More evidence points to the fact that consumers shop, compare and research considered purchases more than ever before. They use the internet, go to a retailer, check the newspaper, ask a friend, go back online, check a magazine, etc. All this despite the fact, like all of us, consumers have less time in their life. One of the following must be the emotional justifications for this behavior:
1) FUN — This hunt is fun. Consumers enjoy ferreting out the best value. 2) FEAR — Consumers are scared if they don’t turn as many stones as they know to find the best deal, they will regret the purchase at an unfair price. 3) BOTH (probably the right answer)
The reason they do this is because there are so many choices of products and sellers. And there are more sources available to find the optimial product, price, and seller. Coupon sites, brands that sell direct, advertisements everwhere we look. Today it takes 93 ads for what used to take 5 ads to accomplish. Choices for comparing and shopping abound. Jupiter reports the average buyer visits at least 3 sites before making a purchase. This is the AVERAGE online shopper.
What can you do to make yours the final stop on their shopping safari? Here are some ideas:
Show up! You have to be where they are shopping. Online comparison sites, coupon sites, search engines, etc. Differentiate — your brand, your product, your service, your value. Why did I buy an Oreck? Maket it fun. Make it easy. Help add to the shopping enjoyment. They will be more likely to come back. Give them a reason to buy now. Stop them in their tracks. Add urgency. Reach out. Get an email address or address. Get permission to market to them after they visit. Give them something of value when you do so. Be relevant. Build capabilities to understand their needs better than anyone else. Use every contact point opportunity to show you can meet their needs. Sell features, and most importantly, benefits to those needs. Ironically, your competitors probably don’t do a good job at that. Connect. Build a relationship. Show your personality. Be real. Get them to like you and your company as much or more than the product. Give a takeaway. Something they can keep and remember you buy. It’s the furniture salesman who gives away ice cream so shoppers can’t continue to comparison shop his competitors.