The Effect of Noise of Eco-friendly Packaging on Purchase Intention
Ilana Deigh, Madison McCoy, Carlos Sosa, Richelle Holnick, Jordan Vernon
The purpose of this research is to gain a better understanding on the significance of loud versus quiet eco-friendly chip bags to consumers who are either environmentally conscious or not environmentally conscious. The research objectives of this study were to identify whether the noise level of eco-friendly chip bags, a noticeable disadvantage to the product’s packaging, affects the consumer’s intention to purchase and whether environmentally conscious versus not environmentally conscious consumers’ preferences vary in purchase decision-making. This research will give marketers and sales professionals the information needed to make decisions about campaign and strategies including how to reach the largest audience; how to increase the market interested in eco-friendly products; and how to communicate the benefits of an eco-friendly product to a consumer who is loyal to a certain brand or type of chips.
The first question of the survey showed that 28 out of 57 respondents identified as not eco-friendly consumers, while the remaining 29 identifying as eco-friendly. 28.1% of the sample identified eco-friendly packaging as having a green color. 70.2% of respondents said that they identify eco-friendly products by specific eco-friendly labels and icons. From the survey group that does not mention noise level of chip bags, only 1 out of 27 respondents identified noise level of bag as an attribute they consider when making a purchase. From the survey group that does mention noise level of chip bags, 6 out of 30 respondents identified noise level of bag as an attribute they consider when making a purchase. Out of those respondents that do consider price when it comes to a purchase decision, they also were found to consider bag material, color and design, message and blurbs written on the bag, and noise when making purchase decisions. Respondents were asked that if they become embarrassed about the noise level of their chip bag; from the survey that did not mention noise in the beginning scenario, 66.7% said they would be embarrassed, and from the respondents with the survey that did mention noise in the beginning scenario, 70% said that they would be embarrassed. The sample group that did not have a noisy bag of chips in their scenario resulted in 81.5% that said the noise would not dissuade them from purchasing the eco-friendly bag of chips, while 86.7% of the sample group with a noisy bag scenario would not be dissuaded.
According to the data, consumers do not consider the noise level of a chip bag when making a purchase; however, a high noise level of their chip bag is an attribute that consumers consider to be embarrassing while consuming the chips. This may lead to a lower amount of repeat customers who consider noise more each time they make purchasing decisions, resulting in them not wanting to purchase eco-friendly chip bags with a high noise level in the future.
Eco-friendly products do not have a lot of word-of-mouth advertising. According to the data findings, customers do not receive recommendations for identifying, purchasing, or making decisions about buying eco-friendly products. As a manager, this research can be taken and used to better produce and market eco-friendly chip products. Quiet bags is an attribute that consumers value; therefore, if an eco-friendly bag can be developed to be quiet, this should be emphasized in the advertising of said chip bag. Marketers can use the information gained from this research to create marketing materials that inform consumers about the benefits, qualities, and utility of eco-friendly products.
The research that was conducted is aimed at better understanding consumers’ purchase behavior of eco-friendly chip bags. This research will help in gaining a better understanding of the significance of loud versus quiet eco-friendly chip bags to consumers who are both environmentally conscious and not environmentally conscious. Furthermore, it will help to identify whether the noise level of eco-friendly chip bags, a noticeable disadvantage to the product’s packaging, affects the consumer’s intention to purchase. The significance of this study depends on consumer preference and whether environmentally conscious versus not environmentally conscious consumers’ preferences vary in purchase decision-making.
The research objective is to identify whether there is a significant connection between noise level of eco-friendly chip bags and the consumer’s intention to purchase, as well as to expand the theoretical basis predicting purchase intentions. Eco-friendliness is an important, long-term trend in products and brand identities. This study allows us to analyze what variables drive and or prevent the purchasing of eco-friendly products across different consumer groups. The research team’s aim is to conduct a study where the variable being studied is noise level of eco-friendly chip bags, which will enable the understanding of the importance of attributes that may be deemed as unpleasant by consumers, even if both the packaging and the consumer are eco-friendly.
