Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Most Customers Don’t Know What

Sheena Iyengar, psychologist and author of the recently released book on consumer behaviour, The Art of Choosing, tells Forbes India that too much variety in products overwhelms buyers

Professor of Business, Columbia Business School Education: Ph.D. in Social Psychology, Stanford University; B.A. in Psychology, University of Pennsylvania; B.S. in Economics, Wharton School of Business
Book: The Art of Choosing, Little, Brown
Interests: Travelling, cooking, jazz, chocolate shopping in New York

How does culture and context affect consumer choice in India?
What’s interesting about the choosing experience of Indians from, say Americans, is they’ve built into their culture more norms and rules about how to choose and what to choose. For example, say you want to go buy clothes. In the US, when you try to figure out what you’re going to wear, you have to know what piece of clothing is the best expression of who you are and what you want. In India, that’s somewhat mitigated and measured by having to take into consideration what is appropriate and what is inappropriate.

How challenging is it to navigate the rules? 
If an American, European or Japanese marketer goes into India, they need Indians on the ground to help them. It’s one thing to understand Indian culture as a whole; you can get some sense of it by watching Hindi movies. It will tell you what are some of the questions you might ask but it won’t tell you all that you want.

Full interview here Forbes India

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