Consumers' expectations of furniture labels during their pre–purchase information search : toward label development / A. Labuschagne
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Labels serve as a source of external information during the consumer decision–making process, and frequently contribute to consumers’ prior knowledge of different products as well as their search activities prior to purchase of furniture. Labelling of a wide range of products, such as food and clothing has been investigated with regard to the effectiveness of the label, to convey information and draw consumers’ attention to the product, and the usage of the labels by consumers. However, no literature suggests the existence of labels with regard to furniture items, or consumers’ expectations about furniture labels. It is believed that labels on furniture items could assist consumers during the pre–purchase information search of the decision–making process. The current study investigated consumers’ expectations of furniture labels, during the pre–purchase information search of the consumer decision–making process, in order to propose furniture labels. The objectives of the study were to determine what questions regarding product information consumers frequently ask store assistants prior to furniture purchasing; to determine consumers’ expectations regarding furniture labels in terms of the product information on the label, the appearance of the label and the placement of the label on furniture items; and finally to suggest a preliminary furniture label according to consumers’ expectations. A mixed–method research approach was followed, using a two–phase exploratory design. Qualitative findings indicated that consumers enquire about the type of materials used for the manufacturing of furniture items, finishes used on items, quality, guarantees, warrantees, design, performance, maintenance, care instructions and colours of items. Similarly, quantitative results showed that the majority of respondents deemed the price, materials used, cleaning instructions, guarantee and warrantees important to be displayed on the furniture label. Appearance characteristics were summarised and preliminary furniture labels were suggested accordingly. These labels can be used by product developers, marketers, and the furniture industry to assist consumers during their pre–purchase information search of the consumer decision–making process.
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