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Shoppers are more “market and product savvy”

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For many years reports have been published indicating that Shoppers are more ‘market and product savvy’, that they understand the true value of everything.

Today the consumer intuitively knows what is a good deal and when an interesting proposition has limited value. As a consequence product life cycles are becoming shorter with the buyer’s experience is moving from ‘must have’ through to the  ‘got that’ to ‘what’s new’ much faster. This puts increasing demand on time and response.

Customer categories
In his book eMarketing, Seth Godin identified four types of people: Prospects, customers. Loyal customers and former customers. By his own admission, Seth was wrong. He revised his theory in his next book called Permission Marketing to read ‘Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers’ but still he felt this was not precise enough.

In his  publication ‘Small is the new Big’ Seth Godin defines his theory more precisely in the following sound bites:
• Turn strangers into friends.
• Turn friends into customers.
• And then … do the most important job.
• Turn your customers into salespeople.

(NOTE: We would substitute the descriptor ‘consumers’ to that of ‘shoppers’. It is more accurate today (in 2012) than in 2006 when Seth wrote his book)

The point is…

It’s simple when you break it down. Most people are not your customers. In fact, the majority have not even heard of your product or service. Most of these people are not your target audience, but they may well be if they knew you existed and you could persuade them that your offering is worth paying for.

So how do you do this?

As we will discuss later, today’s global market is the most cluttered, centralised and homogeneous market there has ever been. Global brands emerge overnight. Now global brands are introduced to me, online and instantaneously. Like the majority of online users today, I am weary at first. But my friends and family will let me know if the offering is responsible credible and valuable. Amazon was the first, then eBay now there seems to be one every day.

In today’s world it doesn’t matter what you are selling’ you’d better make sure you get your message out there. Viral marketing can build a brand identity quickly. Using standard distribution chains will place the product in the consumer consciousness faster than a traditional media campaign. From clothes to crisps, cars to shoes, bags to holidays, getting your message out there has never been so important.

Consumer Behaviour
As consumers, we now take new technology for granted. The ‘tablet’ generation becomes more adept at intuitive value selection. Companies are adopting more sophisticated tools and resources to attract the right type of shopper into their retail space. With more and more companies experiencing increased revenues from the web, the financial reasoning for retail outlets is becoming ever more marginalised, as we, the consumer visit the shops less frequently.

The retail unit
To increase footfall, retailers are investing in brand promotion, product innovation and speed of service to capture the ‘shopper dollars’.

On-line retailing has made a significant contribution to how we all shop. The trip to the shops is now a pleasure activity. More significantly is that online shopping is delivering the type of numbers to the bottom line that makes the high street take notice. The emergence of the online grocery shop is evidence of the change in fortune, as we become less fearful of fraud, helped by the credit card companies underwriting online credit transactions.

However, in this recession, on-line shopping is becoming less ‘bargain hunt’ orientated. E-commerce is now about reach, presence and trusted the brand. Amazon and eBay started life as ‘bargain hunters’ now they are trusted brands with a wider portfolio and more resilient proposition. Online grocery is growing faster than ever, with supermarkets experiencing a growth in ‘top up’ stores and fleet management.

As consumers, we are migrating from using the internet like a corner shop to living on the net like a shopping centre. It’s becoming comfortable, reliable and manageable. We are less fearful, but we still need the reassurance of knowing we can get our trusted brands from a trusted store.

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