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Perceived Value and Ethical Consumerism

Discuss about the Marketing Influence on Consumer Purchase Decision.

Ethics are essential in the running of every business activity and that is the reason organisations strive to adopt ethical standards to guide their operations. A business operates in the legal environment and that is what forces them to comply with ethical standards set to guide their operations. Authors like Jeurissen and Ronald, assert that ethics restrain businesses from engaging in legal activities, like child labor. Therefore, business ethics make businesses not just responsible to their shareholders but also to other stakeholders like customers, community, employees or society at large.

To understand this concept, perceived value has to be differed separately. Perceived value is simply is the worth that a consumer attaches to a product or service. In the mind of a consumer, one can conceptualize the worth of a product, before even using it. Ordinarily, consumers do not understand the production cost for a certain product, but mentally they just attach a value to it. It is this internal feeling about the value of a product that makes them price products or services at their convenience. 

However, ethical consumer perceived value is simply the ethical value that surround worth of a product or services consumers attach to them. As consumers attach some specific worth to a product, producers are also required not o overprice their products to take advantage of a consumer who is not privy to the production cost for a certain product or service.

In essence, producers are supposed to act ethically so as not to fleece a consumer, but they ethically they are allowed to create some high value for their products in order to sell them at higher prices. Note that producers or manufacturers also work for profit and that is why they they are supposed to produce products that are of high value. When a consumer sees a product, they should be able to perceive the product to be valuable and it is that perception that would determine the price at which they shall buy a service or a product. Ideally, ethical consumer perceived value is about creating a certain value for a product so as to attract a customer to perceive that such a product is worth a certain price.

Nonetheless, manufacturers or service providers need to act ethically by ensuring that their services or product are great, and  worth that value a consumer is likely to associate a product with. Most notable in an ethical consumer is that, they would always want to purchase products that are environmentally-friendly. An ethical consumer would want to establish things like, does the product protect the environment and also how does such a product impact a life of a consumer.

Characteristics of Ethical Consumers

In essence, using ethical consumer perceived value, manufacturers work indefatigably to offer their customers products that are environment-friendly. If a product is environment friendly, as a consumer one would feel that such a product is of a high value.  As a result, an ethical consumer would be willing to pay a high price for a product, because it was ethically produced.

Basically, ethical consumption or consumerism is essential today, because most businesses are developing products that are green so as to show their commitment to conserve the environment and curb global warming issues.

This kind of consumers is known to have a tendency of boycotting unethical products. As mentioned earlier, this group of consumers does not want those products or services that are unethically produced. Once they learn that the production of a certain product or service does not meet some ethical standards, they would boycott them. The reason why they boycott is that they believe that such a product is harmful not only to the environment but also to their bodies. Basically, an ethical consumer is that customer that always puts a producer in a precarious position in the event they fail to meet their needs by producing ethical products.

An ethical consumer is informed. Internet has exposed consumers to some a lot of information that to some large extent is disadvantageous to the producer. It is not easy to dupe a consumer that is informed, and that is why marketers and producers today feel challenged by this kind of consumers. An ethical consumer researches about a product, before they consider buying it and if they get negative information about a product they intend to buy, they would definitely abandon buying.

Also, since this kind of consumer is informed, they have a higher bargaining power, because at their own convenience they researched about a product to get some information about its value, before buying it.

Ethical consumer buying is based on ethical reasoning. This consumer always feels indebted to the society and that is why when they buy an item, they have to reason ethically. This kind of ethical reasoning prevents them buying some products and that is a challenge to marketers, who sell those products that are considered unethical. Due to ethical reasoning and ethical consumer cannot buy sex toys and other products that the society associates with immorality. Basically, this is one of the hardest consumers to deal with because their preferences are just based on ethics and it’s difficult to persuade them to purchase items deemed unethical.

Effects of Banning Fur Products

Ethical consumers’ demand is generally based on external appearance of features of a product. An ethical customer has their focus on the extrinsic characteristics of a product. When they see a product, it must appeal to them, but a product’s external features do not appeal, definitely they will not buy it, because they would think that such a product a product does not meet their ethical standards.

In the reasoning of an ethical consumer, banning of fur products is a show of respect for animals. Fur is obtained from animals, and the protest from PETA and consumer agencies leading ethical consumerism, made the UK, USA and other countries to killing animals for fur.

The agencies protested that animals must be respected by all means, and any attempts to kill them are a demonstration that man is not respectful to its environment. Therefore, the outlawing of far products has grown respect for animals and therefore killing of animals recklessly for fur can lead prosecution.

The ban has led to the collapse of fur industry. There were firms that depended on fur for their production and thus the ban made them lack raw material. In response, to the ban the industry in the UK, and Austria just collapsed. In the UK and Austria, it is reported that when the ban was affected, the country decisively banned fur farming and that cut the source of material for the fur industry.