For this research, two hypotheses have been identified. The first one is that environmentally conscious consumers will buy eco-friendly chip bags if the bag is noisy. The second is that non-environmentally conscious consumers will buy eco-friendly chip bags if the bag is noisy.
This research idea was inspired by an incident with Sun Chips after they introduced biodegradable bags in which people protested, “that the bags [were] unduly loud when opened, wrinkled or crushed” which caused chip sales (only the sales of the new eco-friendly bagged chips) to decline (Vronica, 2010). The overall objective of this research is to identify whether the noise level of eco-friendly chip bags affects the consumer’s intention to purchase.
One study found that, “[p]purchase intentions for green product and process strategies are significantly higher than non-green approaches” (Borin, 2013). However, another study which analyzed what drives and prevents the purchasing of eco-friendly products across different consumer groups yielded that:
Altruistic motives are more important for green than for non-green consumers. Negative egocentric motives affect the purchase intentions of non-green consumers more than the intentions of green consumers, whereas the impact of negative motives on behavior is stronger for green than for non-green consumers (Barbarossa, et al., 2016).
Notable brands, such as McDonalds and Dell, have taken initiatives by changing their packaging materials to more eco-friendly materials, which “have influenced the change of attitude of the consumer toward purchase decision and selection of particular brands (Han et al., 2009)” (Prakash & Pathak, 2017). This study on young consumers in India suggests that the rising awareness toward the importance of sustainability is a motivating factor in purchase decision-making, and describes “packaging as a vehicle for communication affect[ing] the popularity of brands (Sheth, 2011)” (Prakash & Pathak, 2017).
Conceptual Model and Hypothesis
Independent Variables: whether the consumer is environmentally conscious or not; the noise level of eco-friendly chip bags (noisy vs. quiet)
Constructs measured: environmental consciousness; noise level
Dependent Variables: the consumer’s intention to purchase
Ho1: Environmentally conscious consumers buy eco-friendly packaged chips if the bag is noisy
Ha1: Environmentally conscious consumers do not buy eco-friendly packaged chips if the bag is noisy
Ho2: Non-environmentally conscious consumers buy eco-friendly packaged chips if the bag is noisy
Ha2: Non-environmentally conscious consumers do not buy eco-friendly packaged chips if the bag is noisy
For this research project, a collection of primary data was gathered through individual surveying of the sample population in an experimental design. The data was quantifiable and was used to investigate trends and relationships between factors that can help marketers make decisions. The data was collected via surveys that have questions about hypothetical purchasing decisions, current preferences, and ratings of product characteristics. This data gave insight into consumer’s preferences and purchase intentions regarding eco-friendly products. The target population consisted of consumers between the ages of 18 and 23. Using the convenience sampling method, 60 individuals were surveyed.
The survey had two different versions: a noisy scenario survey and a not noisy scenario survey. One survey version had a scenario in which it is explicitly stated that the eco-friendly product, a bag of chips, is significantly noisier than the non-eco-friendly bag of chips due to it’s biodegradable packaging. The other scenario did not include this information. Respondents only saw one scenario and was not aware of the other version. The purpose of handing out two different surveys was to measure if they consider noise when buying chips, which was emphasized in some of the questions. By having the individuals complete the questionnaire and with the use of the quantitative research method, marketers can gain a better understanding on consumers’ intent to purchase eco-friendly products.
The sample group came from the University of Mary Washington campus. The participants were only allowed to be current students of the university to keep within the consumer age stated above. The sample was based on convenience in high traffic locations on campus. All the surveys were distributed within the span of a week (between October 31st to November 7th).
Sampling a university guaranteed the age and general demographic market was met. The sample’s age was picked because it was convenient and there is a strong likelihood that the sample had purchasing power in their households, especially if they lived on campus. The surveys were distributed in person and on paper minimizing the effects of distraction, miscommunications, and misinterpretations. There was direct communication between the survey conductor and the sample, so all questions could be answered on the spot.
