Product Knowledge & Information Processing in Consumer Behaviour

Understanding how consumers decide about a product can fill gaps in the market and identify needed and obsolete products. Knowledge plays a vital role in changing consumer behavior. This is a significant part of influencing consumers. From the perspective of the theory of planned behavior, consumer behavior and attitudes depend on the formal structure of consumer knowledge. Consumer knowledge, in general, can be distinguished into three parts: action knowledge, practical knowledge, and systems knowledge.

These three types of knowledge create an effect on consumer behavior. The product knowledge model depends on consumer behavior and represents the relationship between consumer knowledge and consciousness.

Product Knowledge

Product knowledge is a collection of various information about a product. This knowledge includes product types, brands, product terms, product attributes or characteristics, product prices, and product beliefs. Product knowledge also includes various information processed by the consumer to obtain the product. Finally, product knowledge is knowing where and when to buy a product. When a consumer decides to buy a product, he decides where and when he will buy the product. Therefore, consumers' decisions about where to buy products will be primarily determined by their knowledge. Brucks (1985) states, "Product knowledge is based on the memory or known knowledge of the consumer."

Product knowledge itself is a collection of many different types of information. For example, product knowledge includes knowledge of the product category and the trademarks within the product category, product terminology, attributes or attributes of the product, and beliefs about the product category in general and the product category, with specific brands.

Belief is when a person believes a product will bring utility or benefit. Consumers will pay more attention to products that can create utility, including them in purchasing decisions.

Consumer Education

Consumer education refers to the right to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be an informed consumer for the rest of one's life. Consumer education tries to protect consumers from being exploited. This is only possible if the customer is vigilant and informed of his rights and duties. Consequently, the primary goal of consumer education is to educate individuals and raise awareness through various institutions to protect themselves from unfair trade practices. Consumers' ignorance is to blame for their exploitation. To avoid this, educating and motivating them to be vigilant against any wrongdoing on the seller's behalf is vital. Consumer education is beneficial in the following ways −

  • Develop the capacity to make informed decisions and product selections.

  • Demand items that are safe, dependable, and of high quality at a fair price.

  • Be on the lookout for market corruption.

  • Take appropriate action when confronted with an issue.

Role of Information Processing in Consumer Behaviour

Information processing takes place in five stages

  • Contact

  • Attention

  • Understand

  • Accept

  • Hold

Contact phase in information processing

Exposure is the first and most crucial step in information processing. At this point, the stimulus input reaches one or more of the five senses. An individual experiences sensation at the lowest level, known as the absolute threshold. At the lowest level, an individual recognizes the difference between something and nothing.

Attention stage in Information Processing

Stimuli that activate sensory receptors require further processing. The process of screening stimuli that takes place at the preconscious level is called attentional pre-processing. Once the selection process is complete, the comparison process moves to the attention phase. Attention can be defined as the allocation of processing power to a stimulus. Therefore, marketers must know the factors influencing consumers' allocation of scarce resources. In other words, marketers need to understand what makes consumers choose one stimulus more than another.

Understanding stage in Information Processing

The third stage of information processing is understanding. It involves the interpretation of a stimulus

  • Stimulus Classification − Consumers classify stimuli based on concepts stored in memory. Consumers associate new information with existing knowledge stored in memory. A personal link is established between the simulation and its life experience. Respondents were asked to write down the thoughts that arise when viewing an advertisement. Today, advertisers are using a new concept, which is images. Visualization is a process by which sensory information and experiences are represented in working memory. For example, respondents were asked to imagine the amenities they would need in a new housing unit.

  • Organization of Stimuli − The organization of stimuli falls under the jurisdiction of Gestalt psychology. People organize stimulation by applying certain principles. They combine or organize stimuli into a meaningful whole; the principles used to organize stimuli are −

    • Figure and background − The figure represents elements of the perceptual field, while the background represents less essential elements that make up the background. The number is perceived against its background. It looks clear, solid, and advanced. In contrast, the ground is considered to be indeterminate, fuzzy, and continuous. People organize their perceptions in shape and substance. The consumer's reaction to an advertisement that considers the product as the Figure and model, etc., is its motive. Some advertisements produce other stimuli that are more pronounced in the cognitive domain than in the product.

    • Group − Individuals group stimuli so that they form a unified image or impression. Thus, grouping is the perception of stimuli as a group rather than pieces of information. Memory and recall support team. People always prefer simple perceptions, even if more complex perceptions can be derived from simulation.

    • Closed − Closed refers to the tendency to develop a complete image or perception even when elements of the cognitive field are missing. People add or subtract stimuli they are exposed to according to their expectations. In doing so, they use general organizing principles.

Acceptance Stage in Information Processing

Acceptance is the fourth most crucial stage in information processing. Even if consumers fully understand the message, they may have differing views on it for several reasons. So understanding the message is different from accepting the message. Acceptance of a message depends on thoughts during the comprehension stage. These thoughts are called cognitive responses. In addition, some affective responses are related to acceptance theory.

Retention in Information Processing

The final stage of information processing is retention. It involves transferring information into long-term memory. Memory consists of different storage systems −

Sensory Memory,

Short-Term Memory,

Long-Term Memory.

  • Sense Memory − In sensory memory, incoming information is received and analyzed based on attributes such as volume, pitch, etc.

  • Short-term memory − After sensory memory, the information goes into short-term memory. Short-term memory can only hold a limited amount of information at any given time. It is also limited in how long the information can exist without efforts to keep it activated.

  • Long-term memory − Long-term memory can hold an unlimited amount of information. As a result, it is a permanent repository of everything we have learned.

Marketing Implications of Information Processing

Only at his own risk can a marketer overlook the grasp of consumer information processing. In terms of assisting consumers' information processing mechanisms, the following facts deserve special attention −

  • The message's design (use of colours, contrast, structure, etc.)

  • The concept of proximity (the setting in which the message is delivered). For example, an advertisement for a severe product appearing in the time slot for a hilarious program, and so on.)

  • The concept of selective exposure (the consumer's proclivity to skip advertisements, leave the room during a commercial break, or zap the advertising on the VCR).

  • Values influence (conforming or breaching norms such as respect for elders, affection for the younger generation, mocking the marital connection, etc.)

  • Physical stimulus property distortion (bad transmission distorting the message or picture of the marketing message, poor printing or composition of the newspaper or magazine conveying a message, etc.)

  • Information overload (when too much information is shown to the customer and he feels overwhelmed by the vastness of it). As a result, there needs to be a better use of knowledge and frustration.


Product knowledge is an essential skill every customer support agent and sales manager should have. This means an employee is familiar with the product's features and can clearly explain its benefits to the customer. Knowledge plays a vital role in changing consumer behavior. This is an essential part of influencing consumers. From the perspective of the theory of planned behavior, consumer behavior and attitudes depend on the formal structure of consumer knowledge.

Updated on: 03-Mar-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started