Another effect attributed to the fur banning was loss of income to the employees, and fur farmers. Fur farmers were reliant on this kind of farming; therefore with the ban in place they definitely lost their jobs. Also, those individuals that were working in the fur industry lost their jobs, because fur manufacturing dropped.

In addition, the fur ban according to PETA has helped save energy. It argues that the energy that was used to produce fur apparel from animals reared at the ranches was high that the amount required to produce fake fur apparel. In brief, the fur ban has made the animal rights a reality and that is why today in the US and other countries across the globe, animal mistreatment is illegal.

From the perspective of triple bottom line or CSR, ethical movements are boosting company’s revenue. Authors or researchers of CSR, have concluded that businesses that carry out their social responsibility, are likely to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors have not adopted CSR. When a company feels indebted to the consumers, they would always produce products that are harmless, properly packaged and environmentally-friendly. That is to imply that companies that respond positive to ethical demands of their consumers are able to make more profits than those that act unethically. The best example of companies whose revenue has always been high due to committing themselves to ethical production are Wal-Mart and Starbucks.  

In all honesty, ethical consumers always turn their concerns to purchasing decisions. As indicated in their characteristics, their purchasing is ethical and that confirms that these consumers always turn their concerns to the purchasing decisions so as to appear unique in the society.

Ethical consumers do not worry about pricing, because to them the focus on pushing for ethical products. Usually, the demand for products is dependent on the extrinsic appearance. That implies that when buying a product, what an ethical consumer would have to consider is how ethically the product was produced. If the product has not complied with ethical standards, then an ethical consumer will not buy it.  In brief, price does not matter to an ethical customer, but again producers are also supposed to price their products reasonably if they are ethically produced.

In conclusion, an ethical consumer is informed and would also advocate that producer engage in production of ethical products. It is due to them that most manufacturers are becoming environmentally sensitive, because failure to do it, ethical consumers would influence other customers to stop buying from them and that hurts performance of some businesses.

Jeurissen, Ronald, ed. Ethics & business. Uitgeverij Van Gorcum, 2007.

Sánchez-Fernández, Raquel, and M. Ángeles Iniesta-Bonillo. "The concept of perceived value: a systematic review of the research." Marketing theory7, no. 4 (2007): 427-451.

Carrigan, Marylyn, and Ahmad Attalla. "The myth of the ethical consumer–do ethics matter in purchase behaviour?." Journal of consumer marketing18, no. 7 (2001): 560-578.

Tallontire, Anne, Erdenechimeg Rentsendorj, and Mick Blowfield. "Ethical consumers and ethical trade: a review of current literature (NRI Policy Series 12)." (2001).

Shaw, Deirdre, and Ian Clarke. "Belief formation in ethical consumer groups: an exploratory study." Marketing Intelligence & Planning17, no. 2 (1999): 109-120.

Moschis, George, Carolyn Curasi, and Danny Bellenger. "Patronage motives of mature consumers in the selection of food and grocery stores." Journal of Consumer Marketing21, no. 2 (2004): 123-133.

"What Impact Has Activism Had On The Fur Industry?". 2017. Scientific American. Accessed October 5. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/impact-activism-on-fur/.

Fischer, Carolyn. "The complex interactions of markets for endangered species products." Journal of Environmental Economics and Management48, no. 2 (2004): 926-953.

Fitzgerald 1, Peter L. "“Morality” May Not Be Enough to Justify the EU Seal Products Ban: Animal Welfare Meets International Trade Law." Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy14, no. 2 (2011): 85-136.

Karnani, Aneel. "The case against corporate social responsibility." Wall Street Journal23 (2010): 1-5.

Wulfson, Myrna. "The ethics of corporate social responsibility and philanthropic venturesl." Journal of Business Ethics29, no. 1 (2001): 135-145.

Bray, Jeffery, Nick Johns, and David Kilburn. "An exploratory study into the factors impeding ethical consumption." Journal of business ethics98, no. 4 (2011): 597-608.

Mohr, Lois A., Deborah J. Webb, and Katherine E. Harris. "Do consumers expect companies to be socially responsible? The impact of corporate social responsibility on buying behavior." Journal of Consumer affairs35, no. 1 (2001): 45-72.

Uusitalo, Outi, and Reetta Oksanen. "Ethical consumerism: a view from Finland." International journal of consumer studies28, no. 3 (2004): 214-221.

Pickett-Baker, Josephine, and Ritsuko Ozaki. "Pro-environmental products: marketing influence on consumer purchase decision." Journal of consumer marketing25, no. 5 (2008): 281-293.

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