A disadvantage of the sampling method was that the population size was not large enough to see how significant some trends really are in the whole population. If there was a larger sample size, the researchers could have obtained more accurate results on the topic. The researchers could have gained more respondents using a digital survey. Digital surveys don’t allow respondents to ask questions since it can be accessed anywhere, but the results might have been more significant. It also is more time consuming to hand out physical copies of the survey as well as the time interpreting the results for each survey. Another disadvantage is that one of the topics being discussed was eco-friendliness so having paper copies of surveys is not ideal regarding the topic.
The survey included questions with likert scales rating the importance of specific items, yes or no questions about preferences and behavior, and multiple choice lists with scales. Some topics including price and noise were asked in different ways with multiple answer types. The survey was laid out this way to get a better understanding of the respondents, to test the validity of the answers, and to be able to run multiple types of tests.
After the data was collected, the researchers conducted an initial investigation of the raw data. While investigating, the researchers deleted any data that was repeated or answered incorrectly. This review also enabled the researchers to identify any potential risks of respondent error. Some of these included intentional errors including nonresponse and falsehoods. Some of these included the same answer for the whole survey or no answer at all. The researchers attempted to reduce the amount of unintentional respondent error by making the questions as clear and concise as possible.
To analyze the data, researchers used SPSS, a data crunching software that runs tests, creates charts, and finds significance between data points. This was accomplished by running univariate, one sample t test, paired sample t test, one way ANOVA, and independent sample t test. The researchers provided conclusions, recommendations, and discussion points based on the results of the SPSS tests.
Data Analysis and Results
Eco-Friendliness and Noise
The results of the Univariate test show that eco-friendliness and noise level do not affect the customer’s intention to purchase a bag of chips; there is no relationship between eco-friendliness and noise level with purchase intention. This means that customers do not consider noise when purchasing eco-friendly products. Other research problems give insight into what customers do consider and how they identify eco-friendly products.
Importance of Eco-Friendliness
The researchers wanted to know how important consumers thought eco-friendly packaging was while making food purchases. This gave them insight for how much of their sample was inclined to purchase eco-friendly products. To further analyze those who considered themselves to be eco-friendly shoppers, the individuals who identified as eco-friendly consumers were asked to mark how important eco-friendliness was in their decision making and product purchases. Based on these rankings, consumer behavior and preferences was able to be measured.
Eco-Friendliness of Respondents
Out of 57 respondents, 28 said that they did not consider themselves to be eco-friendly consumers. The other 29 kept eco-friendly packaging in mind while purchasing. The average rank of importance of eco-friendliness in making product purchase decisions was a five on a scale from one (very unimportant) to seven (very important). This is showing that there is a statistically significant difference, therefore the respondents consider eco-friendliness in making product purchase decisions.
It was also discovered that only 54% of the sample thought that eco-friendliness made products more valuable. Marketers could use this to make more informative marketing materials that educate customers about eco-friendly benefits and product details. If customers believe that eco-friendly packaging adds more value to a product, companies can charge more for those products allowing for more money to be spent on research and development. WIthout the added value, however, similarly priced items that aren’t eco-friendly will be primary competitors, rather than other eco-friendly products in the same price range.
Identifying Eco-Friendly Products in Stores
The respondents were asked how they identify eco-friendly products on a store’s shelves. This question was asked because marketers would be able to use this data to more effectively promote the eco-friendly characteristics of a product in a way that consumers quickly identify and recognize. Customers use environmental cues, signs, and symbols to identify products that they prefer. The store characteristics asked included blurbs or writing on the packaging, green colors, labels and icons, price tag types or colors, store departments or sections, brand names, and/or recommendations from other consumers. There was also gave an option for those who do not look for eco-friendly identifiers in stores.
Most surprising was that 72% of the sample did not identify eco-friendly products with green colored packaging. It was predicted that there would be a higher amount of “yes” responses. The most common store attributes that customers use to identify which products are eco-friendly include labels and icons and blurbs on packaging. The least eye catching factors include the color of the price tag and recommendations from another person. Sharing eco-friendly information via word of mouth is not a common behavior before, during, or after purchasing products. Marketers can either completely avoid word of mouth sharing in order to focus on more effective methods or they can hone in on that type of communication in order to have reliable information flowing between customers and potential customers.
