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Impact Of Social Media On Consumer Behavior

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Question:

Discuss about the Impact of Social Media on Consumer Behavior.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

The development of the promotional technology has the greater impact on the business process. It is noticed that the business marketers strive to develop the strengthened and competitive position in this dynamic and challenging business scenario (Schivinski and Dabrowski 2016). Therefore, the customer satisfaction has become the primary responsibility for sustaining in this volatile market. Social media is one of those most helpful promotional platforms for the business marketers to reach out maximum numbers of customers interested for the product or services. The study would thus develop the ideas regarding the impact of the social media on consumer behavior in retail industry. The underlying literature would describe the research problems and would provide the in-depth ideas about the appropriate methodologies used in this research.

Research Problem

The research describes the impact of the social media on consumer behavior. Every business marketers need to identify every possible strategy to develop the communication transparency with the target consumers. Social media sites help the business marketers to establish the targeted communication for conveying the messages to the customers. According to Ashley and Tuten (2015) social networking process allows the business marketers to flow the communication in both ways and create the interactivity between the customers and businesses. Therefore, it has the greater impact on shaping up both the positive and negative consumer behavior. While dealing with the product or service specifications, customers present their concerns through social media pages. It clarifies the basic needs and preferences of the customers and it improves the brand images to attract more customers towards products and services. However, it has been observed that along with the positive discussion based on the product specifications, the social media creates the negative influence on the target customers as well. If the customer service fails to resolve the queries of the customers or meet the expectation level on the product or service features, it may lead to the dissatisfaction as well. On the other hand, Ngai, Tao and Moon (2015) argued that the ineffective communicational process even can negative impact on the behavioral aspects of the target consumers. The negative remarks presented by the consumers on social media would affect the purchasing behavior of the customers that may hamper the networking process as well.     

 

Research Objectives

  • To identify the positive and the negative impact of social media in consumer behavior in retail industry
  • To discuss the challenges faced by the business marketers in using social media as the communication method

Research Questions

  • How social media influence the target consumers to make the purchasing decisions in the retail sector?
  • What advantage and disadvantage the retail business marketers can avail if they use social media as the communication mode?

Research Hypothesis

H0: Social media cannot create the positive impact on consumer behavior

H1: Social media can create the positive impact on consumer behvaiour

Literature Review

The literature review provides the in-depth analysis of the research subject matter, which would present the possible outcome to resolve the concerned issues. The conceptual analysis of the variable would provide the insightful knowledge about the consumer behavior and the impact of social media. The further literature study is presented below:

Consumer Decision-Making

Hollebeek, Glynn and Brodie (2014) defined that consumers are the individuals who purchase the products and services and act as the major stakeholders in the market place. Consumers often hesitate in making the purchase decision while selecting the product or the service. It is noticed that the development of the accessibility and transparency of the information has been profoundly influencing the decision-making process. The decision-making model deals with few stages, such as problem recognition, information search, evaluation, purchase decision, and post purchase behavior (Stephen 2016). The business marketers require concentrating on these specific stages to ensure the repurchase of the products or services. Social media helps in managing these stages to develop the significant information flow and shaping up the positive customer decision making process.

 

Impact of Social Media on Consumer Behavior

Social media is one of the most helpful networking platforms to gather the attention of the targeted consumers. In current time, the business marketers adopt the social networking sites to convey the messages and communicate more efficiently. In spite of the frequent flow of the information to the targeted consumers, the social media has the negative impacts as well. It is needless to mention that the social media strengthens the two way communication that helps the business marketers to understand the basic needs and demands 9Schivinski and Dabrowski 2016). However, on the contrary, the negative product or service experience shared through social media sites can even influence the negative ‘word of mouth’ that eventually affects the purchasing decisions. The negative experiences shared by the dissatisfied the customers can hamper the brand image that would affect the profitability parameter of the business. Hence, it can be stated that in spite of the huge benefits, the social media may create the negative influence on the consumers if the marketers fail to maintain the benefits.

Subjects

The subject of the research is to identify the significant impact of the social media on consumer behavior. The study also attempts to develop the insightful ideas about the positive and negative outcome of the social media use by the business marketers.

Instrumentation and Research type

The systematic process of finding the various activities is essential for achieving the goals and objective of the study is known as a research.  Experimental method, case study, method, survey method, correlation method and observational method are the method used in a research (Creswell and Poth 2017). The study requires behavioural description, causality explanation and support prediction of both the variables.  Thus, in this study, experimental method is the method, which will be used for effectively collecting data and analyzing the data that has been collected.

Fundamental and applied research is the two types of research method, fundamental research is a subjective research and the applied research is an objective research (Creswell and Poth 2017). In this currents study, the objective of the study has been predefined so applied research is the correct research strategy.

The different ways in which data will be collected in the study is known as research philosophy. Positivism, interpretivism, pragmatism, realism and pragmatism are the different philosophies used in the academic and business research (Flick 2015).  Research philosophy will address the beliefs and assumption of different researchers to identify the correct approach in this research. Realism is the philosophy, which states that human mind will form a distinct reality. Critical and direct realism are the two types of realism philosophies, one will accepts the world based on human perception whereas the other one will accept scientific approach. Positivism is a philosophy that will identify the factors that are hidden within the research and improves the overall scope of observation in the study. A large population sample will be used in positivism philosophy and quantitative analysis will be the basis of data analysis. Post positivism is a method, which will reject all the dogmas of positivism and will take new observations to improve the scope of observation of the overall research. In interpretivism, human element is an important component and integration of human element into the study is crucial for developing the subjective approach. Qualitative analysis is the method used in interpretivism philosophy. Pragmatism is the philosophy, which will accept all the paradigms in other research methods and will consist of both qualitative and quantitative analysis of data. In this study, pragmatism will be the philosophy of research, as it will provide the opportunity of conducting both quantitative and qualitative analysis of data.

