11.27.2010

Why Do Consumers Buy The Stuff They Do?

My husband's car broke down and we were planning on buying a Jeep at a local car auction.  In the meantime, my neighbor, Hope, offered to let us borrow her Jeep until we can get it figured it out.  Subsequently we made her an offer she couldn't refuse on her Jeep, which wasn't really for sale.  This post is not about us buying a Jeep.  It's about what happened to Hope after this transaction.

Hope was able to lend us her Jeep because she had a 1990 Volkswagon Cabriole convertible and since it was almost summer she decided she was just drive that until she decided whether or not to replace the Jeep.  The VW, being 20 years old, broke down in the middle-of-nowhere-West Virginia.  We lent the Jeep back to her until she got it all straightened out.  I interviewed Hope about her quest for a new car to replace both the Jeep and the VW. 
Since Hope has owned a VW since 1990, she said that the cars are low maintenance, get great gas mileage, and can sustain acquiring high miles over the life of the car. (Fahey, 2010). She has years of research simply by owning a VW (internal).  However, when she was faced with buying a new car she had mixed feelings.  She said that she was a little concerned about going to a "car" since she had been driving an SUV since 2002, i.e. the Jeep.  She began thinking about her love of her VW and her equal love of the Jeep so she contemplated buying a VW SUV, specifically the Tijuan.  Her other (external) research began.

She searched VW's web site for the Tijuan and then began looking at the Jetta.  Her rationale for the Jetta was that it was more affordable and it is still a VW.  Her research (mostly on web sites like cars.com and consumerreports.com) revealed that the sale price of the Jetta has declined in recent years. She concluded that this meant that VW dealerships are selling a lot of Jettas.  Her search further revealed something that would seal the deal for her.

She saw a TV commercial touting the VW EOS was being offered at 0%.  She looked at the local dealer's web site and found the same offer. The TV commercial she saw in the morning followed by her search on the local dealer's web site later that day promoted her to visit the local dealership on her lunch break. 

The local dealer told her the Jettas are selling like hotcakes and there is zero room for negotiation. She felt immediate confidence since this "reinforced the TV ad." (Fahey, 2010). Since the EOS is a convertible and it would soon be Fall, there was lots of room for negotiation.  I will add that Hope sells cable advertising for living and is "aware" of things being marketed to her. 

After the sale, they sent her a personalized calendar featuring a picture of her that they took at the dealership! See the attached picture of what they sent her. Peppers & Rogers Group asserts that the customer experience is the totality of a customer’s interactions with a brand over time. (Peppers and Rogers, 2008). Hope is a savvy consumer and knows how to research.  Her twenty-plus years of being a VW owner combined with the unexpected sale of her Jeep catapulted her into becoming a buyer.  She loves her new car and I must say that as her neighbor (and owner of her previous car), she looks great driving it, too!


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