CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT AND NEW PRODUCT ACCEPTANCE IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY IN RIVERS STATE
1 Nwadike, George Ugonna, 2 Idenedo Wisdom Otite, and 3 Fadare, Ramat Adeola
1,2&3Department of Marketing, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
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ABSTRACT


This study examined the relationship between customer engagement and new product acceptance in the food and beverage industry in Rivers State. The study adopted the descriptive survey research design. Data were collected from customers of three food and beverage products namely peak milk (filled), soft drink (Zero sugar coke) and beer (Star Radler). A sample of 281 respondents was used for the study. The sample size was determined using the Taro Yamen’s formula. A structured questionnaire was used as the main instrument for collecting data from the respondents. The data collected were analyzed statistically, while the formulated hypotheses were tested using the Pearson Product Moment Correlation (r) with the aid of the SPSS 22.0 version. The findings revealed that cognitive engagement has a significant relationship with customer patronage of new products. The study also found a significant relationship between cognitive engagement and repeat patronage of new products. A significant relationship was also reported between emotional engagement and customer patronage of new products. The study also found a significant relationship between emotional engagement and repeat patronage of new products. The study equally reported a significant relationship between behavioural engagement and customer patronage of new products. It was also discovered that significant relationship exists between behavioural engagement and repeat patronage of new products. From the findings, it was concluded that customer engagement significantly enhance new product acceptance in the food and beverage industry in Rivers State. Based on the findings and conclusion, it was recommended that manufacturing companies develop new products that will give customers a positive experience as it would enable customers engage with the products and increase new product acceptance in the market.

Keywords: Customer Engagement, New Product Acceptance, Cognitive Engagement, Emotional Engagement, Behavioural Engagement, Customer Patronage, Repeat Patronage

INTRODUCTION

The marketplace is dynamic and demand for new products to meet the changing environment is increasing. Companies usually come up with products that are relatively new with the hope of gaining market acceptance. Gaining market acceptance implies that customers embrace, appreciate and patronize the new product introduced into the market (Salamoura, Angelis, Kehagias & Lymperopoulos, 2008). Whenever a company launches a new product into the market, its major concern is for the product to gain market acceptance. The acceptance and usage of new product is crucial to the success of the brand (Gatignon, Gotteland & Haon, 2016). However, a company stands the risk of the product being rejected by the target customers. When a new product is rejected by customers, it is an indication that the product is a failure but when the product is accepted by customers, it means that the product is a huge success. Every company hopes for their new product to be accepted by the market since it is the only way to increase sales and profit margin. But in many cases, new products introduced into the market fail to gain market acceptance. Many food and beverage firms have introduced new products into the market that fail to gain market acceptance. Therefore, in order to avoid the risk of product rejection and enhance new product acceptance, companies need to implement customer engagement strategy.

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