History of Apple and The iPod<br />Apple Inc is a major manufacturer of personal computers and other digital devices, including the popular digital music player, the iPod, and the online music service known as the iTunes Music Store. With headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple designs, produces, and sells personal computer systems for use in business, education, government, and the home (Encarta, 2009). Apple Computer was formed by Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak in 1976 to market the Apple I, a computer circuit board that they had designed and built in Jobs’s garage in Los Altos, California. They scrapped their plan to sell the board alone when Jobs’s first sales call yielded an order for 50 units. They were, however, sold without monitor, keyboard, or casing. The company was incorporated in January 1977 by the charismatic Jobs, the meditative inventor Wozniak, and their new partner and chairman, Mike Markkula (Encarta, 2009). <br />Apple began 2001 with a new round of product upgrades, but the most dramatic turnabout in its fortunes came with the introduction of the digital music player known as the iPod at the end of the year. The music player became extremely popular and was credited with helping turn the company around. The same year the company announced plans to open retail stores, which helped Apple provide better marketing support for its products. Following on the success of the iPod, Apple in 2003 debuted an online music site called the iTunes Music Store that enabled computer users to purchase and download music. The service quickly became one of the most popular music download sites on the Web. By 2005 Apple had opened more than 100 retail outlets in the United States, along with stores in Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom. It continued to pioneer in music services, unveiling the iPod nano, a smaller, thinner version of the iPod. In 2006 Apple sold about 39 million iPods and announced that users had downloaded more than 2 billion songs from its iTunes Music Store. Building on the success of the iPod, Apple continued to diversify its product line (Encarta, 2009). <br />Throughout this paper we are going to discuss multiple topics discussed in class. We have created an outline of different aspects that go into the products, Apple iPod, and the consumer decision process to purchase the iPod. Cultures, people, values, group influences all shape a product and determines the success that it may have. External influences can be the making or breaking point for a company’s product. Apple iPod does a very good job of using their external influences to the fullest and their success reflects it.<br />Cross Culture Variations<br />A certain value is placed upon the iPod, a value that is universal. “It’s hard to remember what I did before the iPod,” said Mary J. Blige, Grammy Award-winning singer. “IPod is more than just a music player; it’s an extension of your personality and a great way to take your favorite music with you everywhere you go CITATION 10009 l 1033 (100 Million iPods Sold, 2009)”. IPod’s are becoming a necessity in the eyes of consumers. It is the easiest and most convenient way to carry around your favorite music and enjoy it at any time of the day. It can easily be said that the iPod has taken over the world by storm and is still continuing to do so with every new product item Apple adds to their line. After six years of being on the market, iPod hit a milestone on April 9, 2007 when the 100 millionth iPod was sold. In a Yahoo! Tech article written this month it is stated that “iPod sales of 11,013,000 were up three percent over the same quarter last year”, showing that sales are reaching high amounts annually, with the international markets being particularly important with bringing in 46% of the quarter’s revenue. The market share is incessantly growing within both the United States and the worldwide markets (predominantly in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Australia and China) CITATION Jim09 l 1033 (Dalrymple, 2009).<br />Changing American Society<br />Changing the American society’s view on how to listen to music is a task that iPod has completed. Given an option as to what music device to use, it has become the norm to rely on one’s iPod. For consumers that own an iPod, it has self-oriented, environment-oriented, and some other-oriented values to them. High materialistic importance is the self-oriented value because of the connection that owning an iPod shows wealth and social status. It is the item that everyone has and if they don’t have one, they want one. When first put onto the market it was seen as an item owned by the families with money, but has revolutionized into a product that can be bought be high class, middle class, and some higher low class families. Apple as a company is striving to become an economic friendly company and is implementing tradition and change in our society which is their environment-oriented value. Most of their efforts are directed towards their Mac computers because they have a much higher impact on revenue, but the iPod has had its contributions. Apple changed the packing of the fourth-generation iPod Nano to a much lighter package that uses less than half of the volume than previous packaging. A positive step was also taken when recycling programs began in Asia, Europe and Australia CITATION App09 l 1033 (Apple and the Environment, 2009). Implementing tradition and change seems to have come easy to the Apple iPod by giving something of such convenience and value to our conforming society. The world was ready for a change and that was given to them with the idea of a hand-held music device that can give them everything they need in one object instead of sifting through hundreds of CDs to find what they want. “Without the iPod, the digital music age would have been defined by files and folders instead of songs and albums,” said John Mayer, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and guitarist. “Though the medium of music has changed, the iPod experience has kept the spirit of what it means to be a music lover alive CITATION 10009 l 1033 (100 Million iPods Sold, 2009)”. Being able to sell a product to any age group is a benefit that the iPod thrives on and is their other-oriented value. Even though it seemed to be directed towards youth it is becoming a multiage product because of the fact that everyone wants their music one click away, which is what the iPod provides. For the older demographic, using an iPod may often give them the feeling of being young again, which is always beneficial for a company.