Consumer Perception

The world of marketing is an ever-changing one. Not simply because consumers’ desires change, but also because today marketers have more means than ever to reach potential customers. The Internet has made aspects of marketing much simpler and cheaper. We can now literally reach over a billion people world-wide. For multinational companies, this is a good means to create a connection with the people in each country they operate in. The following will examine the website of Victoria’s Secret, as well as the “size does matter” epidemic in the United States.

One of the things that the Victoria’s Secret website does very well is provide potential consumers with opportunities for additional exposure. On the home screen, the banner on the top has several links including: “Catalogue Quick Order” “Sign Up For Email” “Customer Service” “Your Account” “Shopping Bag”. The links to catalogue order and email are both direct ways of showing the customer some of the things you have to offer. Below this section are the categories of products, which include: Bras, Panties, Sleepwear, Clothing, Shoes, Swim, Beauty, and Sale.

By having these sections, it makes it very easy for potential consumers to navigate the site and discover some of what the company has to offer. Internet has certain limitations when it comes to sensory stimulus. We cannot smell things, we cannot taste them, and we cannot feel them. In some cases we can see and hear them, but in most we can only see things on the Internet. That is what makes the marketing slightly trickier. One of the things that the Victoria’s Secret website does is it has big pictures of girls.

When advertising a sale, they typically use the color red for the writing. Currently, there are four major pictures on the home page. The main one has a link to the “Spring Sale and Specials” and the three below are advertising the Ipex Bra, Swim 2006, and Perfume. We can see from the site that the most obvious technique used for attracting and holding consumers’ attention is the pictures. If we take a step back, it is easy to see that this website is all about women. It is tailored to be to their liking and that works for them.

It is not meant to be a website that men go to. It is easy to navigate, so it would not be a problem for men, however it is focused on the female consumers (for obvious reasons). In the case of Victoria’s Secret, since it is such a well-known brand and its stores are everywhere, its website does not suffer the same disadvantages that other smaller companies may suffer. The reason for this is because most of the website’s visitors are previous customers who know what they want and what fits them.

In terms of perfume and body care products, most of the women have already smelled all of them in stores and know what they smell like. For smaller companies, e-tailing can be much more difficult. People do not necessarily have the chance to try on what they are buying from the Internet, however most online stores allow for returns. This eases the consumers’ apprehensions about buying something online that does not fit or that they do not like. When it comes to the selling of perfume or cosmetics, companies can offer free samples that would be sent to the person inquiring.

This may be somewhat costly, however it is also a good way of reducing stress on the consumer. Foreigners visiting America are typically amazed with the bigness of everything here. Our highways are as wide as eight lanes in some places! At McDonalds in France, the large drink is 20 oz. Here in America, the smallest drink besides a children’s drink is 20 oz. The Big Gulp at 7-11 is 32 oz and it is not even the biggest. Movies like “Super-Size Me” brought to the attention of people the unhealthiness of fast food, which the average American eats a lot of each week.

Fascination with bigness is inherent in American culture. We want to be the most powerful, loudest and richest, country in the world. We always want to be on top. When you are on top you are confident and proud. SUVs today are as much of status vehicles as are sports cars. A Supercharged Range Rover will set you back $100,000, just about the same as a Mercedes SL-500 roadster or a Porsche 911. Both are symbols of status, but they are not as prominent as the Range Rover. This is a look at the higher end.

If we look somewhere in the middle at a $35,000 Yukon Denali, which is quite a large car, and compare it to a $35,000 Buick or Oldsmobile, in today’s society the Yukon is much cooler. It is much more desirable. Some people say that it is about the feeling of safeness. It is true, I would feel much safer riding in a Hummer than a Miata. There is nothing wrong with the Miata- it’s the number one selling convertible of all time. However, in the US, Miata does not scream cool. People like the substantial feeling of SUVs. General Motors was very smart about their lineup of vehicles.

The following cars are all built on the same chassis. Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon (Denali), GMC Yukon (Denali) XL, Hummer 2, Cadillac Escalade (ESV, EXT). These vehicles range in price from $29,000-$67,000. A couple of them are built on extended chassis, but the same one nonetheless. Each care caters to different needs, tastes, and wallets. However, the trend is clear- people like big cars. The success of the H2 Hummer can be attributed to this. It is a big, cool looking car. People loved the look of the H1, however it costs around $120,000.

The H2 made owning a Hummer much more possible since it costs less than half of the original Hummer. Bigger is better does seem to be a prevailing theme here in the United States. Is it big elsewhere? Maybe. However, no place compares to the US when it comes to overall bigness. Sure, there may be more sky scrappers in Hong Kong than in the state of California, however in Hong Kong the streets are smaller, apartments are smaller, food portions are smaller. Is bigger better? Tough to say. It certainly provides a feeling of comfort.

Having a big soda and knowing it won’t run out soon, having an excessively big car, having enormous meals all seem like great things. However, the truth is that SUVs waste a lot of gas and pollute more than smaller European cars, soda is very unhealthy because of its high sugar content, and the portions served in restaurants in America are, on the average, much larger than European sizes. The portions served in many places across America are for gluttons. In America, bigger is better does seem to be a sound marketing strategy for many things. Certain people will always demand huge cars and trucks.

It is important to keep that group of consumers in mind. However with things like food, people are becoming more conscious these days about the dangers of unhealthy eating and so overtime we may see packing decrease in size. My guess is that super-size bags of Doritos will be sold in stores for the next long while, but eventually we may see these mega sizes shrink as people become more environmentally and health conscious. Since it is not a trend but rather a state of mind, change happens slowly, so marketers should be able to stay on top of things.