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Over the last 60 years, many theoretical and empirical studies have been analyzed to identify and evaluate decision-making characteristics that consumers apply in addition to brand characteristics. Such as experience, expert opinions and reputation etc. Shaping consumers' behaviour related to fashion is intricate with the decision-making process made complicated by the overload of product/brand information and image. Subliminal marketing places enormous amounts of information upon consumers to affect the decision-making process, by way of television and radio advertisements, social media popups, celebrity endorsements/brand ambassadors, etc. These marketing methods highly influence consumers' brand awareness, e.g. brand image, brand equity, etc., hence building an association with such brands/products. Further reviews illustrate that important aspects of the consumers’ decision-making process relate to the custom of intrinsic and extrinsic cues to form opinions about the quality of products. Intrinsic cues relate to any physical characteristic of the product itself (Ting, 2012). These can only be evaluated once purchased, for example, the quality or performance of a product. Whereby, extrinsic cues relate to all physical characteristics, not directly connected to the product itself, for example, the brand, price, and the influence and reputation of the retailer as well as the COO, etc. (Langan et al., 2017). Verlegh and Steenkamp (1999) argue that although extrinsic cues do not influence a product's performance, it shapes consumers' opinions about the quality of products. Especially through the product image and those less known to them produced in foreign countries. Furthermore, the cognitive influence of the COO as an extrinsic cue effect does shape consumers' beliefs about quality (Steenkamp, J.B.E, 1990). The price aspect is an important factor because, with limited product knowledge, consumers form beliefs on the price/quality relationship reliance depiction of a lower price, lower quality products and vice versa. The perceived relationship between the COO and a product is widely connected to the consumer’s image of such country and their evaluation of such product (Broniarczyk and Alba 1994). Subsequently, consumers with strong self-confidence build strong opinions towards products, which in effect are hard to deter, thus, on the other hand, consumers with a lack of knowledge and self-confidence cannot be relied upon to correctly interpret intrinsic cues in the decision-making process. Further studies show that cognitive behaviour builds on this theory and influences the decision-making process of consumers when personal experience, exposure and/or psychic closeness with a particular country of origin exists, such as the image of the country (Urbonavicius et al., 2011). However, Fernández-Ferrín et al. (2018) argued and stated that the ethnocentric beliefs toward the consumption of international products may vary according to different regions. Figure 1 also elaborates that the consumers are now more interested in buying the products which are customized to their needs regardless of their beliefs.
Karoui and Khemakhem (2019) stated that the government of the countries can play a vital role in improving the revenues of the international companies. Mostafa, Al-Mutawa and Al-Hamdi (2019) agreed and stated that huge advertising campaigns promoting the local products can be limited to provide a chance for the international items.
As per the contribution of Klasić (2019), Hawkins-Stern impulse theory made the impulse behaviour responsible for the buying behaviour of a consumer. The theory suggested that there are four impulses the impulse buying is of four kinds:
As per the study by Vojvodić, Šošić and Žugić (2018), this type of impulse buying states that consumers often purchase items based on pure impulses. The purchased item in this type of buying is not in the mind of the buyer, however, certain aspects of the product attract the customer and render him/her into buying the product (Vojvodić, Šošić and Žugić, 2018). As per Kumar (2020), Swiss products are often attractive and customers tend to buy them on pure impulses.
Further stated by Vojvodić, Šošić and Žugić (2018), such type of impulse behaviour occurs when a buyer notices a product and is reminded of the experience the product provided to him/her or got prior knowledge about the from a friend or family. The buyer ends up purchasing such products based on the remainder of impulse buying (Vojvodić, Šošić and Žugić, 2018). Similarly stated by Kumar (2020), when individuals notice a swill label in the market, they are often reminded of the satisfaction it gave to their peers thus they tend to buy Swiss items under reminder impulse buying.
Similarly, as added by Vojvodić, Šošić and Žugić (2018), this type of impulse is generated through marketing and advertising of the product. When individuals see such products on television, on social media, or any other medium, they get an impulse to buy the product as it offers something that can help them immensely (Vojvodić, Šošić and Žugić, 2018). As explained by Kumar (2020), Swiss products advertising on television, social media, websites, and other platforms tend to create suggested impulse buying in the viewers.
To further contributions by Vojvodić, Šošić and Žugić (2018), this kind of impulse occurs when an individual needs a product but is unsure which brand to purchase. Consumers generally purchase those products that give them added value. The value is often monetary such as low prices, extra quantity, and more (Vojvodić, Šošić and Žugić, 2018). However, as per Kumar (2020), the Swiss label is not purchased through planned impulse buying as the value it offers is not based on financial savings but on satisfaction because of the quality it offers.