<br />The invention of the iPod came about when Apple decided there needed to be something more convenient to carry around then the current music players. The demographic that Apple targeted most when released was the teen/young adult age group. It has continued to have the most success with the younger age demographic; there is even the new term "
CITATION Mon09 l 1033 (Monarch Media, Inc., 2009). “IPod Generation” is now part of Western vocabulary, but the iPod trend is spreading to older users every year. For example, hospitals are now taking advantage of the iPod for training their staff. NHS Greater Glasgow found that using an audio induction via an iPod with train all new employees at the same standard and will eliminate human error CITATION Mon09 l 1033 (Monarch Media, Inc., 2009). Not only is the use of iPods spreading to the adult demographic, but is also going below the teen group and hitting the young child age group. "
Wyoke, 2008). Many consumers do not like to admit their reasons for buying an iPod. Consumes enjoy the iPod because not only is it a flashy electronic toy, but they can express their personality and individualism through the color they purchase. IPod has nine different colors, one for everyone. IPods are the number one selling hand-held music playing device and everyone wants to be a part of the craze. Most consumers don’t want to admit that they bought an iPod because of its fashion statement; they always say it is because of its advanced technology and brand equity. Owning an iPod isn’t just about technology convince, it is about making a statement and being part of the Apple phenomenon.<br />Brand Equities and Personality<br />Over time Apple has created brand equity for itself. Apple has become a luxury technology brand and is a must have in some consumers minds. Apple has created a name for itself and is very popular among teens, young adults, and college campuses. Since iPod is associated with Apple it has gotten to share in their brand equity. IPod was not the first digital media player available, but it has effectively elevated itself in this market. Many consumers automatically call any digital music player in the market an iPod, regardless of whether the device is made by Apple. The name itself, which is simple and easy to remember, invokes a sense of available technology. Therefore, the iPod name has come to create a category for itself.<br />The other half to an iPod is the computer software that is strongly associated with the brand. When an iPod is purchased, an iTunes account must be instantly set up in order to use the iPod to its full potential. ITunes can only be used with an iPod and no other digital music player. It is part of the Apple company now and very easy to use. You can buy music, search music, and download music onto iTunes. Because of the close relationship that iPod and iTunes have created, Apple decided to advertise them in the same ads. This type of marketing gives the consumer the idea that the two products effectively go hand-in-hand. <br />Among the iPod’s key differentiators from other hand-held media players its capacity to store vast numbers of songs is a huge perk. Apple was the first to introduce a media player capable of holding over 1000 songs, which is original marketing loudly expressed. Prior to the invention of the iPod many hand held devices could not even hold 100 songs (Caulfield, 2009). Since the introduction of the Apple iPod many other media players have followed in offering larger storage capacity. Although other media players have hit the market, Apple has kept its leadership spot, still offering the largest storage capacity with every new model they make.<br /> The iPod has a very strong and recognizable personality because it is such a unique product. One of the main characteristic is posses is its innovation and creativity. The iPod brand prides itself as being innovative at all times. The original iPod embodied an imaginative idea that appealed favorable to music lovers alike. Following the original iPod, Apple continued its quest and released more updated and innovative models many of which include video capabilities and reduction in size (Graham, 2006). Apple’s ability to continuously produce top of the line media players makes its names parallel with innovation. The iPods innovative personality is not just in its technology, it is in its musical and cultural creativity. The iPod does an outstanding job of advertising their brand and products as hip, fashionable, and cutting edge. Many of the iPods color schemes and commercials label them as bold and energetic. The advertising choice of loud, attention-grabbing dancing and fast paced music is in almost every marketing campaign. All this dancing and bold colors gives the brand a sense of confidence and energy. This fits with the range of cultural images that have developed as the “typical” iPod user- from joggers to fast-paced urban professionals to their biggest target, students. <br />In almost every commercial advertising iPod you will see the black silhouette and the strings of the infamous white ear