Packing Noise Effect on Purchase Intention
The sample group that took the survey with the scenario for purchasing an eco-friendly bag of chips that produced no extra noise was asked if they consider chip bag noise when comparing products in a store. The respondents overwhelmingly did not consider noise while making the purchase, and only one of the 27 respondents said that they do consider noise.
Of the group that took the survey with the scenario for noisy bags of chips, six identified that they consider sound when making a chip purchase. Compared to the group without a noisy bag discussed in the introductory scenario, this group had more people respond yes.
Importance of characteristics of eco-friendly products
In order to know which characteristics of eco-friendly food products consumers thought were important, the research team asked respondents to rate the price, bag material, colors and design, message and blurbs, and noise of products on a scale from one (very unimportant) to seven (very important). Price was the factor with the highest mean for eco-friendly products while noise was the factor with the lowest mean.
Out of the five characteristics of eco-friendly products, only price and noise were statistically significant. From the results, the team cannot conclude anything except that the means from price and noise are significantly than the neutral point of 4.
Price and Other Product Characteristics
The research team wanted to know if customers who consider price when making chip purchase decisions also consider any other attributes of chip bags. After running four separate paired sample tests, the team found that customers who said they do consider price when making purchase decisions also consider bag material, color and design, message and blurbs written on the bag, and noise when making purchase decisions. This information is useful to marketers in that it shows that consumers do not find price alone to be an important attribute in making purchase decisions.
The mean for price paired with each individual characteristic is significantly different from each other. The mean for noise paired with each individual variable is significantly different from each other. From this, it can be concluded that the respondents answered differently for every characteristic tested.
The Effect of Disruptive Noise
The biggest downside of having a noisy eco-friendly bag is that the noise is disruptive during normal daily activities causing the consumer to be uncomfortable or unhappy as a result of the product. To identify if consumers were embarrassed about product packaging noise, they were asked, “If you were eating a bag of chips in a quiet area, do you get embarrassed by the amount of sound your chip bag is making?”.
The sample groups with no packaging noise in their scenario had 66.7% of respondents say yes, they would be embarrassed. In the noisy scenario group, 70% of respondents said they would be embarrassed. The results between the two groups is not very different, suggesting that customers of in different purchasing situations react the same to the disruption. Overall, most people are uncomfortable with loud bags in quiet public spaces.
Advertisers and marketers can use this information to make themes for marketing material, campaigns, and future marketing research topics.
Noise Level Effect on Purchase Intention
The researchers wanted to know if significantly loud chip bag noise would dissuade customers from purchasing eco-friendly bags of chips when non-eco-friendly bags of chips that are not as noisy are also readily available.
The sample group that didn’t have a noisy bag of chips had 81.5% people say the noise would not dissuade a purchase of the eco-friendly bag of chips. 86.7% of the noisy bag sample group would not be dissuaded. In both groups, the vast majority of the respondents would not be dissuaded from a product because of the noise. Most customers react the same way, suggesting that this product characteristics generally does not heavily influence a customer’s purchase intention.
This tells us that the noise of the bag is not very influential in purchasing eco-friendly bags of chips. This suggests that customers do not wrinkle or play with the bag in stores before making a purchase. Eco-friendly product designers can use this information by paying higher amounts of attention to the eco-friendly material rather than the noise it makes. The researchers suggest that the noise levels of different types of materials be tested in a different study with a new sample group. That way, the levels of noise in different environments can be tested more accurately.
People who consider eco-friendly packaging to be important in making chip purchase decisions also consider bag material to be important in making chip bag purchase decisions (Sig.(2-tailed)=0.035). There was no statistical significance between people who consider eco-friendly packaging when making chip purchase decisions and considering all other chip bag attributes (price, color and design, message and blurbs written on bag, and bag noise).
The post-hoc test showed that there is no difference between the amount of times per week the respondent purchases bags of chips and the characteristics of the chips (price, bag material, color and design, message and blurbs, and noise.)