According to the study by Klasić (2019), the theory of reasoned action is based on explaining that an individual takes reasonable decisions. As per the theory, an individual takes an action fully knowing what to expect from the results. Further explained by Otieno et al. (2016), from the perspective of consumer behaviour, the theory states that a consumer makes his/her purchasing behaviour rationally. As per this theory, the consumer's decision to buy a product is based on what he/she expects the product will provide him/her (Otieno, 2016). As agreed by Paul, Modi and Patel (2016), the theory suggests that a consumer’s intentions are the major factors that influence his/her decision to buy a product. A consumer willingly and readily under his/her influence engages in buying the product (Paul, Modi and Patel, 2016). From the perspective of the Swill label, the consumers intentionally purchase Swiss items knowing what the product costs and what it will offer to them.
Pharr (2005) for example, was able to present a holistic model of COO, which explains holistic brand theory by way of considering a brand image to moderate the effect of the COO in regards to the perceived quality of a product. More influences considered are how consumers perceive product-related COO beliefs in a holistic method, for example, the image of the country (Pharr, 2005). However, there is also evidence against the theory of this model, which suggests that consumers’ behaviour and perception in the fashion industry have changed, not only considering the COO but also in the country of the brand. The strong extrinsic cues and brand trust affect the decision-making process whereby consumers consider the country of the brand rather than the COO where the products are produced (Haefner et al., 2011). Furthermore, Magnusson et al., (2014) argue that there is insufficient evidence and research to support the decision-making part COO plays in the product decision-making process of consumers. Their conceptual framework using experimental methods acknowledges consumers` bias and that “product-level beliefs affect country-level beliefs” (Magnusson et al., 2014) Bias toward products from developed countries negatively impacts products from less developed countries when judged from a low COO image (Kotler and Gertner, 2002). Watson and Wright (2000) state that consumers from less developed countries place developed countries' products above those products in their own country. Steenkamp (1990) adds, that the country image of the COO is personal to the consumer and formed based on their prior knowledge, exposure and disposition towards that particular country. Hence, COO images are stereotyped regardless of the quality of products (Wasswa, 2017). However, Kaynak et al., (2000) argue that the moral opinion of less developed COO influences consumer purchase behaviour and the decision-making process on whether or not to purchase clothing products from specific countries linked to child labour or fair trade etc. Therefore, consumers' purchase behaviours and decision-making cues vary and are not only linked to the COO and country image but other environmental factors and personal beliefs are considered.
Viable improvements in research according to Shamim, Panhwar and Iftikhar (2019) have been observed in the last twenty-five years for the comprehension of the concept of human behaviour concerning its activity of consumption. Similarly, Mandel et al. (2017) stated that the information and comprehension of the behaviour of the consumers have become both enterprising a compulsory activities on institutional levels. However, Jung et al.(2018) argued and stated that this acceptance is have not been a wilful step, he further added that firms have understood that since purchasers have adapted to an increasingly demanding role and therefore changed their mentalities. Just and Byrne (2020) stated that at present, there is a wide variety of literature based on consumer behaviour such as (Floren, Rasul and Gani, 2019; Funk et al., 2016; Ulph, Panzone and Hilton, 2017) and it has become a subject generally recognised and discussed. According to Wolske and Stern (2018), the behaviour of the consumer is a psychology of a person which affects buying a product or a service or anything else. Trinh, Romaniuk and Tanusondjaja (2016) stated, that the conduct of any buyer relies upon numerous variables which are significant for any advertising supervisory group in any business or any association which bargains in legitimately to customers. Shao, Taisch and Mier (2017) agreed and defined consumer behaviour as it is the process of assembling information which considers different parts of the consumption of the product by a person. Hartmann and Siegrist (2017) also agreed and stated that the exploration of shopper’s behaviour is the approach used to contemplate the behaviour of the buyer at each period of the consumption procedure which is before the consumption, during the consumption, and after the consumption.
According to Bekoglu, Ergen and Inci (2016) the buyer consumption model fortifies the way that the choice of consumption may not be the result of a promotion or any marketing done by the brand of the product, but instead self-identification of a need. Liu and Mattila (2017) agreed and stated that while this decision might be triggered by an advertisement, it is not right to imagine that all such choices will start along these lines. Whereas Esposito (2019) stated that self-identifying the need is an extensive process and can be influenced by the bias of the consumer which affects the decision of purchase.