buds. Apple’s signature white ear bud headphones with the long white wire come packaged along with every iPod (Apple, 2009). These white ear buds have become linked to the iPod, anytime anyone is seen wearing the long white cord they are automatically assumed to be using an iPod. <br />Attitudes and Influencing Attitudes <br />Apple has created a certain attitude initiator for their iPod. They have created advanced products, attractive retail outlets, powerful advertisements, and a positive attitude toward their brand. Apple’s cognitive component consists of a consumer’s believes about an object (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). Apple has positioned itself in young consumer’s minds as a must. They have created a belief that the iPod is not just a necessity for all your music needs, but as a fashion accessory. Most consumers beliefs about Apple are positive beliefs associated with the brand. Because iPod has become the number one selling hand-held media player that boosts peoples beliefs in itself. When consumers have a positive attitude about your brand or product it boosts your sales. <br />The iPod is considered a fashion accessory. It expresses your personality and lets you venture off into a world of music. IPod has positioned itself in the market as creating an individual, having fun, being old, and independent. When you put in those white ear buds, you can’t help but nod your head and lose yourself in the music. People feel very strong about their iPod; they feel like the iPod is a necessity and can’t be left at home. Most of the people that we gave out survey (see appendix) to said that they love their iPod and can’t imagine not owning one. People’s feelings towards the iPod get stronger and stronger as they use their iPod more. “I love my iPod” implies positive affective reactions to specific aspects of the product, in combination with feelings about other attributes, will determine the overall reaction to the brand (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007).<br />The behavior component is the last part of the attitude model. A series of decisions to purchase or not purchase the Apple iPod or to recommend it to friends would reflect the behavioral component. Brand interest, as represented by tendencies to seek out the brand on store shelves and search for brand information (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). Because consumers have heard so many positive things about the iPod and most of their friends own one, they seek out the iPod at stores. They will go to a specific store or the Apple store itself to obtain the product. When consumers see someone else carrying an iPod their attitude towards them automatically changes and they see themselves as equals.<br />Consumer’s attitudes towards a product have a lot to do with their decision process to purchase the item. If they have heard negative things about the product, they will have a negative attitude towards the product. IPod has become so popular among consumers that they have created a very positive attitude toward their product. Most consumers that took our survey had very positive attitudes about the iPod. <br />Recommendation 7<br />Although celebrity endorsements were not discussed in the attitude section, celebrity endorsements are part of consumer’s attitude toward the brand. Celebrity endorsements gain attention toward the ad, can shift the consumers attitude toward the ad, gain trustworthiness, gain expertise, give them apparitional aspects, and a meaning to transfer (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). We think celebrity endorsements give the product creditability and like the book said gains trustworthiness among consumers. Currently, Apple does not use any celebrity endorsements to sell their iPod. In the book it says that 26% of respondents are more likely to buy a product endorsed by Michael Jordan, one of the most trusted celebrity athletes. We know that iPod sells are already very high from their unique advertising style and word of mouth, but we believe that Apple could boost them even more if they had a credible celebrity endorse them. IPods have become a universal necessity, not just among college students and teens, but among celebrities and sports icons. We think that it would be beneficial to Apple to have a popular and well known celebrity endorser to help boost the credibility and positive attitude toward the iPod.<br /> Situational Influences<br />The consumer has many influences that will affect their purchasing decision. Not only do they have to overcome both external and internal influences, but they must also deal with situational influences. All consumers are affected by the events that occur, and they make their decision based on both the marketing influence and situation. iPod has to take necessary precautions to attempt to reduce the situations that have a negative impact on their marketing and overall sales.<br />A precaution that Apple iPod takes to limit their situational influences is by having retail outlets that only sell Apple products. These retail stores have employees that are there to explain all the products and features to the consumers. Apple even has a genius bar where people can bring back their Apple merchandise to get fixed or ask questions on how to use the product. Consumers can also set up appointments to have a specialist meet them in the store and explain all the benefits, accessories, and attributes of the products. By having employees that know everything about the products and are able to communicate to the consumer how to use the product, it makes the decision process a lot easier on the consumer (Apple, 2009).