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From consumer experience to affective loyalty: challenges and prospects in the psychology of consumer behaviour 3.0

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Consumer behaviour represents one of the greatest interests of marketing scholars, yet its analysis requires a multi-dimensional approach, in which psychology takes a central position. This positioning is especially important when we consider the changes that have arisen in the past decade across economic, ...

Consumer behaviour represents one of the greatest interests of marketing scholars, yet its analysis requires a multi-dimensional approach, in which psychology takes a central position. This positioning is especially important when we consider the changes that have arisen in the past decade across economic, social, cultural and technological contexts.

Since the early 2010s, the emergence of a new consumer has begun: Consumer 3.0. The global economic recession evoked new social and cultural tendencies, including greater preferences for economic, social and environmental sustainability, instead of unthinking consumerism. Such tendencies have reached a global span, fostered by the development of 2.0 and 3.0 technologies, which also offer means of communication, expression, relation and dialogue.

In this context, an informed and responsible consumer is concerned about social and environmental issues and highly implicated in the search for solutions. In addition, this consumer is ethnic and culturally distinct; was born or resides in the information and knowledge society (i.e., a digital native); and uses technology to search for information, offer opinions and explain experiences. To appeal to such consumers, companies must consider phenomena such as (a) multi-cultural markets and globalisation; (b) new tendencies oriented toward social, economic and environmental sustainability and (c) the development of information and communication technologies that empower consumers and may lead to new information sources that can influence both brand creation and decision-making processes, similar to the effects of user-generated content.

In turn, in companies’ new strategies, which are founded in consumer behaviour psychology, the individual consumer is the central focus. With perfect knowledge of this individual, it is possible to create products and services adapted to his or her desires, needs and preferences. Organizations also must find ways to encourage consumers to participate actively in strategic processes, such as innovation and communication. Through co-creation processes, companies seek to increase consumers’ commitment to their brands and offerings. Moreover, they aim to enhance the levels of customer satisfaction, through experiences linked to the product, service or even the channel, and customer loyalty, in both its affective (through greater trust and commitment) and behavioural (through brand purchases, repurchases and recommendations) forms.

This new approach to consumers stems from the creation of stable, durable relations that highlight an emotional dimension. Feelings and emotions help create links between the organization and consumers. Such links may be more difficult to create, but they also are more difficult to break.


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