When the need has been distinguished, shoppers move on the quest for data to know more about the available products (Bilgihan, Kandampully, and Zhang, 2016). This might be a clear procedure when considering occasions in which the consumer has seen a promotion or asked others. According to Park and Lee (2017), few customers go over the arrangement through different channels, yet as this conduct is less unsurprising, it is increasingly reasonable to concentrate on the search.
With the SEO race more serious now, the companies use the previously used deals and visitation patterns of consumers to the product pages and sites to attract their attention (Elberg et al., 2019). According to Kamboj and Rahman (2017), the instructive segment on a company’s site portraying how the item or the service is utilized and its advantages are considered to be a short-sighted method for influencing consumer behavior. However, Mahmood and Sismeiro (2017) argued and stated that consumers are more likely observed to consume products from such sites.
When the data of the product has been searched the consumers start the pre-buying assessment (Faulds et al., 2018). Wang et al. (2018) agreed and stated that this may be done through perusing item audits, contrasting with different items, or considering individual factors, for example, cost. According to Soni and Verghese (2018), today it is enticing to provide various choices for buyers. However, Abou-Shouk and Khalifa (2017) argued that there is a need to understand that an excess of decisions can discourage a purchaser from buying a product.
The consumption stage is the one that most intently identifies the consumption decision model, with the sole activity simply being the consumption (Barnes and Mattsson, 2016). Similarly, as with the pre-consumption stage, this considers the components that carried the client to this point. Van Weelden, Mugge, and Bakker (2016) agreed and stated that there is a need that it also applies a seamless transaction to complete the process of consumption.
According to Xu and Chen (2017), the post-shopping assessment will decide if a shopper chooses to purchase from the company later on. While a lot of this choice may lie with the exhibition of the item itself, the job of the post-assessment of the product must not be considered insignificant (Kumar, Vohra, and Dangi, 2017). Offering help with an item is one of the most proficient methods to positively influence the consumer’s behavior which affects the buyer’s decision on future purchases (Filieri et al., 2018).
Zalega (2017) stated that ethnocentric beliefs entered the field of business when they had been proposed to be one of the potential factors that can impact and consumer’s decision. Han and Guo (2018) agreed and added that it has been since considered a human characteristic that can impact purchaser decisions in differing buying circumstances. Zeren, Kara, and Arango (2020) defined ethnocentric beliefs as one of the variables that can influence the buyer's choice of whether to purchase an item be it domestically or internationally produced. Likewise, Le et al. (2017) elaborated on this concept as a variable that straightforwardly impacts the customer's eagerness to buy foreign items. Jiménez-Guerrero, Pérez-Mesa, and Galdeano-Gómez (2020) however argued and stated, that purchaser ethnocentric beliefs demonstrates a general tendency of purchasers to evade every single imported item regardless of cost or quality contemplations because of nationalistic reasons. Due to this explanation, the idea of ethnocentrism is unmistakably significant in global promotion and is a potential obstacle for organizations expecting to infiltrate international markets. Piligrimienė and Kazakauskiene (2016) stated that the concept of ethnocentric beliefs is viewed as one of the radical hindrances restricting globalization. According to Qing, Lobo, and Chongguang (2012), ethnocentrism is an inescapable phenomenon in exceptionally industrialized nations. Studies conducted on this concept such as (Watson and Wright, 2000; Torres and Gutiérrez, 2007; Karoui and Khemakhem, 2019) normally show that ethnocentric purchasers pick domestic items over foreign ones (Pasrija and Bhattacharjee, 2019). Generally, the beliefs of ethnocentrism speak to the widespread liking for individuals to see their environment as the focal point of the universe and to decipher other social units from the viewpoint of their gathering. Such people dismiss others who are socially unique while aimlessly tolerating the individuals who are socially parallel to themselves. Ethnocentric belief is characterized as the opinions held by buyers about the suitability and the ethical quality of products made internationally.
Zhang (1997) argues that the ethnic background of consumers influences attitudes and behaviors in the decision-making process of foreign products. However, further research from Piron (2002) discarded this theory, stating that there was no evidence that ethnic background or race impacts consumer ethnicism. (Javalgi, et al., 2005) found that more educated consumers, in higher income brackets and social classes, are less inclined to have ethnic tendencies and prejudices. With the option of worldwide travel, they are open to foreign markets and products (Samiee et al., 2005). Hence, the social class influences the values and beliefs of consumers, which impact the purchase decision-making process when purchasing domestic and foreign products. Coleman (1983) claims that higher social class consumers are more inclined to purchase brand products directly associated with their social class. Shimp and Sharma (1987) agree that ethnocentric tendencies tend to be seen in working-class consumers with lower income but this diminishes the higher the consumer climbs the social ladder. However, again further studies purport this to be inaccurate and disregard the relationship between higher earners and consumer ethnicism (Han and Terpstra, 1988). That said, the Caruana (1996) study showed no evidence of class differences in consumers’ ethnocentrism.
