The Influence of Promotional Brochures and Pricing Strategies on Consumer Purchase Decisions for Forest Stewardship Council Certified Hardwood Boards in Home Centers
Gomon, Stephanie J.
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This study is one of the first of its kind to examine actual consumer purchasing decisions for forest products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Consumer purchasing was examined based on the presence or absence of a promotional brochure and a price premium for red oak and yellow poplar surfaced-four-sides (S4S) boards. This research also compared typical demographic factors for purchasers and non-purchasers of FSC certified S4S boards. Finally, the study examined subscales from a previously designed ecoscale to determine whether two of the subscales were effective predictors of the sale of FSC certified boards. Due to significant interactions between the price premium and the promotional brochure, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) statistics could not be interpreted. However, these strong interactions indicate that these two factors are interdependent. Examining respondents' understanding of the trade term, "certification," showed that most did not understand the term as it is used by the forest products industry. Respondents did not link certification directly with the environment, but rather stated that it was a measure of quality excellence. This illustrates that the forest products industry must use more specific descriptions that consumers will understand when referring to certification. Based on survey results from this study, a large proportion of respondents who paid more for FSC certified boards were unable to recall whether they had cost any more than the alternative product. Respondents of this study were not found to have a high level of confidence in the environmental claims of any group. These included forest products companies, industry associations, and independent organizations. The subscales of a previously designed ecoscale were not found to be strong indicators of a respondents' likelihood to purchase FSC certified S4S boards. This project should be seen as a starting point for additional researchers interested in studying actual purchase decisions of consumers of environmentally conscious products, such as certified hardwood boards.
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