Diploma in the Psychology of Retail & Consumer Behaviour



Shoppers vie for copies of video games at a Black Friday sale at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. store in Mentor, Ohio, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. Retailers are pouring on the discounts to attract consumers grappling with 9 percent unemployment and a slower U.S. economic expansion than previously estimated. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Start date: Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Duration: 10 weeks, Wednesday evenings from 6.30 to 9.30 pm

Course fee: classroom-based €945 (or €995 if paying the course fee in instalments), online €845 (or €895 if paying the course fee in instalments)
Non-EU students: €1,295

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Awarding body:  The Institute of Commercial Management (ICM)

According to Sabine Kuester, “Consumer behaviour is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy their needs and wants. It is also concerned with the social and economic impacts that purchasing and consumption behaviour has on both the consumer and wider society”.

The subject takes elements from psychology, sociology, social anthropology, marketing and economics, especially behavioural economics. It examines how emotions, attitudes and preferences affect buying behaviour.

Kahle, Minton et al, consider the characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics, personality lifestyles and behavioural variables such as usage rates, usage occasion, loyalty, brand advocacy, willingness to provide referrals, in an attempt to understand people’s wants and consumption are all investigated in formal studies of consumer behaviour. The study of consumer behaviour also investigates the influences, on the consumer, from groups such as family, friends, sports, reference groups, and society in general.

There are various types of marketing mix decisions examined on this Diploma and each one focuses one a type of decision (e.g., pricing, advertising, creating experiences). Within this context the course we then consider psychological principles that predict how consumers typically respond to different decisions the marketer could take.

Course Content:

This course is based on theories developed in psychology and builds a bridge to various marketing concepts. The conceptual framework of the course breaks the causes of behaviour up into types of psychological responses such as, perceiving, reasoning, feeling, learning, or remembering.

These psychological responses intervene between the marketing mix (input) and the behaviour of consumers, such as purchase or usage (output). The psychological responses hence provide a framework as to why certain marketing inputs lead to certain outputs, that is, a framework to derive strategically relevant consumer insights.

The course also reviews a range of simple but powerful levers that can influence consumer behaviour in unexpected ways.


    Theme 1 – The Marketplace & Consumer Society
    • Buying, Having, Being

    Theme 2 – The Individual Consumer
    • Perception
    • Learning and Memory
    • Motivation

    Theme 3 – The Decision-Making Process
    • Attitudes and Persuasion
    • Decision-making/Buying and Disposing
    • Organisational and Household Decision-Making

    Theme 4 – The Social Consumer
    • The Self
    • Groups and Social Media
    • Lifestyle and Subcultures

    Week 1 – Introduction: The Psychological Framework
    Week 2 – Choosing Advertising and Promotions Based on Consumer Insight
    Week 3 – Setting Strategic Objectives for the Distribution Channel
    Week 4 – Choosing Advertising Executions
    Week 5 – Applying the Framework to a Business 2 Business Problem
    Week 6 – The Psychology of Purchase
    Week 7 – Creating Brand Identities
    Week 8 – Doing Research to Gain Consumer Insights
    Week 9 – The Psychology of Pricing
    Week 10 – Improving a Negative Brand Image/Saving a Positive One



    • Firstly, to gain an understanding of the psychological principles by which the marketing mix that consumers are exposed to and how it influences them.
    • Secondly, to use this understanding to develop strategically relevant consumer insights.
    • Thirdly, by so doing, be able to identify the key psychological reasons for why particular consumers in particular situations behave the way they do.
    • Finally, to translate this understanding into effective marketing mix decisions.

  • Sarah Strange headshot
    An engaging and popular lecturer, Sarah Strange has extensive experience in the field of consumer behaviour and marketing.  She was awarded a first in BSc Marketing from DIT and is a recipient of the McEvoy and Associates Award for Best Dissertation and Rose Memorial Shield for Best Analysis of the Marketing Case Study.  She was also awarded best presenter at the 21st NIBs International Business Case competition.
    Sarah is currently engaged in PhD research focused on consumer behaviour within contemporary culture.
    Sarah is a visiting lecturer in consumer behaviour at the Gengdan Institute Beijing University of Technology and communications lecturer in the DIT College of Business.  She has previously worked in retail management in a number of sectors.

  • A pass grade on the written assignment will be required for awarding of the Diploma. A fail grade will result in a Certificate of Attendance for the course but without the Diploma being awarded. Students must attend at least 8 of the 10 evenings to graduate with either the Diploma or Certificate of Attendance unless a serious and verifiable reason for further absence is provided. Similarly, the Project must be handed in on the due date unless a sound reason for lateness is provided. In such instances, an extension may be awarded at the discretion of the lecturer.


  • Apply Online

    For more information please contact us on: 1850 25 27 40 or email info@citycolleges.ie