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The Halo effect model identifies that a country`s image affects consumers' decision-making process in the quality and performance evaluation of products. Thus, state that the COO is not solely a cognitive cue for the reason it directly affects the decision-making process of consumers (Bloemer et al., 2009). However, this model is weak for it is purely reliant on the consumer's product perception, based on the country's image and doesn’t consider whether there is prior product information or brand knowledge from such country (Xu, 2010) as opposed to the summary effect whereby consumers are aware of the COO and product to form their country image and perceptions through their knowledge and experience with the product (Bloemer et al., 2009) García-de-Frutos and Ortega-Egea, (2015) emphasise the importance of COO in the cognitive decision-making process depending on the disposition of the consumer towards specific products/brands concerning geographical backgrounds country association and beliefs. Moreover, such associations and beliefs may lead to COO bias. For example, a British born Indian consumer may favour Indian silk over Chinese silk, due to the association or attachment with the country and not necessarily because of the quality of the silk. Therefore, consumer attitude toward a specific country shapes their opinion (Obermiller and Spangenberg, 1989) especially if the country maintains a symbolic and emotional connection with the consumer (Steenkamp, 1990). The COO image influences the consumer’s quality perception and positively or negatively affects the decision-making process, dependent on the value bias of the consumer (Maher and Carter, 2011). For example, in the fashion industry, clothing brands are perceived as more prestigious, and therefore carry more status when connected to high-quality fashion orientated countries, such as France and Italy. Audita and Marck (2017) claim that such a purchase decision is based on pride in owning such prestigious products from the specific fashion labelled countries. This indicates that the purchase behaviour of consumers towards the COO image directly influences the decision-making process.
There are mixed findings on gender-specific segmentation of consumer ethnocentrism (Han and Terpstra, 1988). Good and Huddleston (1995) imply that women have a greater level of ethnocentric tendencies because they are more patriotic, hence less likely to purchase foreign products. Han and Terpstra (1988) support this notion by stating that women are perceived to be more ethnocentric because they are seen to be more conservative. Though, studies by (Caruana 1996) discard this notion, since no gender differences were apparent. However, Bannister and Saunders (1978) state that their findings purport men to be more ethnocentric. This is an area that requires more research.
The organisational and product innovation of developing countries allows for mass-produced products and lower labour costs (Yang et al, 2015). Clothing products produced in such developing countries, significantly reduce costs due to the engagement of low-cost manufacturers (Bulut, and Lane, (2011). Products are then packaged and distributed from a European country, such as Germany and consequently labelled `Made in Germany`, with the prestige of German products/brands. For example, the well-known German brands PUMA and Adidas, have been strong sportswear and shoe brands since the two German brothers Rudi and Adi Dassler separated their joint company Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik and set up into competition. Both companies have their registered brands and headquarters in Bavaria, Germany but manufacture products in Latin America, Greater China and Asia, among others (Hoover, 2020). Installing production innovation of mass-produced products and lower labour costs (Yang et al, 2015). However, both companies distribute products to over 120 countries worldwide, with the prestige of German-made brands. Driving the consumer COO quality judgement on brand rather than product (Miranda, 2017). The EU regulations state that only 60% of the product production needs to take place in the COO to be labelled accordingly. USA labelling differs to allow consumers to make presumptions on the quality and value of the products. Globalisation allows clothing manufacturers to source raw materials from several countries making it difficult to identify one COO (Wasswa, 2017). Therefore, where the COO and country of production are not the same, compels consumers to base their cognitive purchase decision on the brand image. That said, the perceived decision-making process of fashion products, brands and country of purchase is personal and differs due to consumers' nationality, age, gender, status and lifestyle even when evaluating the same product (Balabanis and Diamantopoulos, 2004).
On the other hand, Shimp et at., (2005) highlight that patriotic consumers with a high level of ethnocentrism only support their own country and where possible avoid purchasing foreign products. These consumers are proud of products developed in their own country and hold them in higher regard than those from foreign countries, irrespective of products superiority and consider the added benefit of contributing to their economy (Shimp et al., 2005) That said, they are not hostile to other countries and patriotism should not be mistaken for nationalism, whereby the belief is that their country and products are superior to those of other countries (Balabanis and Diamantopoulos, 2008) Therefore, remaining judgemental about products from countries which differ to their own (Zhang, 1997) which may cause objects of contempt to foreign products (Manzoor and Shaikh, 2016). Schiffman and Kanuk (2012) analysed the COO effect and consumer ethnocentrism and how both these factors impact consumers' behaviour and the decision-making process. Products with “Made in” labels, specifying the COO, permit consumers to make purchasing decisions based on the specified country. Furthermore, Nagashima 1977 states that products from France etc., are seen as prestige and luxurious. French consumers with strong ethnocentric beliefs about their own country would be willing to pay more for `Made in France` labelled products due to national pride and patriotism. Chao (1998) also remarks that this belief is predominately a favourable disposition of consumers from more developed countries.
