Controlling Consumer Switching Behaviour in Social Media Context
Anish Kumar (Date: 17.05.2016)
The dangerous impacts of social media on consumer switching have led the companies to think about the ways to control the switching behaviour on social media networks. There are many ways, which can lead to control the switching behaviour. First, the companies should focus on enhancing brand loyalty of their customers. The importance of achieving loyalty is not only controls the switching behaviour, but also provides the positive word of mouth by customers and customer’s willingness to pay more (Srinivasan, Anderson, & Ponnavolu, 2002). There are many ways to enhance the brand loyalty. Even social media marketing has proved itself as an effective tool of enhancing brand loyalty of customers (Erdoğmuş & Cicek, 2012). Liu (2007) and Brasini & Tassinari (2003) have provided the solution for companies to use “loyalty programs” in order to limit switching behaviour and retain customer for short term. That’s why, as a part of loyalty efforts, the loyalty programs are also being used by online companies to enhance customer loyalty.
Another solution for online retailers is to work on push and pull forces and make both or at least one force weaker. Li, Debbarma, & Ulhas (2012) have found the impact of pull factors (peer influence and alternative attractiveness) on switching intentions of consumers as compared to push factors (inconvenience). As discussed above, the switch behaviour is caused only when both push and pull forces work together. And if any of the force is weak, then the other force will be also weak and switching intentions will be low.
The extrinsic rewards, a traditional approach, are also being used by online stores to retain the customers. Lesara GmbH is a German online shopping store is using discount vouchers as its loyalty program (Lesara, 2016). The company sends discount vouchers via email or by post to its existing customers and potential new customers these discount vouchers. Although this is a traditional approach, but in the context of online shopping environment, the combination of traditional approaches is also effective for minimizing switching intentions among consumers.
According to Fei (2014) the high switching cost is the solution for controlling switching behaviour. Because if the switching cost is high, then it would not only reduce the consumer switching intentions, but also reduce the attractiveness of the other alternatives, which will lead to control the switching behaviour. Another solution is to work on customer satisfaction. Chou & Song (2012) have confirmed the customer dissatisfaction (internal factor) leads to switch from one brand to another brand in an online environment. In this case, the company should work on increasing the satisfaction level of customers. Mazursky, Labarbera, & Aiello (1987) confirms that the higher satisfaction, reduces the switching intentions of customers.
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