Michael Kors Holdings Limited or MK is a known brand in the global market. MK is known for its high quality luxury products. The product of MK’s are considered as status symbol and the target customers for MK are male and female population from upper class. The company was established in New York by Michael Kors and since then it has expanded in various developed nations (Thogersen, 2007). The company does not have direct stores in various countries. However, the high end fashion stores would usually have a good collection of MK products. There are a lot of fashion retailers in Australia that sells MK products.
This report would focus on the ladies bag of MK that was launched in the year 2015. The bag is priced at 400 AUD. The bag is a medium size ladies side bag which the company has termed as ‘Raven Medium Leather Messenger Bag’.
The link to the bag:
MK would always charge a premium price for its products. The basic philosophy of the company is to target the high end customers that value luxury. The company has established a niche in the market. The company realizes that MK products are not the mass products and therefore it has a specific positioning in the market (Tseng, 2012). The ladies bags and the other products of MK are associated with fashion, luxury and status symbol. The consumer purchase decision for MK products are not driven by impulse. Instead, the consumers may want to buy the MK product to satisfy their upper level needs or self-esteem needs. It would be interesting to analyze the consumer buying decision process for MK.
Five stages of consumer decision making process
The purchase is only the visible part of a more complex decision process created by the consumer for each buying decision she makes. Typically, any consumer would pass through the five stages of consumer decision making process before making the purchase decisions (Michelle, 2006). These stages could be observed for the necessity products as well as the luxury products. The five stages of consumer decision making process for a female customer in the age group of 30 to 35 years can be discussed as:
The basic philosophy of marketing and consumer behavior analysis is that the needs cannot be created. The marketers can only make people realize their need. The need recognition or problem recognition is the first stage of consumer decision making process (Kaiser, 2005). This is the stage in which the consumers realize their needs. There could be both internal and external drivers of need recognition and the need in turn can be classified as functional need, social need or the need of change. The need of MK purse can be classified as the social need. This need comes from a desire for integration and belongingness in the social environment or for social recognition. Typically, the need recognition for any product would be at any one level of the Maslow need hierarchy (Blankson, 2010). It is observed that need of luxury products would often be at the higher levels. The Maslow need hierarchy levels for MK purse can be shown as:
Level 1: Physiological needs
Basic Needs & Necessity products/ E.g. Food
Food, Clothing, and Shelter
Level 2: Safety Needs
Basis Needs & Necessity products. E.g. House
Basic Safety & Shelter
Level 3: Love and Belonging Needs
Necessity products or Luxury Products. E.g. Pet
Level 4: Self Esteem Needs
Mostly: Luxury Products/ Items/ Services. E.g. CAR
Self-Ego and Satisfaction
Level 5: Self Actualization Needs
Mostly: Luxury Products/ / Services. E.g. MK Bag
For MK Bag, the consumer would have the need of social recognition to get personal satisfaction with high end product that has great social acceptance.
The ‘Information Search’ is the second step of customer decision making process. The need recognition phase is the problem phase and once the problem is identified it’s time for the consumer to seek information about possible solutions to the problem (Mangold, 2011). The consumer can use the internal and external sources to get the information about the products or services. The internal and external sources of Information Search can be discussed as:
Internal sources of Information Search
This is the information that is already stored in the consumer memory. This information can come from the previous purchase decision (Porter, 2005). For example, the consumer can use the previous experience of luxury bag to make this decision. Typically, the internal search is used for the products where customer involvement is limited. For example, the consumer good products like Rice, Chairs, etc. For the products where the customer involvement is high like cars, fashion bags, the consumers would shift to external sources of information search. The external sources of information search for MK Bag can discussed as:
External sources of Information Search
The external sources of information search would include the sources like friends, families or other source. The media or the review of other consumers is also an important source of information search (Summers, 2014). For example, the social media platform like Facebook and Twitter can provide the information to the lady who wants to buy the luxury bag.
This is the third stage of consumer decision process. This is the stage where consumers has made up her mind to buy a luxury bag (Schmitt, 2009). This is the phase where the consumer may want to evaluate different options. In this stage, the consumer may have the analysis of various competitor products like Louis Vuitton, Prada, etc. As a part of evaluation, the consumer would often select two or three best alternatives and then she would evaluate different attributes of the products. For example:
- The fashion appeal of various bags offered from MK, Louis Vuitton and Prada
- The brand name of MK, Louis Vuitton and Prada
- The style and aesthetics of MK, Louis Vuitton and Prada
- The comfort with MK, Louis Vuitton and Prada bags
- The security with MK, Louis Vuitton and Prada bags
Once all these attributes are decided and the decision is made, the consumer may have the answer to the best alternative.
