Dimensions, Types and Factors Influencing Consumer Involvement

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Consumer Involvement

Involvement is based on interest which is associated with something and is induced by a stimulus under a certain situation. Similarly, consumer involvement can be understood as the benefits of a product perceived by the consumer and the degree of product-related information processed by them. The buying behaviour of the consumer is greatly influenced by the degree of involvement.

The consumer may exhibit a high level of involvement in a product which is very expensive like a luxury car, bike, mobile or a house while at the same time, he may show comparatively lesser involvement in buying a lower-priced product.

The purchase decision of the consumer is also based on the degree of personal involvement attached to a product. Alternatively, we can say that consumer involvement is directly proportional to the benefits attached to a consumer’s purchase decision. When the involvement of the consumer is high then he tries to mitigate the risks that are attached to the buying process and increase the benefits derived in terms of product purchase and usage.

Dimensions of Involvement

1) Involvement Variables: There are many variables which are said to occur before involvement. These variables directly impact the nature and extent of involvement. It is assumed that these variables interact with each other for enhancing the degree of consumers’ involvement (at any time and situation). These variables pertain to an individual’s personal needs, values and beliefs and interests, experiences etc. For example, a person keen interested in gadgets will seem to be interested in reading magazines and surfing websites providing information related to various gadgets. Similarly, someone who is very keen on photography will keep in touch with the latest developments in the field and will be interested in the trending cameras available in the market.

2) Moderating Factors: There are also many factors or variables which moderate or limit the involvement levels of the consumers. For example, a consumer may be carefully watching an advertisement for a product like a mobile on the television. However, he may get obstructed because of an event like a sudden visitor coming. As a result, he may not be able to watch the advertisement of the mobile phone and thus fails to gather the necessary information to evaluate all the available alternatives to mobile phones. These events limit or inhibit information processing and ultimately the degree of consumer involvement.

3) Involvement Properties: The involvement of the consumer can be considered as an internal state which can be said to have three main features, namely, involvement intensity, direction, and persistence. The intensity of involvement is usually denoted by the strength of the involvement of the consumer. Such intensity can be either high or low. The direction of involvement refers to the focus of involvement which is greatly influenced by involvement variables. This focus can be a product, a service, an advertisement and in some cases the purchase decision itself where the risk associated is high. The persistence factor indicates the time and extent to which the consumer remains involved in making a purchase decision.

4) Response Factors: The response factors deal with how the consumer behaves under different intensity levels. For example, how consumers collect and process information, how alternatives are evaluated, actions taken by the consumer after making product choices, etc. As discussed earlier also, when consumers have a high level of involvement, then the level of information search and processing is extensive whereas when the consumer buys a low-involvement product the information search is not so extensive. Highly involved consumers do a lot of introspection before taking action. They undergo a systematic process of developing brand beliefs (a cognitive aspect of attitude). They evaluate different alternatives carefully (the effective or the feeling aspect) and finally come to a purchase decision (also the conative or behavioural aspect).

Types of Consumer Involvement

As business organizations strive to understand their target audience closely, it is necessary to recognize the different levels of consumer involvement. Consumer engagement refers to the interest, involvement, and participation of a customer toward a product or service. By identifying the different forms of consumer participation, companies can tailor their marketing strategies to better connect with their audiences.

High consumer Involvement

High involvement purchase decisions occur in a situation where the consumer is buying a product of high relevance in terms of finance, price, usage, complexity, etc. and require a very great level of information search and evaluation. Such products are very important for the consumer. For example, the purchase of a car associates higher involvement. The consumer spends a lot of time in the various steps of the decision making process. High-involvement purchases can be further categorised as:

  1. High Involvement/Rationale
  2. High Involvement/Emotional

1) High Involvement/Rationale: High involvement/rationale can be understood for both business and general consumers. For a business, high-involvement purchases relate to expensive products which are important for the business. For example, technology products & infrastructure, office space, health insurance plans for employees, etc. When observed from the consumer’s side, this typically relates to expensive purchases like houses, cars, shares, gadgets, etc. However, the level of consumer involvement for, the high involvement/rational category may differ greatly from person to person. For example, one customer sees the car as a mode of travelling convenience based on its mileage and fuel efficiency. While for another customer car is a symbol of status. The advertisements associated with high involvement/rational purchases for B2B and B2C markets aim at highlighting the benefits of the products and services.

2) High Involvement/Emotional: The business purchases that fall in this segment can be purchases made for office decor, furniture, etc. Consumer purchases in this segment include the purchase of jewellery for spouses, wedding purchases, family vacation plans, purchases for special occasions (birthday or anniversary gifts), etc. The purchase of a house or car can also fall into this category. The factors which govern such purchases are the culture, purchasing power, nature & preferences of individuals, etc. The advertisement that is followed here tends to be of the kind that builds a favourable brand image and which appeals to the emotional aspects of consumers. It heavily makes use of visual effects, music, emotional statements, etc.

Low consumer Involvement

The nature of such purchases holds very little relevance for the consumers and hence, involves low information processing. For example, FMCG goods like processed food, beverages, cosmetics, bakery item, etc. Low involvement purchases can be categorised as:

  1. Low Involvement/Rationale
  2. Low Involvement/Emotional

1) Low Involvement/Rationale: The products that consumers buy out of habit fall under this category. They refer mostly to the everyday products that one purchases at supermarkets or drugstores, the lunch hangouts like KFC or Mcdonald’s, etc. For businesses, low involvement/rational purchase may include the purchase of office stationery, toiletries, etc. Here, the challenge before the advertisers are to induce the customer to break from their regular habits and switch to other brands. Tactics such as offering coupons,” discounts, and other such offers can be used for repositioning these low-involvement products and enhancing their sale.

2) Low Involvement/Emotional: The satisfaction consumers get from using these products is associated with their emotions. However, it is not enduring. The customer, therefore, does not spend a large amount of time evaluating or processing information about such purchases. Chocolates, magazines, movies, greeting cards, choosing a place for dinner or shopping, etc., are some examples of low involvement/emotional purchases. The advertisement followed here tends to provide satisfaction, and pleasure and assures benefits. If the product category offered has numerous market players then the product should ensure strong market positioning for attracting consumers.

Factors Influencing Consumer Involvement

Consumer involvement is determined by many factors which are as follows:

1) Social Visibility: When the product has a high social presence and impact, then the involvement level in its purchase is more. For example, designer clothing resembles the status of a person associated with high consumer involvement.

2) Situation: Certain situations may also impact the level of involvement for a temporary period. For example, the involvement of customers in purchasing food and beverage may increase if there is a party at home. Similarly, a product bought for personal use may attach less involvement but when it is for gifting purposes, the level of involvement gradually increases.

3) Previous Experience: In cases, where the consumer has already experienced the product will have a low degree of consumer involvement.

4) Interest: With a high level of interest in a product, consumer involvement also tends to be high, and vice versa. This means the higher personal interest of the consumer in the product type, class, usage, or benefits is likely to translate into a higher involvement level.

5) Perceived Risk of Negative Consequences: When the consequences/risks associated with wrong decisions tend to be very high then the level of consumer involvement will also be high. One such risk is the price which increases or decreases consumer involvement.

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By Arya