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Consumer Behaviour Assignment: Online Avatar Of Zeekit


The information below is for a new virtual shopping platform, called Zeekit. The service allows shoppers to virtually try on any outfit with their own avatar that is constructed from their 3D image. This allows them to envision their desired state while trying on the clothes virtually. Using your knowledge of ‘re-embodiment of the extended self’ (Belk, 2013), explain how using an online avatar while shopping solves problem recognition in consumer decision-making. In your answer you will discuss how re-embodiment supports consumers in their decision-making search to go from an ‘actual state’ to a ‘desired state’.

Firstly, discuss what a cultural ritual is, and then explain the four components of rituals. Secondly, provide an example of a ritual, justify why it is a ritual, and include the four components of that ritual.

Firstly, define what is meant by consumerism and then discuss three different ideologies associated with consumerism. Use examples to illustrate each ideology. Secondly, explain why consumerism may be a problem for society. Finally, provide your thoughts on marketing as a social agent in consumerist societies and outline what types of practices empower consumers within a consumerist society.


Answer 1

In the present consumer behaviour assignment is based on a Zeekit which is a virtual shopping platform that enables shoppers to virtually try on any outfit with their own avatar that is constructed using their 3D image. The advantage of such a technology is bridging the gap between desired and actual stage of decision making. In this question under consumer behaviour assignment we will go on to discuss how the concept of re-embodiment effectively aides consumers in their decision making search in going from an actual stage to a desired state.

Discussion of Important Concepts
The consumer decision making process is basically a 5 staged process which starts from Problem recognition, information search, evaluation & selection, store choice and purchase & lastly post purchase decisions. Herein consumer behaviour assignment, our focus will be on problem recognition, which can be understood as lacunae in the desired and actual state of consumers mind. Consumers inherently are problem solvers, implying resolving differences between the situation consumers are in at the present and would like to be in the future. A digital virtual world is of great aide when it comes to solving this problem. Digital virtual can be understood as a concept which leverages the hybridization of the material and the virtual as imagination. The best part of the concept is that it significantly curtails the problem of material actualization which helps the customers in making a decision for his desired state. Desired state by definition is the way the customer wants to feel or be at the present time. The study developed within the consumer behaviour assignment let us understand how this new age technology is helping the consumer in their decision making process by introducing a concept of re-embodiment of the extended self.

Online Avatar Solving Problem Recognition
Before jumping directly to answer the question outlined in the consumer behaviour assignment, let us quickly understand the concept of re-embodiment of the extended self which is a pivotal concept in learning how the online avatar helps shoppers in problem recognition. 21st century is an era of consumerism and knowingly and unknowingly we as shoppers regard our possessions as part of ourselves, wherein self is embodied (not just in thoughts) and material things becomes part of our extended self. Consumers on a deep sub-conscious level relate with these possessions and they in turn act as linkages to other people. Re-embodiment can be understood as the process of consumer dematerialization and re-materialization in a digital world, which in this case is of Zeekit. Virtual world in true essence helps a shopper or a consumer find out who they are by enabling them to be who they want to be, and online avatar, which are seen as digital representation of ourselves helps in the problem recognition significantly. The choice provided by the modern day marketers in selecting, modifying and accessorizing the representation of self, which is termed as Avatar gives a lot of freedom to the consumers in identifying the real selves, the possible selves and various other alternative selves. By leveraging the power of online avatar the shoppers can easily visualize themselves in the desired state by trying out any outfit they like and they can actually see for themselves how the outfit looks on them, the best part is they can do it effortlessly for plethora of fashion outfits. Let us briefly discuss few key points within this consumer behaviour assignment which will further support the claim that Avatar helps in problem recognition:

  • Mitigating the risk while shopping online-One of the biggest problem consumer face while making purchase decision online is physical invisibility. They are not really sure how the particular outfit would look on them and at times are also not sure about their sizes. However, leveraging the technology of the digital world which is virtual re-embodiment they can now experience themselves in those outfit in front of their eyes and make a rational decision for self. Hence, reducing the gap between actual and desired stage of problem recognition.
  • Construction of ideal self-Zeekit provides shoppers with plethora of option of fashion outfits along with accessories so that the consumer can take a step forward and create his own new ideal self. This effectively helps him in trying out new styles whilst Avatar and re-embodiment of the extended self.
  • A canvas to try out new “selves”-As mentioned earlier in the context of consumer behaviour assignment, the Avatar can help a consumer to be who they want to be. It can be their true, ideal or alternate selves. Hence, when the consumer has clear options in front of him where he can actually mitigate the risk of shopping online by looking at him actually in those fashionable outfits, his decision making improves significantly, reducing the gap between his actual and desired stage.

It can be concluded from the above discussion on consumer behaviour assignment that re-embodiment of extended self which gives rise to digital avatar helps the consumers in either being their true, ideal or alternate selves. The ability provided by Zeekit to accessorize their outfits further give them a sense of clarity on how the outfit looks on them, thus mitigating the risk of buying products online. It also helps them to bridge the gap between the desired and actual stage as now they can actually visualize how they would look in a particular outfit, and they can do it effortlessly for plethora of outfits.

Answer 2 (611 Words)
Culture is by far one of the most important and fundamental construct of the social sciences and is referred to as beliefs, values, behaviours and material objects which holistically form a people’s way of life. Culture in true sense determines how individuals view this world. Cultural ritual on the other hand is an extension of the study of culture in social sciences and can be understood as a collection of plethora of symbolic practices or behaviours which occur in a fixed sequence and tend to be repeated periodically. Ritual can be seen here as a cultural performance which enables a two way transfer of meaning between cultural meaning and routine or everyday life of a consumer. Alternatively ritual can be seen as something which is performed with purpose, has a meaning attached to it and is scripted in nature.