Noise and Intent to Purchase
It has been found that there is a statistically significant difference between respondents who said that they do consider noise and respondents who said that they do not consider noise when making product purchase decisions. For those who said that they consider noise when purchasing a bag of chips, the mean is very high, and those who said they do not consider noise when purchasing a bag the mean is low. So yes, there is a significance between the means of both groups, Sig (2-tail) = 0.000
What this means is that consumers that do consider noise while making a decisions rated noise as very important while making a decisions. This shows that question 7, which asked respondents if they consider packaging sound/noise when purchasing chips, was valid and that the respondents responded correctly. When the relationship between these questions is similar, the researchers know that their respondents are reliable. The researchers can identify how they feel and then how strongly they feel about certain characteristics.
Correlation Test of Product Characteristics
The researchers wanted to know if there are any correlations between price, noise, color and design, bag material, and messages and blurbs on the package. It has been found that price had a significant correlation with color and design, bag material, and messages and blurbs, while noise had a significant correlation with color and design; however, price and noise did not show any correlation, meaning that customers do not find it important to consider price and noise together when making product purchase decisions. Color and design, bag material, and messages and blurbs all correlate with each other, meaning customers consider all three of these attributes to be important when making product purchase decisions.
The findings from this research should be used to make marketing decisions including who to market eco-friendly products to, how to promote eco-friendly products in grocery/retail store shelves, and how to appeal to consumers that prefer eco-friendly products.
Due to the research team’s findings, it can be concluded that chip bag noise is not a significant attribute considered by consumers when making a product purchase decision; however, chip bag noise is an important factor considered during product experience–consumers are embarrassed when eating chips from a noisy bag. Repeat customers may not want to repurchase eco-friendly chip bags that are noisy; therefore, chip bag noise may be an important to consumers in making future purchase decisions.
Word of mouth communication about eco-friendly products is low. According to the findings, customers do not receive recommendations for identifying, purchasing, or making decisions about buying eco-friendly products. Sharing eco-friendly information via word of mouth is not a common behavior before, during, or after purchasing products. A strategy based off of these findings would be to create a campaign that encourages consumers to share their experience with the product on social media.
Traditionally, the color green has been used to identify eco-friendly or “green” products on packaging, on store shelves, and in advertisements. According to the team’s research, most consumers do not identify eco-friendly products based on green packaging. However, eco-friendly labels, icons, and blurbs on packaging are used to identify an eco-friendly product on the shelf. Marketers can use this information to research the most effective ways to communicate eco-friendly product details. Based on more in depth research, marketers and advertisers can identify the most effective symbol, color, or theme that attracts eco-friendly consumers.
While price is normally considered the biggest factor when it comes to a purchase decision, there can be other various conditions that can make a product more or less desirable to a consumer. Based off of the research done, consumers also do consider bag material, color and design, message and blurbs written on the bag, and noise when it comes to whether or not to purchase an item. Also based on the research it was noted that when noise was a specific factor, it was not the only factor that impacted the decision making process. This information could be used for marketers as well as advertisement teams to help center focus on what in particular sells a particular item. Using even more in depth research out of the results found can lead to an even stronger indicator of what traits may better sell a certain product.
A common alteration when it comes to eco-friendly products pertains to the packaging it is in. This can often be a downside because of odd texture or potential excess noise the packaging may bring. According to the research completed, both respondent groups ultimately would feel embarrassed over the noise of their packaging if they were in a more quiet environment. This knowledge could be used for advertisers as well as marketers for future research questions and directions of promotions. It can also be useful for product designers to adapt their packaging to match the needs of the consumer.
In contrast to how certain traits could encourage a purchase, other traits could dissuade some customers from making particular purchases. In the case of how much of a negative trait noise is when eco-friendly and non-eco friendly bags of chips are both readily available, the vast majority would not be dissuaded from purchasing a product from just that factor. Based off of this information, marketers can infer that consumers may not actively check the noise of their packaging when actually purchasing the products. This also can help product designers with creating a new strategy to focus on other aspects of the packaging other than the noise factor.
According to the data collected, price had a significant relationship with the color, design, bag materials, and messages on the packaging. Noise, instead only showed a relationship with the color and design of the packaging. Color, design, bag material, and messages all were connected with each other. Price and noise together do not show any connection, which meant that respondents did not consider noise and price together when a purchasing a product.
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