<br />Another factor that can have a huge influence on a consumer’s decision process is the physical surroundings of the retail store. Physical surroundings include sounds, lighting, aromas and just the general atmosphere. Apple iPod makes sure their retail outlets are aesthetically pleasing to their consumers. They have white walls so that their products stand out, especially their iPods which are sold in vibrant colors. The store is bright and inviting. The employees wear bright baby blue shirts in order to make them stand out. The greeter has a bright orange shirt and will help the consumers find the specialist they need to answer their product questions (Apple, 2009). As for the layout of the store, it was recently changed in October of 2005 to better fit the customer’s needs. Due to the increasing sales that the iPod was generating in the retail stores, Apple moved the iPod to the front of the store by the entrance to make it the focus point for when customers walk in. There is a large white oval iPod display counter that is positioned outside the store so consumers are attracted to the product before they even get inside the store (Store Layout Makeover, 2005).<br />Apple iPod is able to control the situational influences in their retail stores, but they are not able to control the environment in other retail stores that sell their products like Best Buy or Wal-Mart. These other retail stores sell a wide variety of electronics and other brands. Best Buy sells Apple iPods along with its competition Zuni, Samsung, and Sony MP3 players (MP3 Players, 2009). These situational influences play a large role in the consumer decision process. Now price and other factors are taken into account. Another factor that is changed by selling iPods in other retail stores is the employees. These other retail stores may be more convenient for the shopper, but the employees will not know as much about iPods as the employees at Apple do. They also might not sell all the accessories that the consumer is looking for due to the fact that they only carry a limited amount of the Apple products (The Stores, 2008). The last problem that Apple faces is that employees at other stores are not able to fix a product that is having functioning problems. <br />The physical surroundings are also affected by selling iPods in other retail stores. They will no longer stand out to the consumer as they did in Apple stores. Since other retail stores sells many different brands, the Apple iPod will not be the center of attention, and it may be placed in the back corner of the store instead of being displayed by the entrance where consumers are more likely to see it (The Stores, 2008). The iPod will be displayed with other MP3 players that might change the customer’s decision based on pricing factors or memory storage. <br />These factors caused Apple to open up their own retail stores in order to attract new customers and retain their old customers. They wanted to have more control of their retail environment. In Apples 2005 annual report, Apple stated, “By operating its own stores and building them in desirable high traffic locations, the Company is able to better control the customer retail experience and attract new customers” (The Stores, 2008). Today Apple has over 200 stores worldwide, including places like the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and Switzerland. The majority of their stores are located all throughout the United States (Apple Retail Store, 2009).<br />Consumer Decision Process and Problem Recognition<br />Once the consumer finds the physical surrounding that suites them the best, they have to choose the product they want. Since Apple iPods are rather expensive, ranging anywhere in price from the iPod Shuffle costing $79 to the iPod Touch costing $399, and because there are so many different alternative products available, the consumer is involved in an extended decision making purchase (Shop iPod, 2009). With this kind of a purchase, the consumer usually will conduct both an internal and external information search, and then they will evaluate all the alternatives and their attributes before purchasing a product. Even after they purchase the product, they will go through a post purchase process that will make them decide whether or not they should keep the product.<br />Before the consumer is involved in the extended decision process, they will first have to identify that they have a desired state that they want to fulfill. Consumers have to believe that they will not be truly happy until they own an iPod. They have to recognize a problem and resolve the problem by buying an iPod. Apple makes consumers feel like they need to own an iPod by showing commercials where people are dancing and singing along to their music. Apple has slogans that show the iPod is made for everyone by saying things like a little video for everyone. Consumers make the iPod into what they want it to be. It is a storage device where people can have all the music they like whenever they want it. The iPods have continued to improve over the years. When iPods first came out, they were just devices that played music. The first iPod only contained a 5GB hard drive when it was released in October 2001 (Hormby, 2007). Now there is the iPod Touch which allows its users to store and listen to music, browse the internet, watch videos whether it is music or a full film, and even play games. It also includes a high definition touch screen (Shop iPod, 2009)<br />Information Search <br />Once the consumer has recognized that their desired state is not fulfilled and therefore they have recognized a problem, they begin to search for information on what types of products are in their evoked set and choose the one that best suits their needs. The consumer will first compare different brands and decide whether or not an iPod or one of its competitor brands will fulfill their desired state. All the brands that make MP3 players will be involved in the consumer’s awareness set. After they have researched each brand, they will narrow their search