall business. The brands developing strategies for and committed their assets within a fixed time and efforts in maintaining an online existence on social media received positive results of their social media marketing. As the development of online groups has emerged on a wider scale, interaction with customers has also grown at a personal level resulting into exclusive sales for the enterprises using this mode of marketing.

Future contribution of social media in motivating decisions of customers

As mentioned by Hutter, et al. (2013, p.342), businesses using social media platform to extent its growth towards the mass includes quality of a product or service, the advertising promotion and budget in order to create differences in consumer decision-making process. Consumers in recent time are seen to either buying expensive or inexpensive but all are based on the recommendations from social media by their contacts present there. Thus, it can be said that social media does create impact on purchasing behavior by influencing the consumers.

Shopper marketing has emerged as a brand new concept which creates a unique line between the business and the customers for communicating. This type of marketing influences the shopper from the beginning when the motivation to open the shop first emerges in accordance with purchase, utilizing, consuming, repurchasing and recommendation. It helps in planning and executing the business properly in order to influence the customers for making right decision while purchasing the products and services. For retailers, perceived fit is a crucial factor in considering shopper marketing. It is the point of being similar with the extension product category and existing products which has been affiliated by the brand. On user-friendly social networking sites, the more people adopt shopping services, the more it will prove their willingness to purchase items on social networks. Retailers can grow their business from emerging shopping services on social networks due to wide range of consumers using social media sites which helps in reaching the target markets. Therefore, it gives an opportunity of creating a productive platform for retailers in order to promote their brand and products to promising customers. This will have a huge impact in future on social media marketing and decision making process of the consumers.

As commented by Hudson, et al. (2015, p.68) the relationship between social media and consumer decision-making states that social media affects advertising process, brand image, and purchasing ideas of consumers. It is the power of social media to create brand image which will have impact on buying behavior. On a social media platform, when a customer’s friend recommends any product or service, it affects brand identity and image which will have impact on decision-making. Advertising on social media by commercial evidences not only affect the brand attitudes of a consumer but also its purchasing intention. Many marketers adopted social media to create effective marketing campaigns to interact with the consumers. Thus, it helps the marketers in planning strategies to influence consumer.

Undertaking proposed research investigation

In this research, researcher has used positivism philosophy, descriptive design and deductive approach for conduction of research. Trainor et al. (2014, p.1202) stated that Positivism philosophy helps researcher to make proper logical summarization of research. As a result, huge evidence and facts can be gained using this research. Moreover, positivism will lead to making facts more clear and understand more about this particular topic properly. This philosophy is entirely based on natural incidents that take place. Proper relation and properties related to a particular topic are understood using this philosophy. Apart from this, reasonable as well as relevant explanation regarding this topic can be gathered using positivism philosophy. Descriptive design leads to conduct data analysis part of research in a proper manner. Descriptive design will help researcher to know this topic properly and gather information about it in a suitable manner. This research can be changed duly when proper information can be collected using this design. Information gathered related to this topic will be of descriptive nature. This will help in understanding this topic immensely. Davenport et al. (2014, p.213) demonstrated that deductive approach is used by researcher in order to make use of existing literature regarding a particular topic. In inductive approach, requirement of new theory is there. In this research, use of existing philosophy is done for its proper conduction.

Recording and collating required data

In this research, both survey and interview are being done in order to collect data. In primary research, quantitative data collection method is used. Qualitative data collection process is also being used in this part. Two managers of Starbucks are being interviewed in qualitative data collection. 20 customers of Starbucks are being taken as a sample size for conducting survey. This will help in understanding more about influence of social media upon customer’s decisions. Random probability technique has been used in this research data collection method for better outcomes. Behavior of customers towards products and services of this venture is being understood suitably. Data collection process will help in knowing in what way, several strategies in business are being taken by this company for ensuring proper competition in market. Ngai et al. (2014, p.40) stated that survey assists in gaining proper knowledge regarding work processes of every business sector. Recording of data needs to be properly arranged for bringing required results from this survey process. However, method of data collection can make several reformation business processes for guaranteeing accurate results. Graphs are drawn in relation to every questionnaire for proper understanding of impact of social media on users choices.

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Using appropriate research evaluation techniques

Descriptive analysis is being used in this study for evaluating techniques of qualitative data. Statistical analysis is being done for better conduction of quantitative data collection method. Usage of descriptive data collection method will help in understanding patterns of business conducted by Starbucks and what factors are leading such business sector to gain more competitive advantage in business. Statistical analysis will lead to bringing out proper inference from gathered data. This will lead to understanding working process of this venture. In which areas, reformation needs to be done can be also be anticipated from these researches.

Conclusion

The main motive of the research is how consumer decision-making process has changed in the Digital age, mainly in the field of social media. The information available to us goes on increasing day by day resulting in exposure and presenting different features of data via Social Web. In today’s market social media usage has become part of daily routine to access different platforms either for conducting business or for purchasing. The research contains literature review to get the analysis of various critics on how consumer behavior has changed immensely. In order to get the best outcomes and recommendations in terms of Starbucks, survey of twenty people has been done to go through the changes in their behavior on online purchasing in recent years. Interview of two managers has also been taken to understand the values that companies do for social media marketing which ultimately leads to proper decision-making of the consumers.

Reference List

  • Ashley, C. and Tuten, T., (2015). Creative strategies in social media marketing: An exploratory study of branded social content and consumer engagement.Psychology & Marketing,32(1), pp.15-27.
  • Cader, Y. and Al Tenaiji, A.A., (2013). Social media marketing.International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation,2(6), pp.546-560.
  • Davenport, S.W., Bergman, S.M., Bergman, J.Z. and Fearrington, M.E., (2014). Twitter versus Facebook: Exploring the role of narcissism in the motives and usage of different social media platforms. Computers in Human Behavior, 12(32), pp.212-220.
  • Dingus, R., Agnihotri R., Hu, M.Y. and Krush, M.T., (2016). Social media: Influencing customer satisfaction in B2B sales. Industrial Marketing Management, 53(2), pp.172-180.
  • Fan, W. and Gordon, M.D., (2014). The power of social media analytics.Communications of the ACM,57(6), pp.74-81.
  • Hajli, M.N., (2014). A study of the impact of social media on consumers.International Journal of Market Research,56(3), pp.387-404.
  • Hollebeek, L.D., Glynn, M.S. and Brodie, R.J., (2014). Consumer brand engagement in social media: Conceptualization, scale development and validation. Journal of interactive marketing, 28(2), pp.149-165.
  • Hollensen, S. and Raman, A., (2014). Social Media Marketing.Marketing Canada-Journal of the Canadian Institute of Marketing, 4(21), pp.17-24
  • Hudson, S. and Thal, K.,(2013). The impact of social media on the consumer decision process: Implications for tourism marketing.Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing,30(1-2), pp.156-160.
  • Hudson, S., Roth, M.S., Madden, T.J. and Hudson, R., (2015). The effects of social media on emotions, brand relationship quality, and word of mouth: An empirical study of music festival attendees.Tourism Management,47(7), pp.68-76.
  • Hutter, K., Hautz, J., Dennhardt, S. and Füller, J., (2013). The impact of user interactions in social media on brand awareness and purchase intention: the case of MINI on Facebook.Journal of Product & Brand Management,22(6), pp.342-351.
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