Consumer Switching Behaviour
Anish Kumar (Date: 17.05.2016)
The consumer switching behaviour is the post purchase behaviour, when a consumer decides to switch from one brand to another brand (Mack, 2016). The importance of switching behaviour is significant because of its negative consequences for companies. According to Keaveney (1995), the consumer switching behaviour affects the companies from two ways. First, it will reduce the profitability of the company. Secondly, it will reduce the market share of the company. These both consequences are dangerous for companies. Additionally, Mazursky, Labarbera, & Aiello (1987) have found that mostly the switched customer doesn’t return back to the company. That’s why, the switching behaviour of consumers is not desired by companies. Even, companies are striving for identifying the factors, which leads the customers to switch to another brand, so that those factors can be controlled.
There are many factors, which leads the consumers towards brand switching. For example, price, quality, poor service, bad experience or better alternative (Keaveney, 1995). Chou & Song (2012) have confirmed the customer dissatisfaction leads to switch from one brand to another brand in an online environment. Clams, Gan, & Zhang (2010) have studied the factors which affect the consumers to switch from one bank to another, which have revealed that that the effective advertising, service quality, reputation, pricing, distance and switching costs are important factors, which leads the customers to switch from one bank to another bank. Although these findings give a snapshot about the factors, which lead to switching. However, these findings are applicable only on the banking industry, which is somehow different than online retailers. There is need to check that either they are applicable in online shopping stores or not.
Regarding consumer switching, Mazursky, Labarbera, & Aiello (1987) believe that the switching behaviour of consumer is largely caused by either intrinsic factors or extrinsic factors. The intrinsic factors are consumer’s related internal factors such as, consumer’s internal desire to test new brands. Opposingly, the exrintic factors are extrinsic factors, which attract the consumers such as, low prices, discount coupons, etc. For a marketer, it is important to identify that either the switching behaviour of the target customer is induced either by extrinsic factors or intrinsic factors. While, a high level of satisfaction minimizes the effect of extrinsic factors.
Talking particularly about the consumer switching behaviour in an online environment. Wu et al. (2014) have conducted their research on identifying the factors, which affect the switching intentions of customers between two social networking sites. The research findings have shown that the peer pressure and usage convenience are highly influential on consumer switching intentions, which leads to switching behaviour. Moreover the lack of switching barriers, customer satisfaction, service quality, real-time accessibility and switching costs is also influencing the consumer switching behaviour in social networking sites.
According to Fei (2014) the switching behaviour in an online environment is all about push and pull framework. For example, the dissatisfaction of a customer from its old brand creates push force and leads the customer to switch brands. On the other hand, the attractiveness of other brand creates a pull force for customers and leads him to switch to the new brand. Hence, it is noticeable that the switch behaviour is caused only when both push and pull forces work together. However, if any, of the force is weak, then the other force will be also weak and switching intentions will be low.
Although these findings are showing the factors, which affect the consumer switching behaviour among social networking sites. However, although not completely, but the nature of social networking sites is similar to online shopping stores in several areas, whereas, the identified factors such as, peer pressure, usage convenience, service quality, customer satisfaction, real time accessibility and switching costs are also applicable on an online shopping store (Wu et al. (2014). This is also true that using a social network and visiting a shopping are different in terms of using motivation, involvement of money and product differences. But website performance related factors are almost similar in both kinds of websites, so it can be said that these factors also affect the consumer switching behaviour in online shopping stores.
Xu et al. (2013) have conducted their study of the social network game (SNG) market and analyse the behaviour of gamers to change from one SNG to another SNG. Hence again, the main focus is to investigate the switching behaviour of customers in an online environment. The research findings showed very important facts. First, the variety seeking behaviour of consumers is very influencing factors. The research findings showed very important facts. First, the variety seeking behaviour of consumers is very influencing factors. McAlister & Pessemier (1982) has investigated the phenomena variety seeking and found out that the consumer expect more variety of offerings due to their high involvement in the purchase process. The low involvement level would not have caused the consumer switching, which is also found in some products. For example, buying a coffee.
Moreover, Xu et al. (2013) have found that satisfaction level of consumers, attractiveness of the other alternatives and subjective norms of consumers are influencing factors on consumer switching behaviour. There are two different points found. First, the attractiveness of other product offerings attracts the customer towards his product. This can be controlled through keeping an eye on the competition and also enhancing customer loyalty. Secondly, the subjective norms of customers can also lead the customers to switch. For example, the American would like to shop from American online stores not Britains. In this behaviour, the customer’s behavioural study can help in targeting the right customers for the right products.
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