Applied Business Research

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The University of Liverpool
The Management School

Applied Business Research Methods (ULMS515)

Research Proposal

PROPOSAL TITLE: Supermarket discounts: do they offer genuine benefits or are they “buying traps”

Name: HU LIXIANG

Student Number: 200908448

MSc Major: Consumer Marketing
1. Project Title
Supermarket discounts: do they offer genuine benefits or are they “buying traps” 1.1. Introduction
Generally speaking, people believe a discount in the supermarket is something that will help to save their money and which is a profits sharing activity of supermarket company. However, less people ever think about the real value for them when a discount product purchased. Therefore, Tesco, a well-known neighbour will be a good case for this study. Since 1919, when Jack Cohen began to sell surplus groceries in East London, a supermarket which later would become known as Tesco has gradually become one of the main companies where United Kingdom consumers like to buy their groceries. Today, the company’s advertising slogan “every little helps” is embedded in most British people's minds. Today, roughly three thousand Tesco stores provide services in the United Kingdom and Tesco products are on sale everywhere. Behind the rapid development of Tesco is UK consumers’ notable purchasing capacity, which has greatly increased over the last half century, and also their preference to make use of Tesco as the main provider of their groceries. Consumer behaviour is affected by both internal and external factors. Specifically, internal factors include consumer demand itself (“What do people want?”), while external factors include product quality, advertising methods and marketing structures. From a psychological point of view, while consumers’ interests would often be best served by “shopping around” (selecting the best price for similar products from among many different outlets), the fact of being in a typically encourages consumers to make their decision to buy within a short period of time. More and more sales promotions (discounts and the like) can have a significant psychological impact on customers’ purchasing decisions. Most existing research has paid attention to the question of whether discount activities will bring a company more benefits, while a smaller amount of research has questioned whether consumers purchasing discount items obtain real value. However, there has been little research to explore changes in consumers’ psychological activities when they buy merchandise at a discount in supermarket, or looking at the question of whether they really need discount products or if the temptation of the promotional advertising alone has prompted the decision to buy. This research proposal starts with a literature review aim to set up the hypotheses that customers will be influenced by the sales promotion which leads to purchase products they do not actually need. The methodology and data collecting methods are followed by analysis and ethical issue. At the end of research proposal, implications for someone may concern will be provide. 1.2. Aims

This research aims to thoroughly explore the supermarket sales promotions provided by Tesco, and then measure their impacts on consumer psychology as the company pursues its ultimate goal of growing sales. An additional aim is to investigate the method that TESCO carries out to influence customers’ psychology via variety sales promotions and ultimately to change customers’ initial decisions, in the mean while, provide a reasonable recommendation for people who willing to purchase discount goods in supermarket. Furthermore, the final contribution will abound knowledge about sales promotion activities and find some more practical effects. 1.3. Objectives

The research will address the following questions:
1.3.1. Do supermarkets offer a variety of promotions normally, and if so, how many major methods do they adopt? 1.3.2. Do customers prefer items for...
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