Ethel’s Chocolate Lounges

Ethel’s Chocolate Lounges, created by Mars Corporation in 1911 are chocolate focused cafes. Mars Corporation opened Ethel’s chocolate lounge in April 2005 entering into competition with retail outlets like Godiva and Starbucks whose sales grew by nearly 20 percent between the years 2002 to 2004. Same way coffee lovers flock to Starbucks for high priced java, sweet-toothed consumers took to premium chocolate from the newly opened Ethel’s lounges.

Describe the type of consumer buying decision that best describe the choice to indulge at Ethel’s. Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge founder Mars Corporation has made many modifications to make the chocolate lounges better. They have designed the lounges to coddle patrons in the lap of luxury and offer “approachable gourmet chocolate”. The strategies Mars Corporation takes have influence to customers that make them dine at Ethel’s Chocolate Lounges. Consumer buying decisions are affected by external influence, which among other factors comprises of the product, promotion and price, channels of distribution, culture and social class. It is a process that involves need recognition, pre-purchase search and evaluation of alternatives.

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Limited decision making of a consumer best describes the choice of a consumer to indulge at Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge. The prices at Ethel’s Chocolate Lounges are favourable which enables many people to enjoy the sweet taste of a good life. The consumer buying decision is also routine response behaviour to consumer buying frequently low priced products. Consumers are familiar with the Ethel’s products, and this makes the purchasing process easy and consumers make the decisions easily. The products offered at Ethel’s range from chocolates, hot and cold beverages convince visitors to stay longer at the Chocolates Lounge.

The product offered at Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge gives same experience to the consumer. Chocolate’s contents are featured in Ethel’s menu. Ethel’s approach this by featuring icons and additional descriptions of the chocolates in their menu. The strategy assists a consumer who is unfamiliar with that choice of chocolate and prevents a consumer from experiencing unwanted surprise that would be unfavourable. Another factor determining consumer buying decision is the consumer’s interest.

Consumers develop a genuine interest in the various chocolates available at Ethel’s as well as the relaxing atmosphere offered. The choice to indulge at Ethel’s is also influenced by promotion and advertising. The description of Ethel’s as “a place of chocolate and chitchat” and a sign behind the counter that reads “chocolate is the new black” promotes Ethel’s and attacts visitors. Prices at Ethel’s positively influence the consumer. Not only the rich can enjoy the products at Ethel’s but the favourable prices and offers welcome different lower class people.

Social class is also a strategy employed at Ethel’s to positively influence the consumer. The products differ in prices and there is a luxurious lounge for the rich. The well designed pink couches with traditional looks give the stores a classy look. Ethel’s Chocolate Lounges are located at Lincoln Park near Chicago, as well as in towns. The consumers may indulge at Ethel’s when they have guests in town and may want to impress them with the hip and classy feel of Ethel’s.

Discuss the factors that influence a consumer to spend money and time at Ethel’s. Social, individual and psychological factors influence a consumer to spend more money and time at Ethel’s. Social factors are those that influence social class. Ethel’s has products and services offered to different people classes. The approachable gourmet chocolate defines the product for the lower class while the truffles served on a silver platter define products for the high class.

The luxurious feel at Ethel’s would influence a consumer to spend time and money at the chocolate lounge.An individual may desire relaxing atmosphere in a town. Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge provides a classy feel from its chocolates, hot and cold beverages and pink couches with traditional looks. The atmosphere is serene and calm and the consumers enjoy the sweet taste of the good life. Ethel’s truffles, gourmet chocolate and other products with descriptions of the contents making them offer the consumers with a wide range of quality products to spend money at Ethel’s.

Ethel’s has a reputation that motivates consumers to spend time and money. “Theory of planned behaviour assumes that people’s intentions and actions are guided by their beliefs about buying a product, not by objective attributes of a product” (Haugtvedt, Herr, Kardes, 2008). Mars Corporation has modified Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge since its establishment in 1911 and this has built a continued reputation to the chocolate consumers. Curiosity is a psychological factor that influences the consumer. The urge to taste the new products and the desire to enjoy the luxury ambience at the classy chocolate lounges may results to a consumer spending money and time at Ethel’s.

New chocolate products with menus that feature icons and descriptions of the contents may be a force that draws a consumer to taste the new product. Which factor will motivate the consumer the most? Mars Corporation should strategise on increasing the varieties and ranges of available products especially the chocolates in order to attract psychologically the consumer’s curiosity into testing the new products. More outlets maintaining the classy feel should be established and widespread to provide the consumer with choice of indulging to Ethel’s. Promotion and advertising strategies will help in building stronger reputation and consumer loyalty. Determine what needs the Ethel’s experience to appeal to most. Human needs ranges from physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization according to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Needs for sustaining life such as food are categorized as physiological needs while safety needs involve the process where people long for stable and predictable life. Social need is where people overcome the feeling of loneliness through love, communicating and making friends. Self esteem results to a person feeling worth and valued. Highest human need is self-actualization where an inner being of the person finds his purpose and call. The needs hierarchy offers a framework useful for developing strategies in marketing.

Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge has a strategy focused on the social aspect of need. This can be viewed where a consumer joins the “crowd”. Spending time and money at Ethel’s brings a sense of belonging that fulfils the social need. Visiting Ethel’s with a guest brings a sense of friendship and effects communication. This enables a consumer to overcome loneliness, which is an aspect of social need fulfilment. The esteem need addresses the consumer’s worthiness and value.

The consumers visiting the class chocolate lounge satisfy their needs and feel appreciated. “In today’s society, satisfying consumer needs has less to do with the practical meeting of physical needs and everything to do with gratifying desires based upon emotions” (Danziger, 2004). Ethel’s experience appeal to the esteem need due to its luxurious atmosphere and classy feel. Conclusion Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge experience determines the type of consumer buying decision that describes the choice to indulge or not to indulge to Ethel’s. The factors that influence consumers to spend time and money at Ethel’s were also discussed.

The hierarchy of needs has been described as a useful framework in determining market strategies. Price of the product influences the consumer buying power as indicated by the Ethel’s experience.