August 20, 2007 by Colin
Yeah, you know me. I’m the guy or gal in the aisle, leaning over my Blackberry or Treo.
By the time you shuffle over to ask “if I’m alright?” it will be all over. Your chance to influence my buying decision will have evaporated.
Forget that after-hours training from the manufacturer. Forget the features card you keep in your back pocket. You had a chance to be the professional. To be the expert.
You could have helped me evaluate features and reliability. You could have offered honest opinions about the brand and the product, identified benefits and weaknesses among competing products.
Instead, I turned to Google. Or CNet. Or Consumer Reports. I txted a friend who just bought one. I emailed a buddy who had some things to say about that brand. I’ve already sent a picture to my mom and she doesn’t like the cut.
You’ve lost the advantage. Your bosses paid the money to drive me to your store through advertising, yellow pages ads, paid placements and covert word of mouth. And you pissed it away in those few minutes.
The days of spoon feeding information to customers are over. We can carry our personal, professional and technical network around in our pockets, and you won’t beat that unless you’re faster, better informed than you are now, and more willing to compete on price and features.
The irony is, I found your store by looking it up online. Your paid yellow pages ad was the first result on my BlackBerry or Treo screen. I looked at your flier – online – while standing on the sidewalk outside.
You paid all that money to drive me through the door. And then you hit me with old fashioned retail placement and marketing. Take a hint from the insurance industry: they are willing to serve up 5 competitor’s rates just to convince a consumer to stick with them.
If a bunch of actuaries can figure it out, why not you, the intrepid retailer? ‘Cause the enabled consumer is not going away.
Oh – and when we’ve made a decision without your help, don’t offer us the extended warranty. I REALLY hate it when a retailer offers to bet me that my new product will break right as the warranty expires. Shows real confidence in the product, and just confirms in my mind that you’ll squeeze me for every last cent.
[tags] retail sales, in store promotion, sales training [/tags]