to the top three brands they want to choose their product from and this is considered their evoked set. In order to narrow the search to find their evoked set, consumers will have to conduct both internal and external searches. Their personal experiences, which involve whether or not they have ever owned an iPod, will help to narrow the search dramatically, and then they will have to acquire information through personal contacts and research. Once they have their evoked set, the consumer then research’s each brand before they make their purchasing decision. <br />The iPod might control most of the market share, but there is a lot of competition in this industry. Everyday companies create products to compete with one of the iPod products. iPod came out with the new iPod Touch, that is equipped with a touch, high definition screen and Wi-Fi so the operator can surf the internet to buy music or video’s online. The consumers can choose what size hard drive they need since the Touch is equipped with an 8GB, 16GB, or a 32GB hard drive. Prices for the iPod Touch range from $229.99 to $399.99 depending on what size hard drive the consumer wants (Shop iPod, 2009). Samsung has invented the Samsung Yepp YP-P2 which is currently the iPod Touch’s biggest competition (Patterson, 2007). This MP3 player includes a touch screen navigation system, Bluetooth capability, and an FM radio tuner. It plays videos and has windows software so it allows the user more freedom of where they want to download their music. The iTouch only can download music from iTunes. There are downsides to this player, it does not allow the user to surf the internet like the iPod Touch, its screen is not high definition so the videos are not as clear, and the largest hard drive sold for this player is 8GB. Even though the Samsung Yepp YP-P2 is not as technologically equipped as the Touch, it only costs $179.99 which is about $50 less than the 8GB iPod Touch, making it a fierce competitor of the iPod (MP3 Players, 2009).<br />Another strong competitor for the iPod is the Sansa View which has a lot of the same characaristics as the iPod Nano Chromatic. These two players even look the same. The Sansa View can play videos, it has an FM tuner, and it comes with a 32GB hard drive. This device costs $219 (MP3 Players, 2009). The Nano Chromatic also plays videos, comes in a variety of different colors, has internet access and comes in either an 8GB or 16GB hard drive. The Nano ranges in price from $149 to $199 (Shop iPod, 2009). <br />iPods biggest competitor is the Zune which compares to its iPod Classic. Both of these players are bigger than most music playing devices due to the fact that they both have a 120GB hard drives. The iPod Classic has a smaller screen than the Zune, but it has internet capability, can be bought in either white or black, and it costs $249 (Shop iPod, 2009). The Zune has a larger screen, an FM tuner, and internet capabilities. The Zune can be bought in either red or black and it only costs $249.99 (MP3 Players, 2009). While iPod is better than the other products discussed, its Classic is matched by the Zune, and iPod has to work to find a way to overshadow the Zune.<br />Everyday the iPod has to deal with fierce competition and try to find ways to stay ahead of their competitors. As long as iPod continues to develop and make inprovements to their products, they will make the decision process very easy for their consumers, and make it so price does not matter as much as quality. Once the consumer has decided that they want an Apple product, they then have to decide what product they want. <br />Alternative Evaluation and Selection <br />The information search helped the consumer determine that the iPod brand will satisfy the consumer’s problem. Now the consumer has chosen the brand of product they will purchase and begins to evaluate the criteria involved with the different iPods. The three major categories of iPod consist of the iPod Touch, Nano, and Shuffle. Each of the different categories are designed to meet different consumer needs. The difference in evaluative criteria for each category will be discussed in greater detail. <br />The iPod Touch has different criteria than the iPod Classic, Nano or Shuffle. The iPod Touch consists of two major criteria that distinguish it from the other iPods. The iPod Touch incorporates a full touch screen navigation system. (Product Info , 2009) The navigation system allows consumers to enter different settings on the iPod with the touch of a finger. Through the different settings the consumer has the option to listen to music, play games, watch video, or surf the web. (iPod , 2009) The second distinguishing characteristic that the iPod Touch has incorporated is its wireless internet capabilities. Wireless internet allows the consumers to have the internet in the palm of their hand. (Evans, 2007) <br />IPod Classics are vey bulky in design comparatively to the other iPods. Classics have only one distinct advantage over other iPods which is their relatively high memory capacity. The iPod Classic consists of one hundred and twenty gigabytes of memory. (Evans, 2007) This is almost equivalent to some cheaper laptops, which have around one hundred and sixty gigabytes. iPod Classics also have the ability to listen to music, play games and watch videos. (iPod , 2009) <br />The iPod Nano has two distinct criteria that can be used to evaluate between the iPods. The first characteristic is the sleek slim design of the Nano. This incorporates a two inch by one inch screen that allows the consumers to view videos, play games, and listen to music. The second characteristic is the large selection of different colors available. (iPod , 2009) Apple incorporates nine different colors that the consumer can assess. These colors range from black and gray and even blue and yellow. <br />iPod shuffles are the