Academic journal article Contemporary Management Research

Gap in Trade Companies' Perception of Consumers' Purchasing Processes

Academic journal article Contemporary Management Research

Gap in Trade Companies' Perception of Consumers' Purchasing Processes

Article excerpt


Consumer behaviour is an inherent element of marketing science. It provides a significant contribution to the cognition of the mechanisms that govern the units that select and purchase goods and services. At the same time a question arises, the extent to which these behaviours are known to companies and the extent to which this knowledge is used as a foundation for creating marketing and sales strategies become apparent. The purpose of this article is to present selected results of research showing, based on the example of the Polish information technologies market, the gap that exists between the perception of consumer behaviour by conventional and on-line trade companies, and its actual/real course.

Keywords: Consumers' Expectations, Consumer Behavior, Company's Knowledge, Retail


Behaviour of a consumer constitutes any actions undertaken by people during obtaining, using, and disposing of products and services, which can include actions involving the purchase or the receipt of a product, place, manner and time of its use, and the method of disposal of acquired goods (Blackwell, Miniard, and Engel, 2001). A similar approach has been presented by other authors. Solomon defined consumer behaviour more explicitly, as processes taking place at the moment when an individual or a group selects, purchases, uses and gets rid of products, services, ideas or experiences necessary to satisfy their needs and desires (Solomon, 2007). Antonides and van Raaij consider consumer behaviour to be a set of mental and physical activities concerning orientation, buying, using and getting rid of products allowing the consumer to operate as well as achieve their goals and values (Antonides, van Raaij, 1998). MacInnis and Folkes describe it as an acquisition, consumption and disposal of marketplace products, services and experiences by people operating in consumer role (MacInnis, Folkes, 2010), while Kardes, Cronley and Maria additionally includes consumer's emotional, mental and behavioural responses that precede, determine or follow this activities (Kardes, Cline, Cronley, 2011).

Considering the meaning of consumer processes in making marketing and managerial decisions, a question may arise concerning the knowledge of those processes or, at least, an awareness of them among the companies that operate on various markets. At this point, it should be noted that this issue is discussed in the literature from a wide, strategic point of view (Piercy, 2009; Rowley 2002), as well as from the perspective of knowledge management (Wilhelm, Gueldenberg, and Güttel, 2013; Wilde, 2011; Etemad, 2004). The literature also discusses this issue from the perspective of assessing companies' tendencies to inform themselves concerning the opinions of consumers (Chua and Banerjee, 2013; Sinkula, 2002) or concerning ecommerce- oriented patterns of behaviour (Rowley and Slack, 2001). However, although several research papers on this subject are available (McLean and Blackie, 2004), there are no research results available that confirm the level of the possessed knowledge or that indicate its functional shortcomings.

With the assumptions that have been mentioned, it seems reasonable to introduce the concept that a potential gap exists that can be used to determine the discrepancy between the real course of the purchasing process, and its image as identified by a particular company or, from a general perspective, all of the companies in the considered market. Measurement of such a gap may constitute a convenient basis for diagnosing the potential weaknesses of a given company. These could include the areas that enable both better adjustment of the company's long-term strategy and that enable the optimization of the activities conducted on an on-going basis that consider the actual behaviours of consumers, their expectations, and requirements. This article attempts to answer the question concerning whether such a gap exists and to ascertain whether it is possible to evaluate its causes and nature. …

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