Consumer preferences, piques, and perceptions can be sources of opportunities.
Consumer preferences refer to the tastes of particular groups of people. Some examples are the clothes people wear, the food they eat, the music they listen to, and the movies they watch. The consumers’ age, culture, and status affect their preferences. In contrast, consumer dislikes refer to the things that irritate customers. Either way, the entrepreneur can explore opportunities brought about by consumer preferences or dislikes.
For example, if consumer trends show a rising preference for “fast casual” dining, then this would be an opportunity worth exploring. If customers show great annoyance at standing in long queues in fast food outlets, then sit-down “fast casual” dining could be a great opportunity.
There are times when the product is not changed by the enterprise but what changes is the way consumers perceive the product. A classic example is Listerine mouthwash. It was first offered as a surgical antiseptic and, later, a cure for athlete’s foot during the war.
Because of the many choices that customers have to struggle with every day, a product or service must be able to win the battle for the customer’s mind. First, awareness of the new product or service must be generated. This is followed by arousing the customers’ interest to buy, going to the evaluation of the product, and finally, the decision to purchase the product. After a customer purchased the product, there is a need to build brand loyalty and retain the customer for a long time to get a bigger share of his or her wallet, not just his or her mind.