smallest iPod that Apple has created. This iPod has no screen only a navigation wheel. (iPod , 2009)This particular iPod only allows the consumer to listen to music unlike the others that allow for watching video and playing games. Since the Shuffle has no screen, the consumer is not able to see which song is playing and who the artist is. The iPod Shuffle is extremely small, simple, and easy to use. <br />Now that we understand the different criteria of each iPod, the consumer must evaluate the importance of each criterion. Looking at the consumer’s decision process, it is apparent that consumers evaluate iPods on the usage situation or how the product will be used. The usage situation for the iPod Touch becomes apparent to consumers that are heavy internet users. Consumers that choose to purchase the iPod Touch fell that the greatest advantage the Touch has over the others is its ability to access the internet. This was especially true for business men purchasing the iPod Touch, and the ease of checking their email. (Weintraub, 2007) <br />The iPod classic has a different situation usage than any other iPod. Consumers that fall into this category have a large collection of video or music. Due to the large capacity that the Classic has, it aligns well with music and video fans. (Patterson, 2007) Consumers that purchased iPod Classics seemed to fall under the category of excessive music or video buffs. These consumers also seemed to travel a greater amount than any other group. <br />iPod Nano had two major buying groups that both have different situation usages. The first is the middle aged consumers. These consumers have a need for a small music player that would be comfortable and easy to hold while working out. The slim design was built especially well for consumers that were looking to use this device while running or bike ride. The second groups of consumers are teens, whose main focus was on the different colors. It was apparent that teens that were looking to purchase iPod Nano’s had observed advertisements that influenced the colors of the iPod, making the color become an important evaluative criteria between the other iPods. <br />The Situation usage for the iPod Shuffle was exclusively for fitness purposes. Consumers found that the iPod Shuffles main purpose was to listen to music, while involved in another activity. (Murph, 2009) The major reason is that it doesn’t have a screen to allow for anything other than listening to music. The small design of the Shuffle permits comfort while consumers work out. It also comes in a multiple colors, though this was found to have no effect on the consumer decision process. <br />Situation usage has shown to be a major criterion for the purchase of a particular iPod. Though it is an important criterion, price has also shown to be a huge determining factor on which iPod a consumer chooses. When looking at the price differences, the iPod Touch is the most expensive. Then price distribution goes down from the Classic iPod to Nano, then to the Shuffle. <br />The evaluation and selection process allowed the consumer to found the distinguishing characteristics between each iPod. They then narrowed their decision down by looking at two or three iPods that would allow them the greatest use of the product. Finally the consumer uses a rule that determines which evaluative criteria is of the highest importance. This could be the price, size, function, and look. Some consumers felt that price was not a critical criterion and would base their purchase decision on another factor. While others felt that all criterion were important. Now the consumer has determine which iPod to purchase they must decide which outlet and location to purchase the product. <br />Outlet Selection and Purchase <br />Outlet selection is the next step in the consumer decision process. Through this process the consumer must decide if they want to buy the product online or from a physical store. Since iPods are somewhat expensive in price, they tend to be of high involvement. High involvement products are product that consumers take a substantial amount of time in evaluating its attributes. If the product has high involvement it is more common for the consumer to want to tangibly touch the product. An exception to this situation is if the customer is making a repeat purchase of the same or similar product. IPods are considered high involvement product so we will focus most of our attention on physical stores attributes. <br />IPods are sold in two major physical locations, the store brand or Apple store as well as Best Buy retail store. When consumers make the decision to purchase an iPod they must decide where they will make the purchase. There are several key factors that influence consumer to decide which store to buy from. The first key factor that is involved in outlet selection is the store location. The second factor is the perceived risk, or the cost associated with choosing this particular location. The last two key factors are atmospherics, as well as sales personal. <br />Store location is in essence the distance from the individual to the location of the consumer good. Apple’s distribution of iPods is very spacious. Most Apple stores are located in or around shopping malls. Their main distribution is through Best Buy retail stores. These two distribution outlets can have a huge impact on the motivation an individual has to purchase the product. If an outlet is too far from where the individual lives they may feel that it is not worth traveling to that outlet to purchase the iPod. This leads to the second point, of what risks are associated with choosing a particular outlet. <br />Deciding which outlet to purchase from can contain external costs. The first cost that is considered is the social cost of choosing a particular outlet. Social costs are referred to as costs looked upon