As per Swiss Label (2020b), the Swill label is the national marketing strategy of Switzerland, the country aims to develop itself as an industrial hub. Further elaborated by Swiss Label (2020a), the swill label is aimed to support the Swiss economy by leading in different product categories at home and abroad. The Swiss label is defined by the quality of the products and services it provides (Swiss Label, 2020a). As explained by Schweizer Jass (2020), the main selling point of Swiss labels is the quality of Swiss products. Swiss products are of high quality and design and are aimed to attract customers as well as last for a long period (Schweizer Jass, 2020). According to Först (2020), for the purpose to make Switzerland an industrial hub, the Swiss business Hub is developed across different countries to make people aware of Swiss quality and further enhance the profits of Swiss products. Further explained by FDFA (2020), the Swiss business hubs are operated under the support of the Swiss government and are aimed to support different SMEs of Switzerland in exporting their products beyond Switzerland and in expanding their businesses in the international market.
Abegg (2018) states that the products made under the Swiss label enjoy the reputation of being quality products across the world. Consumers of different countries have an overwhelming perception of Swiss products being expensive but of high quality which cancels out the expense factor (Abegg, 2018). Agreed to Allen (2008), Switzerland has been reputable for its quality watches, efficient banks, and luxurious hotels throughout the markets it entered. However, it is argued that their products are not innovative and lack in the IT field (Allen, 2008). As per the study by Sullivan (2020), it has been identified that a brand label can be used to create a positive perception in the mind of consumers. Agreed to Kim, Lloyd and Cervellon (2016), a brand label tends to portray quality which is the essential selling point of the product or service. Consumers purchase Swiss products for a similar factor, they perceive Swiss products to be of high quality. Another reason the consumers purchase Swiss products or any other high-end brand as explained by Yeh, Wand and Yieh (2016) is due to the increase in value they receive by consuming such high-end high-quality products.
Numerous studies on consumer behaviour such as those (De Mooij, 2019; Gkaintatzis et al., 2019; Mandel et al., 2017) have been initiated in the past to identify the need of understanding consumer behaviour in different industries. However, a lack of understanding of the role of consumer behaviour has been observed in the clothing industry. According to Koszewska (2016), consumers’ behaviour towards apparel shopping has a significant and positive influence on their willingness to pay a premium for products. This identifies the significance of the role of consumer behaviour in the clothing industry and also prominent the need of understanding the methods to influence consumer decisions regarding the purchase of premium labelled products which are not yet met. This study aims to meet this need and provide a better understanding of the role of consumer behaviour in the decision of consumption of exceptional products such as Swiss labelled outdoor wear
The decision-making process that enables consumers into buying Swiss items is influenced by many factors of consumer behaviour. The decision-making process of Swiss products begins with the identification of the need that the consumer wants to fulfil. The consumer then gathers information regarding the Swiss products that he/she requires. The consumer then purchases the Swiss product after assessing the market regarding the product. After the product is purchased, the consumer evaluates the experience he/she received from the Swiss labelled product. Among the many factors that influence the decision-making products, one such factor can be identified as the country’s image. Swiss people are attracted to their country thus they purchase products that support the economy of their country. The ethnocentric beliefs of Swiss people play a factor in influencing their decisions. Over the world, Swiss products are valued for their quality thus products having Swiss labels also play a factor in influencing consumer behaviour. From the theoretical view, the purchasing of Swiss labelled products can be explained by using the Hawkins-Stern impulse theory and the theory of reasoned action. As per Haskins-Stern, the buying decision of a consumer is based on his/her different impulses, thus different typed of impulses such as pure, reminder, suggested, and planned. However, the theory of reasoned action explains that the decision of purchasing a Swiss labelled product is rational and as per the will of the consumer.
The Swiss label has been established over the world, the selling point of these products is the quality it possesses and the value it adds to the consumer. The Swiss government aims to make itself the industrial hub and thus has created Swiss business hubs in several countries. With these business hubs, the Swiss government supports its SMEs in exporting their products and expanding to different countries.
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