That is the only question.

Keeping aside my love-hate relationship with Shakespeare and his literature, this blog focuses on the choices consumers make while purchasing something.

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Pizza or Dosa or pizza dosa? Ice cream or waffle or both with choco-fudge on top?

What you see here is the epitome of mouth-watering confusion.

If like me, you have ever tried to order food from a service like Zomato or Swiggy (RIP Uber Eats), you know the trouble you have to go through just to order a decent meal.

The cuisine, the dish, the delivery timings, the price, the offers, it just gets a little too overwhelming most of the times (and don’t get me started for when you order for a group).

let us understand what are the factors behind the choices we make when we as a consumer buy something.

Human Psyche, Bounded Rationality & Decision Making

As noted above, we continually use heuristics as a method of decreasing the multifaceted nature of decision making; for instance, we associate a specific restaurant with quality instead of taking part in a detailed assessment of the benefits of various other eateries.

It is most appropriate to define bounded rationality now.

Economist Herbert Simon’s theory of bounded rationality states that people are not inclined to gather all of the information required to make a decision. This is because we’re incapable of getting all the information out there and couldn’t even digest the information if we were able to get it in the first place. Therefore, you’re more likely to pick something that meets maybe one or two criteria.

Just like when ordering food, I usually decide upon what to eat based on the cuisine and quality. It is nearly impossible and extremely exhaustive to collect all data from all the restaurants in the area then analysing them to narrow down to a single place. Hence, our rationality is always bounded by constraints.

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Contextual influence

According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, what we think of a product or brand, or how positively or negatively we assess it, depends on the context in which it is viewed.

When consumers shop in a mall, impressions of one store can be influenced by perceptions of the surrounding stores. Or, when consumers browse the print ads in a magazine, perceptions of one brand could be influenced by the brands in the surrounding ads. Therefore, when marketers decide to advertise their products in particular contexts, they would benefit from considering how it measures up in terms of its context.


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Everything? Everything.

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