as negative to the individual’s social group. For example, a person may feel less worthy by buying their product from Best Buy instead of the Apple Store itself. The second cost that is incorporated with outlet selection is financial costs. Financial cost is assigning extra cost associated with driving to purchase the iPod. If the iPod is too far away, the consumer may determine if the product is worth the extra money to drive to that location. Last is time cost, which is the opportunity cost associated with the purchase. Is the time it takes to drive to the location worth the value of the iPod? It is very important for Apple to understand that there are extrinsic costs associated with outlet selection. <br />Another deciding factor that is related to outlet selection for iPods is the store atmospherics. Atmospherics are the physical elements in the environment that creates different mood responses for shoppers. (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007) Store atmospherics have a major impact on the decision of where a consumer will purchase the product. If the stores atmospherics are not in line with the consumer, they will feel that the store’s image is less quality. A great example of this is how brightly lighted the Apple stores are. The use of the bright lighting emphasizes the Apple products to give them a sense of high quality. As well as the lighting there is very little use of color throughout the store. The main focus of color appears on the Apple products which accentuate the room drawing in all the attention. Atmospherics give value to the product and also can be a deciding factor for consumers on choosing which location to purchase their products from. <br />The final factor that contributes to outlet selection is the Sales Personnel. Sales personnel contribute a huge amount when consumers are deciding which outlet to purchase from. Consumers that are looking to purchase iPods that have little understanding of the product rely heavily on the information that is presented by the sales associates. This works out well, because iPods are high involvement products. It is also important for sales associate to get an understanding of why the consumer is going to use the product. If a sales person recommends the wrong iPod that won’t fit the consumers needs, there is a possibility the consumer will experience post purchase dissonance, which will be discussed later in this paper. <br />Once a consumer has decided to make the purchase, they must decide which outlet to purchase from. This could be either the Apple store or Best Buy. When consumers are deciding which outlet to shop at, they will decide which outlet to choose from by the four factors which are location, costs, atmospherics, and sales personal. If a consumer feels any of these factors are not considered it may result in the customer going to another location to purchase the product. <br />Post purchase Processes, Customer Satisfaction<br />After a purchase is made there are several emotional experiences the consumer can feel. Since the consumer has alternatives that could have been chosen, the consumer sometimes questions their final decision. The three factors that accommodate this experience are post-purchase dissonance, use/nonuse, and evaluation of the product. If any of these factors do not meet the consumers’ expectations the result will conclude with a negative perspective of the product. <br />Once the consumer has made the purchase they can sometimes feel a sense of doubt or anxiety. This is what markers refer to as post-purchase dissonance. Consumers usually experience post-purchase dissonance when the product has high involvement. (Nadeem, 2007) iPods are high involvement and each iPod has very different features. Consumers that have chosen one iPod over another might feel doubt that another alternative would have better suited their needs. In this case the consumer might feel they chose the wrong rules that were used to evaluate which criteria were most important. If this occurs there is a high probability that the purchaser will feel post-purchase dissonance. <br />After a purchase is made the product can fall into two categories of use or nonuse. Use refers to the products usage for its intended purpose, where product nonuse is relatively the opposite. The consumer determines which category the iPod falls into. If a consumer purchases an iPod Shuffle to use while working out, then decides to stop working out, then the product will descend into the nonuse category. If the product falls into the nonuse category it will likely have negative referrals or will result in the consumer not purchasing similar items. <br />The final step in the consumer decision making processes is the evaluation of the product. The only way to eliminate post-purchase dissonance is when the consumer uses the product and it conforms to their expectations. (Nadeem, 2007) When the consumer gets the iPod home and begins to use the product they can decide if the product will fulfill their needs. If the iPod will accomplish the needs of the product it is considered to be satisfactory. If it does not it is considered non-satisfactory. The evaluation process is the most crucial aspect, because this will determine if the customer will repurchase Apple products. If the consumer feels that the product they purchased is non-satisfactory there will be a likely chance the consumer will look to purchase from another company. <br />The consumer decision process is a very important process in understanding the steps that consumers take to make the purchase of an Apple iPod. The post purchase segment of the process is the determining factor if the consumer will purchase products from Apple or turn to a competitor. Apple should use techniques to keep the consumers dissonance as low as possible when purchasing a product. If the consumer feels high levels