Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Customer Is Always Wrong


How many times have we purchased the wrong items, merchandise we don't need, or things we already have in excess?
Some women would do these types of purchases frequently while some men would tend to overspend because they don't understand what they get for the product cost.
These characteristics should throw light on my analysis of today's shoppers, that they are always doing the wrong transactions. It is irrelevant as to whether the purchase was on impulse or because of great salesmanship. The bottom line is the purchase decisions are often wrong.
As a customer myself, I find my frustration builds up every time I go shopping.
Many times I feel lost with the product communication.
Plenty of money is spent on research and analysis, studying consumer behavior on habitat, spending power and household income and education, in an effort to determine and justify the next purchase or selection of merchandise.
But what is exactly inside the mind of the customer? What drives and instigates a purchase? How do retailers convert the customers *want' to become a *need'?
Despite all the necessary elements - such as ability to purchase, products, supply and demand - I believe that the concrete action of a purchase will take place if the dreams and aspirations of the customer converge with the messages presented by brand owners or retailers through the products.
Billions of dollars are spent annually on product marketing; some of this effort had successfully achieved the objective of promoting sales.
Some market studies get lost in the attempt to drive sales revenue when attention is diverted to short-term single transactions on impulse, rather than focusing on understanding and replicating repeat transactions.
Let's take the renowned luxury brand Louis Vuitton as an example; the brand communication is clear and subtle.
The brand have been at the top of shopping list for many women as the most aspired handbag to own.
The brand LV prominently carries an impeccable image that addresses dreams and aspirations to these customers, hence they spend on multi transactions simply to be seen wearing the LV logos on their shoulders.
It's about creating an attitude and lifestyle, making the customer understand the whole process of brand exposure, making impressions, and eventually driving sales.
In this case, the concrete action of making a purchase takes place. This shows the difference between good retailers and great retailers.
A shoe retailer once said it only takes 10 minutes to complete a sale to 80 percent of walk-in customers.
The remaining 20 percent would either just browse, or cancel the purchase. A great retailer would concentrate and experiment on attempting to reduce the 20 percent to 10 percent, whilst the good retailer would focus on the 80 percent and forget the 20 percent.
The great retailer would try to ensure that the customers receive the best shopping experience, and ensure the purchase is done really well, with a higher probability for repeat transactions in the future.
The well-known phrase:"The Good is the Enemy of the Great", is possibly nowhere more applicable than in retailing.
With the global population nearing seven billion, world demand for goods and services is swelling. The movement from developing societies (with traditional retailing) to highly developed societies (with modern retailing) continues apace.
Demand alone has been the primary driving force behind good retailing globally. A new trend in retailing will change the global game. In principle, it becomes an urgent priority for brand owners and retailers who aspire to survive and thrive in today's competitive and difficult economic conditions to aim high and to become great, since good *on its own* will no longer be acceptable to the customers.
In most cases, the advance is in recognizing important distinctions, and responding appropriately, and distinctly, rather than leaving it to customers to sort it out by themselves. As the world changes to new technologies, consumer shifts, and new competitors, new conventional wisdom will shape the way we see retailing today.
We all have been there - misinformed, subject to miscommunication, misjudged - hence we have made all the wrong purchasing decisions wasting money and worst of all, time. The future of modern retailing should be in the hands of the customers, we should decide on the interventions or sales pitch to create the necessary impact on exposing the products, making impressions on the merit of the products, and lastly reinforcing an undeniable drive to complete the transactions.
I, for one, as a customer, wait for that day to happen.

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