The figure below presents consumer goals in terms of their buying preferences. It could be seen that the core reason that determines why such and such consumers buy certain products is primarily due to their life theme and values. In effect of these, their life themes and values deeply influenced how they are going to deal with their life projects, current concerns and consumption intentions. Finally, the benefits sought and the feature preferences are also considered as the end goal of the being and doing hierarchy. Figure 3: A hierarchical model of consumer goals Source:
Ratneshwar, Mick and Huffman (2000, p. 14) Life themes and values are the personal ideas of being and the highest goal in a persons framework. A terminal value is a belief that is considered as an end in itself such as freedom r wisdom. These types of values are like existential concerns that every customer has to deal with their daily lives which are rooted on their personal histories (p. 15). Themes and values in ones life are the core conceptions of the self. These values are deeply embedded, interconnected and central in order to maintain integrity of the self-system.
Corollary with this, these values are relatively stable and accessible as well and could be activated easily in almost any circumstance. As such it could be said that themes and values serve as a yardstick or standard guide to lower-order goals and actions (p. 17). Current concerns such as activities, tasks or quests are also vital in a consumers buying behavior. For instance, activities or life projects that a customer wants to engage into like gardening, being an animal rights advocate and the likes influences them to buy certain products that are in accordance to such goals (p.18).
2. 5 CSR and Purchasing Decisions The link between CSR and consumer purchasing decisions is something that has a direct relationship. It has been said by Varadarajan and Menon (1988) that it is very relevant for consumers to first be educated on a particular companys level of social responsibility before they could incorporate such on their pattern of behavior. This is important so that consumer purchasing decisions could be affected by the CSR programs that a company is employing.
The notion of cause related marketing which is a way for companies to support non profit organizations by allotting a certain percentage of their sales to the former is one of the most effective way of doing the aforementioned (Mohr and Webb, 2001, p. 45). Albeit, it should be noted that although CSR has been highly exercised by most companies, the biggest inhibitor of the latters success is lack of consumer awareness on a particular companys CSR program. However even if this is the case, there is a growing evidence that a lot of consumers are desiring to know more about how companies conducts their businesses.
The purchasing information that was given by Council on Economic Priorities in 1994 tells that consumer interest on CSR has been steadily growing (Mohr and Webb, 2001, p. 45). 2. 6 Customer Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty Customer satisfaction is difficult to understand and it is define in different ways. Many researchers argued that there is a difference between the customer satisfaction, which is gained from tangible products and intangible services. The difference is because of the intangibility of the services and the failure to separate production and consumption.
Therefore, customer satisfaction from services and goods may come from and influenced by different factors. Hence, should be considered separately and differently (Veloutsou, C. et al, 2005). Two issues should be considered when looking customer satisfaction in services whether it is conceptualized or transaction specific or cumulative (Hoest, V. and Knie-Andersen, M. , 2004). Customer satisfaction has been perceived as not the sole determining factor for a loyal customer base (Griffin and Herres, 2002, p. 2).
During the 1980s and the 1990s, the notion of customer satisfaction which is weighed in terms of providing quality customer service and excellence has been perceived as providing good financial results and repeat purchase. A study conducted by Forum Corporation (Stum and Thiry, 1991, p. 34) claimed that 40% of the customers who participated in the study claimed to be satisfied with a particular product found it easy to shift brands without any hesitation. As such, it has been perceived by Griffin and Herres (2002; p.4-5) that the true measurement that should be used in repeated business is Customer Loyalty. Customer loyalty focuses more on consumer behaviour than attitude.
When a particular client is loyal to a brand, such a person is more particular in conducting purchase behaviour that is relatively more non random. A client who is loyal to a brand has developed a particular justified belief on which and what to buy from whom. More importantly, the notion of loyalty implies a purchase that occurs for a particular duration, which does not occur less than twice.
Also, it could be significantly noted that the decision to purchase could be made by one or two or more individuals. As such, it could be the case that the decision making to buy a particular product could be a compromise, hence explaining one of the key reasons for ones loyalty for a particular unit. There are two important factors that are closely associated with brand loyalty and these are customer retention and total share of customer. The former describes the duration in which a particular company has the business of a client.
