THE INFLUENCE OF INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS ON THE DEMAND OF SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS AT LATVIAN FOOD RETAIL CHAINS
AbstractResearch background: There are a number of product-related tools subject to regulation by state authorities and controlled by subordinate authorities. From the viewpoint of sustainable development, novelties in the legislation, government regulations and other regulatory enactments would enable the state to not only enhance the assortment of sustainable products at food retail chains, but also to raise the awareness of consumers, thus also triggering changes in demand for sustainable (ecological, environment-friendly, high-quality) products. Consumers lack information on the characteristics of the products purchased; they are not knowledgeable about the nutritional value, packaging, raw materials, their impact on human health and environment, re-use and recycling possibilities etc. For instance, the labelling of products may serve not only as a tool of integrated marketing communications drawing the consumers' attention and inciting a purchase, but also – through the information it carries – improve the consumers' knowledge on the product, its nutritional value, use and utilisation. Based on the national legislation and focusing on product-related tools, food retail chains in communication with their consumers may promote and boost the sales of ecological products. The purpose of this article is to assess the influence of product-related tools of integrated marketing communications on product demand at Latvian food retail chains. The subject of the research are product-related IMC tools; and the object of the research are Latvian food retail chains. The research makes use of the results of the study conducted by the authors in 2017. The authors used company data and surveyed leading specialists at Latvian food retail chains. In order to accomplish the goal and objectives, the authors used the following quantitative and qualitative methods of economic research – survey, comparison, and grouping. The study is based on scientific papers published by Latvian and foreign scholars, general and special literature, and periodicals. The authors conducted an assessment, a market investigation, a comparative analysis, held a survey, and used the MS Excel software for data processing and analysis. The findings of the research confirmed the hypothesis that the product-related tools of integrated marketing communications foster demand for sustainable products and, consequently, assortment at retail chains. The results of the research are of both theoretical and practical value.
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