Understanding Situation Influence


situation influence, decision process

Review the activity below or download the PDF student worksheet

Student Discussion Activity

According to the theory of situational influences, consumers will make different purchase decisions when they are in different situations.

Therefore, in this activity, your task is to match the situation to the appropriate situational factor. This particular exercise examines why a consumer would choose to shop at a more expensive convenience store over a low-cost supermarket.)

Match these Situations to the Category

Match these situations to the theoretical situational influence’s categories (listed below), which should explain why a consumer would choose to pay more at a convenience store, rather than go to a supermarket:

  • You’re in a big hurry, and just want a quick shopping experience
  • You’re feeling a bit tired and just want to get home
  • You’re just buying a couple of things (like bread and milk)
  • There’s a convenience store just up the street
  • It’s 3 in the morning and not many shops are open
  • You’re not in a good mood don’t want to bump into someone you know
  • You’re out with the kids and don’t want to take them on a ‘big’ shopping trip
  • You’re driving in a suburb you don’t know and there’s a convenience store on the highway
  • You just want to grab something easy to eat in the car
  • You’re buying some gas and your partner says he/she would like a drink

Select from Belk’s list of situational influences:

A= Antecedent

B = Task

C = Physical

D = Temporal

E = Social

Student Discussion Questions

  1. Start by matching the consumer’s situation to the category of situational influence (Belk, above).
  2. How helpful is it for retailers (in this case) to understand the concept of situational influence? (In other words, how could they use this information to their advantage? Give some examples.)
  3. Given that situational influences occur, does that negate the need to consider market segments? Is there an overlap or are they quite different concepts?

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