The rate of customer share on the other hand is equivalent to the percentage of a customers budget that is spent with the firm. For instance, a company is said to have 100% share of a customers budget if the latter spends his or her entire budget with a particular firm. As such it could be said that customer retention and percentage of customers budget is very important; however, there might be instances wherein a customer is prevented by certain laws to purchase just from one vendor such as government accounts.
Gustafsson and Johnson (2000; p.50) presented a model which would effectively measure customer satisfaction. Satisfaction in terms of the model is perceived as customers overall evaluation of the purchase and consumption experience with a product, service or provider. The model presented by Gustafsson and Johnson (2000) appears to be different from transaction-specific portrayals of customer satisfaction that normally leads to repurchase. The model focuses on the importance of Customer Lens or the perspective of a customer on a particular brand, most especially how it benefits them.
The lens of the customer will allow the organization to take a view of their product as it appears on the market place and not really how their organization perceives it (Gustafsson and Johnson, 2000, p. 5). It has been argued by Gustafsson and Johnson (2000) that customers decisions to repurchase a particular product are deeply influenced by their overall purchase and consumption from a particular company or brand. In addition, customer satisfaction could pave the way for an enhanced reputation and an increase of brand equity for a particular organization.
Such in turn could further attract customers that could have further increase the market share of a particular brand. 2. 7 The Body Shop International, PLC Values The Body Shop International PLC has five corporate values: Against Animal Testing, Support Community Trade, Activate Self Esteem, and Protecting our Planet (The Body Shop International plc a, 2007). 2. 7. 1 Against Animal Testing The company strongly advocated for the banning of the test of cosmetics on animals.
In addition, the company prides itself due to its strict compliance of the internationally recognized Humane Cosmetics Standards (The Body Shop International plc b, 2007). As such it has been implementing a so-called fixed cut-off date to all of their ingredients. Such means, that the company does not and will never test their cosmetics on animals, hence calling it an immovable fixed date (The Body Shop International plc c, 2007). More importantly, the company has also assured that their products could also be suitable for vegetarians.
This means that the company does not use any ingredient that is perceived to cause harm to animals (The Body Shop International plc c, 2007). In effect of this, the Body Shop has been awarded on 2006 as the Best Cruelty-free Cosmetics by the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatments of Animals). (The Body Shop International plc b, 2007). The advocate of Body Shop to ban animal testing is stretched even by the company supporting researches that could bring about alternatives against animal testing. In 2004, the Body Shop Foundation has awarded the Centre for Alternatives to Animal Testing at John Hopkins University ?
20 000 in order to support the universitys research in finding other ways to test cosmetics (The Body Shop International plc b, 2007). 2. 7. 2 Support Community Trade Body Shops support for community trade focuses on the use of natural ingredients and handcrafted products from skilled people and was brought for a reasonable prize for more than 20 years on over 24 countries and 31 suppliers (The Body Shop International plc e, 2007). In another perspective, community fair trade provides workers in marginalized countries to earn a reliable wage that could help them build their futures (The Body Shop International plc d, 2007).
More importantly, the community trade that Body Shop made from the aforementioned also provides the company the assurance that it has been purchasing ingredients in which they know where came from (The Body Shop International plc d, 2007). As such, it could be said that the company has been spreading not only its monetary assets but also its intellectual investments as well fairly among countries most especially to the ones which needed it most (The Body Shop International plc d, 2007). 2. 7. 3 Activate Self Esteem Body shop also deeply upholds basic feminist values.
Their motto: Know your mind, love your body; communicates the individuality of all women and the disregard to false promises, hype, and jargons of cosmetics and a fixed standard of beauty (The Body Shop International plc f, 2007). More importantly, the body shop emphasizes the importance of self awareness, self-confidence, self-growth and self-acceptance. As such it deems self respect while focusing on diversity, acceptance and empowerment (The Body Shop International plc g, 2007). 2. 7. 4 Protecting our Planet Protecting the planet is the last among the five core values of Body Shop.
This value is deeply connected on the advocate of the company in using natural ingredients. Body Shop believed that through the use of natural ingredients and through helping on the ban against cosmetic test on animals, they are helping to protect the environment (The Body Shop International plc h, 2007). Furthermore, Body Shop also supports the use of renewable sources through the use of Forest Stewardship Council certified wood products. I