This is the stage in which the consumer would actually make the purchase decision. Her decision will depend on the information and the selection made in the previous step based on the perceived value, product’s features and capabilities that are important to her (Reynolds, 2006). For example, it is possible that consumer liked the style and aesthetics of MK bags more than the style and aesthetics Louis Vuitton and Prada bags and likewise she decides to buy the MK bag.
After the purchase is made, the consumer may want to check the product for future purchase. The opinion and the experience of the consumer would have an impact on the future purchase decisions. The post-purchase evaluation may have important consequences for a brand (Thong, 2012). A satisfied customer is very likely to become a loyal and regular customer. Therefore, it can be said that this phase is critical from the perspective of brands. In this case, MK has to ensure that excellent customer service is provided to consumers who buy MK products.
Internal and Situational factors influencing consumer decision making process
There can be various internal and situational factors that can affect the consumer decision-making process (Abdullah, 2010). The major internal and situational factors for the purchase of MK bag can be discussed as:
The internal factors are the important factors that influence the consumer purchase decision of luxury products. The internal factors would include the factors like motivation, personality and attitude of consumers. The key internal factors that could have an impact of the consumer for the purchase of MK bag can be discussed as:
- Motivation: If the consumer is motivated to buy the high end luxury bag then she would end up buying it
- Attitude: If the consumer feels that high end luxury bags provides greater social acceptance then she can buy MK bags (Larsen, 2002)
- Personality: If the consumer has the outgoing personality and she wants to spend on costly products, she can buy MK bags
The situational factors are the external factors that are not driven by the internal stimuli of consumers. These are the factors that brand or organizations can manage and consumers may not have direct control or over these factors (Gronroos, 2011). However, the situational factors can also affect the consumer decision making process greatly. The situational factors that could have an impact of the consumer for the purchase of MK bag can be discussed as:
- Retail store environment: The consumer may want to buy the MK bag. However, if the store environment is not good, she might actually not go ahead with the purchase decision (Joseph, 2010).
- Retail executives’ appearances: The consumer purchase decision could also be impacted by the appearance of customer executives at retail store (Westaby, 2005). Therefore, it is often said that it is important to establish a good rapport with consumers. The normal meet and greet could also have an impact on consumer purchase decision.
Recommendations for Michael Kors Holdings Limited
The Michael Kors Holdings Limited should realize the importance of relationship marketing in the selling and branding of luxury products. The customers would be ready to spend 400 AUD for a bag only when they get a real value from the product (Schott, 2011). It is also important to mention that the customer value could vary across different customer segments. However, the good thing for MK is that it has a niche customer segment and the company is not required to develop multiple strategies to reach out to multiple segments. It is recommended that the company must continue to focus on the niche market of high-class customers (Thadani, 2011). The specific recommendations for Michael Kors Holdings Limited can be discussed as:
- It is recommended that MK should strongly focus on the aesthetics and interior of its stores. The consumer can have negative impression of the impression inside the store is not good. The color of the walls should be attractive and the store should be located in a good area where customer can reach easily (Chung, 2011). The other would include the valet car parking, effective air conditioner and lightening etc.
- It is recommended that the Michael Kors Holdings Limited should consider its customers as the valuable assets. The target customers for MK are the high end customers. These are the customers that demand special attention. (Frambach, 2011) It is suggested that MK should have smart, educated and talented resource as its executives. It is important that the consumers should get a good feeling when they interact with customer executives. At the same time, the store executives should be knowledgeable about the various products of the company (Torres, 2011). MK should have a centralized training where it trains all the customer service executives.
- It is recommended that Michael Kors Holdings Limited should use technology to analyze the changing patterns of consumer behavior. It is important to mention that customers’ preferences keeps on changing and it is important that the organizations should be willing to change themselves with the change in industry (Juric, 2013). MK should use the Internet and social media tools to analyze changing customer preferences and taste. A better understanding of customer taste and preferences would enable MK to have a unique connection with its customers (Best, 2010). For example, the company should use the ERP systems to analyze the customer data.
- The company should focus on specific campaigns and marketing strategies to focus on the internal factors that affect the consumer decision process. The relationship marketing approach would help MK to take its customers as its partners (Hwang, 2010). For example, the company should mail greetings to customers on birthdays and anniversaries.
The above report discusses the consumer behavior analysis for Michael Kors Holdings Limited. The report focused on the ladies bag of MK that was launched in the year 2015. The bag is priced at 400 AUD. The bag is a medium size ladies side bag which the company has termed as ‘Raven Medium Leather Messenger Bag’. The company can use the insights from the five stages of consumer decision making process to develop future marketing strategies. The report discusses the internal and situational factors that have an impact on consumer buying behavior. A better understanding of customer taste and preferences would enable MK to have a set of loyal customer base. MK has established a good differentiation in the market with the focus on unique products attributes. It is important that the company should also focus on the service attributes. The better understanding of consumer sentiments and improve customer service would enable MK to continue with its differentiation strategy in the global market.
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