Saturday, September 28, 2013

Choose an Item’s Country of Origin

Researchers at Texas State University-San Marcos, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Delaware noticed how the declared country-of-origin (COO) on clothing usually is the locale of manufacture, not the locale where the fibers were produced. Since much research has shown COO statements affect consumers’ purchase decisions, the researchers wanted to explore the benefits for a retailer in choosing which COO to declare.
     The study samples consisted of consumers in three U.S. southern states. Participants were asked to decide how much more, if anything, they’d be willing to pay for a woolen sweater depending on the COO. The choices for locales of manufacture were America and China. The choices for fiber origin were Australia, America, and the particular state in which that day’s study was conducted.
     The researchers found that the consumers were willing to pay the most when the fibers were from their home state, and willing to pay more when the wool in the sweater had been grown in America rather than Australia. The COO for the manufacture of the sweater made less difference overall.
     In applying these findings to your use of COO information, recognize that:
  • What’s true for wool sweaters may not be true for other products. Shoppers associate certain countries of origin with desirable product characteristics. Cheeses and perfumes from France have a special cachet, as do cutlery and timepieces from Switzerland. 
  • The South has historically been associated with growing fibers and producing apparel. What the researchers observed probably included regional loyalty. The researchers had administered to the participants a standardized inventory of ethnocentrism—the degree to which you believe your own culture is superior to others. Those with the highest ethnocentrism were those willing to pay the highest price premium for closer-to-home fiber origin. 
  • COO information also can trigger local loyalties because of a “Keep Americans Working” ethos. 
  • COO preferences change. Researchers at Canada’s Carleton University and York University tracked what happened with Australian consumers due to the French government conducting nuclear testing in the Pacific during the mid-1990’s. French products were evaluated more negatively. Over the next ten years, as the memories receded, Australians’ attitudes toward French products moved upwards. 
     The import of the Texas/Wisconsin/Deleware research about imports is that you can obtain different results by choosing which COO to feature. Among the alternatives might be where:
  • The raw materials were produced 
  • The components were assembled 
  • The final product was approved and shipped 
Click below for more: 
Feature Country-of-Origin Advantages 
Salute Sales to Concerned Patriots

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