of dissonance the result will lead to high expectations. When expectations are not met, the consumer considers the product to be unsatisfactory leading to a loss of market share. <br />Recommendation 8 <br />Research found that there is a huge market segment that could be reached by Apple. According to MacWorld there are only six percent of iPod owners with a demographic of fifty and older. (Loechner, 2005) Apple has very little marketing and promotion to the baby boomer generation. Apple has focused almost all promotional attention on younger generations. When watching an iPod commercial there seems to be younger actors that are promoting the different iPods. The iPod Nano commercial shows a young boy dancing around listening to his iPod, with bright vibrant lighting. Some commercials focused on games that would not appeal to older generations. These commercial have shown that Apple has an immense focus on younger generations.<br />We feel that Apple iPod can bring both younger and older generations together without affecting their brand image. They can persuade older consumers into believing the iPod is not just a product for younger generations; but at the same time keep the credibility of the product for the youth. We feel that Apple can focus the iPod Touch and Nano on younger generations while focusing the iPod classic on older generations. The iPod Classic is not as tech savvy nor does it incorporate all the colors that are attractive to the X and Y Generations. The iPod classic incorporates all the functions that older generations need. It contains an 80 gigabit hard drive that can store a large amount of music, which is beneficial for older consumers that have been listening to music for over fifty years. The iPod Classic has the ability to play in the consumer’s car as well as in their home. Through promotion of the different products we believe that Apple can offer something for everyone. <br />Recommendation 9<br />During our research it was apparent that customers felt that associates selling Apple products were not as knowledgeable as they had anticipated. When talking to Best Buy sales associates we were informed that they were not fully aware of all the features that were present in the latest iPods products. These sales associates had very little understanding of the new products, and were encouraged to research the products on their own time. This is not beneficial to Apple as we learned that sales associates can be an influence on which product the consumer will purchase. If the consumer purchases a product from an unknowledgeable associate and is provided the wrong information it can lead to post purchase dissonance. <br />We recommend Apple communicates all the features of their new products to every sales associate. They can do this by having an Apple expert give a presentation that informs associates on all the features and functions the new iPods incorporate. This will be especially beneficial on changes they have made from one generation to the next. Having the sales associates become more knowledgeable will help reduce post purchase dissonance. This will also help consumers better understand all the features that are available, allowing the consumer to have a better understanding of how to evaluate each of the different iPods. <br />Recommendation 10<br />When it comes to technology, there are a lot of issues with operating the products. Technology advances daily and most consumers have trouble keeping up with the current times. Apple has a genius bar where its product specialists help consumers with the technological difficulties that they have with their products. The genius bar explains to the consumer the proper way to use their products and they fix products that are no longer functioning properly. This is just one of the services Apple offers to its customers. They also have a system that allows consumers to set up an appointment with a specialist who will meet with the consumer on a certain day to help them pick out a product that will best fit their needs. All the consumer has to do is to set up an appointment is to go onto the Apple website, choose a date, time, and product that they want to learn more information about. Both of these services are free, unless there is a part that is needed to fix the product, there might be a slight fee. These two services are very beneficial to the consumer and they will help Apple retain their consumers. The problem with these two services is the lack of awareness for these services. Most people have no idea that these two benefits for the consumer exist.<br />In order to solve this problem, we recommend that Apple should advertise these services to its consumers. If more people are aware of these services, it would make the decision process easier on the consumer. They would be willing to spend more money on a product that allows the consumer to ask question anytime and get personalized feedback. These two services shows consumers that Apple is customer focused and that this company cares about its consumers. Apple should promote these services through commercials, brochures, Apple associates, and on their website. These two services will not only help to generate repeat consumers, but it will also attract new ones and promote brand loyalty. <br />Reference Page<br /><ul><li>2009). Apple Inc.. Retrieved April 29, 2009, Web site: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761552652/Apple_Inc_.html
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purchase. Retrieved April 23, 2009, from BNet : http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6054/is_200707/ai_n24209014/<br />Loechner, J. (2005, July 14). Upscale Men Dominate Adult iPod Ownership. Retrieved April 28, 2009, from Mediapost: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=31951<br />Appendix<br />Attitude Components and Manifestations<br />