A ritual has four important components as discussed in the next section of consumer behaviour assignmentwhich will help the readers develop a coherent understanding of the concept of ritual in culture.

  • Artefacts-Ritual as we have learnt is a meaningful activity which is performed with a purpose and is scripted in nature. Artefacts can be seen as the objects which are either linked to the ritual directly or indirectly enhance the ritual activity. They can also be seen or understood as symbols of ritual. For example, wedding dress can be seen as an artefact in the ritual of wedding ceremony.
  • Scripts- According to the research on consumer behaviour assignment, it has already been established that script is an important component of a ritual and can be understood as the written or unwritten guide to the behavioural sequence and the use of artefacts, when and by whom and it adds gravitas to ritual.
  • Performance Roles-No ritual can be performed without the involvement of the people in it. Hence, it is stated herein consumer behaviour assignment that performance roles are another important component of the ritual which points towards the people actually involved in the role. The perfect example of it is the groom, bride and the priest in the wedding.
  • Audience-A ritual can be performed without an audience, it is however not a necessary condition for a ritual, but having an audience augments the ritual. For example, a wedding for a runaway couple in Las Vegas is a ritual even without an audience, however wedding ceremony in the church in front of all the loved ones which are friends and family is again a ritual which gives an accentuated pleasure to the performance roles and heightens the ritual.

Let us understand ritual from the standpoint of consumers and markets to further build an understanding of the concept explored in the consumer behaviour assignment. Christmas is the most important holiday season of the year in the west or in fact in most parts of the world. It is seen as the biggest holiday season where friends and families gather together decorate their houses, cook turkey and other artefacts of the ritual and celebrate in style. Marketers take opportunity out of this by creating advertisement which promote this ritual and encourage gift giving behaviour in the shoppers as artefacts to accentuate the ritual. Christmas Trees, decoration, Santa Costumes can be seen as an example of artefacts in ritual. Likewise, Merry Xmas Jingle, other celebratory music and greeting cards can be seen as an example of script in this ritual. Likewise, Santa and Christmas day gifts can be seen as performances on this ritual and lastly friends and family who gather together to celebrate the day is the audience. Now, imagine a Christmas in the absence of all the four components of the ritual, looks dull, boring and unimaginable, right? Hence, from the overall analysis on consumer behaviour assignment, it can be clearly established that the components of ritual are highly significant and accentuate the rituals.

Answer 3
Consumerism can be understood as a moral doctrine, conspicuous, economic and political ideology which encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever increasing amounts. Consumerism is based on the constructs that people need what they do not have. Consumerism in the present day consumer society has become need, rather than a want or a demand. It is fuelled by the ever increasing assortment of goods and services which keeps on changing continuously. The three different ideologies associated with consumerism are:

Consumerism as an economic ideology: The ideology is based on the fact mentioned in this consumer behaviour assignment that if consumers start feeling content with what they possess, it will significantly lower down the production capacity, thereby impeding the economic growth of the country. It is propelled by the belief that ever individual is potentially inadequate and is in need of improvement through consumption of goods. Examples of this ideology are McDonald with its vast product selection and advertisement to fuel the desire of consumer to keep buying and trying new products. Consumerism as Political Ideology: This implies that a successful political state is one where the needs of the people are satisfied by the individual choice they make in the marketplace. For instance, a consumer having the choice to either buy the grocery online through Amazon or visit their nearest retail outlet to do so.

Consumerism as Conspicuous Consumption: This ideology noted in the consumer behaviour assignment states that consumerism in the digital age is less for us, or in other words not addressing the direct needs, but it is more about the identity and social status as compared to other social groups. For example, consumers buying super expensive fashion labels which have nothing new to offer, but the high end label gives them a social identity.

COVID-19 has brought down a situation of global lockdown and people are spending on essential goods and curtailing that spend in the non-essentialgoods; this has caused a problem to the economic growth of the country as we can see the GDP of countries shrinking due to this phenomenon. As individuals we keep on buying more than we need, which creates a problem. Consumerism disrupts the human and the ecological well-being which in turn is a big problem. Consumerism leads to increased production which leads to environment pollution and other ill hazards towards the ecological well-being, thus impacting the environment severely and causing problem. It is clear on this consumer behaviour assignment that fast fashion is the second biggest contributor to environmental degradation and is one of the fastest growing industries.

Marketing as a social agent in consumerist societies have an important role to play as more the marketers understand consumers, the easier their preference can be shaped and social good can be created. Consumers in the present day have more choice than they ever had, thus in a way they are empowered, which gives them the power to change the business models of the company. Due to the marketing efforts, customers themselves are becoming part time marketers and have come to understand that individual consumption fosters organizational growth, leading to over production and creation of an appetite which is insatiable in nature, thus resorting to sustainable consumption is the best in consumerist society and is seen as the best practice. The triple bottom line model noted in the consumer behaviour assignment where the organization cares about its people, planet and the profit is the need of the hour, and this can be done only by engaging in sustainable consumption and practices. Hence, looking at COVID-19, as the biggest lesson in the history, one should introspect on their consumerism in different categories and take a decision which is conscious and has positive impact on the environmental and financial sustainability.


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