 


Deductive and inductive approaches are the two approaches in research. As stated by deductive approach the conclusion of any research is true of the premises are true and validating of the existing theories is the main purpose of using the deductive approach (Humphries 2017). In, inductive approach, unknown conclusion is derived from known premise. Inductive approach is for developing generalised conclusion by using a descriptive approach.  In this study, the objective of the study has been predefined so deductive approach is the correct approach. Moreover, the deductive approach will facilitate in testing of the hypothesis in the study.

Data collection, presentation and analysis

In this currents study, mixed method will be used for analyzing the collected data. Primary analysis of data will be conducted and evaluate using both qualitative and quantitative analysis of data (Flick 2015).   In quantitative analysis of data, survey and questionnaires will be prepared to conduct interview. The questionnaire will consist of close-ended questions, which will be asked to the general population in the retail industry. The qualitative analysis of data will consist of open ended questions which will be asked to the higher level official at management level in different organizations. The quantitative analysis will use statistical tools like Microsoft excel to form different graphs and charts. Regression analysis, mean, median and mode will be used to analyze the quantitative data that has been collected in the study. Regression analysis will identify and validate the type of relationship between the independent and the dependent variables (Silverman 2016). The qualitative analysis will evaluate data that has been collected by identifying the patterns within the data. As the design in the research is sequential explanatory quantitative analysis will be conducted initially and qualitative analysis will support the data analyzed by quantitative methods (Humphries 2017).

The method used for selecting the population sample from the collected data is known sa sampling.  The methods used in sampling are non-probabilistic and probabilistic sampling.  Probabilistic sampling uses randomization to select samples so that each of the members in the population have equal opportunity of being selected. Cluster sampling, simple random sampling, stratified sampling and systematic sampling are the different types of probabilistic sampling methods (Sekaran and Bougie 2016). Cluster sampling will accumulate the significant samples to form a cluster, which will represent the overall population in the study. Simple random sampling will randomly select data from the whole population and systematic sampling will take every nth respondent from the whole population where n is the interval. Stratified sampling is a method in which population gets divided into groups that are non overlapping and then random sampling will be used for selecting the sample population for the study. However, using probabilistic sampling is time consuming and increases the cost of the overall project. Non-probabilistic sampling is a method, which will include non-randomization and used in cases where time is a crucial factor. Non-probabilistic sampling consists of different methods and they are convenience sampling, extensive sampling, snowball sampling, quota sampling and judgement sampling (Taylor, Bogdan and DeVault 2015). In this present study, the sample population will consist of 50 respondents in quantitative analysis, which has been selected by using simple random sampling form the data collected for 120 respondents. The qualitative analysis will be done on 5 respondents that have also been selected using similar methods out of the 20 respondents.

 

Summary and discussion

Reliability and validity is an essential component of the study so that the method used in this currents study when used by other researchers will produce similar results. Ethical consideration is an important part of the study, as ineffective usage will lead to failure.  In a study, maintaining the anonymity of the respondents is essential. The participants in the study have not been forced to take part and all the precautions have been taken to maintain the privacy of the respondents. Thus, if the above mentioned methods are executed as per the required solution, positive outcome is expected.

Overall Evaluation

The above study presents the insightful ideas about the social media use for shaping up the consumer purchase decision. The research highlights the positive and negative influence of the social media sites on the consumer decision-making process in terms of purchasing any product or services. The negative remarks presented by the consumers on social media would affect the purchasing behavior of the customers that may hamper the networking process as well.  The use of the mixed method research, both qualitative and qualitative, develops the clear and enriched knowledge to identify the advantages and disadvantages. It also suggests the appropriate method of managing the social media strategy to positively influence the targeted consumers.

 

References

Ashley, C. and Tuten, T., 2015. Creative strategies in social media marketing: An exploratory study of branded social content and consumer engagement. Psychology & Marketing, 32(1), pp.15-27.

Creswell, J.W. and Poth, C.N., 2017. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage publications.

Flick, U., 2015. Introducing research methodology: A beginner's guide to doing a research project. Sage.

Hollebeek, L.D., Glynn, M.S. and Brodie, R.J., 2014. Consumer brand engagement in social media: Conceptualization, scale development and validation. Journal of interactive marketing, 28(2), pp.149-165.

Humphries, B., 2017. Re-thinking social research: anti-discriminatory approaches in research methodology. Taylor & Francis.

Ngai, E.W., Tao, S.S. and Moon, K.K., 2015. Social media research: Theories, constructs, and conceptual frameworks. International Journal of Information Management, 35(1), pp.33-44.

Schivinski, B. and Dabrowski, D., 2016. The effect of social media communication on consumer perceptions of brands. Journal of Marketing Communications, 22(2), pp.189-214.

Sekaran, U. and Bougie, R., 2016. Research methods for business: A skill building approach. John Wiley & Sons.

Silverman, D. ed., 2016. Qualitative research. Sage.

Stephen, A.T., 2016. The role of digital and social media marketing in consumer behavior. Current Opinion in Psychology, 10, pp.17-21.

Taylor, S.J., Bogdan, R. and DeVault, M., 2015. Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons

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