Finweek English Edition - - COVER -

- 1. THEY ARE SMART, CAU­TIOUS, LOYAL AND VER­SA­TILE: Many con­sumers are in­creas­ingly be­ing faced with a buy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence or a com­mit­ment to spend money where they have prob­a­bly spent a huge amount of time re­search­ing that prod­uct on­line. So when that con­sumer rocks up to a store of their choice, to buy a prod­uct of their choice, they prob­a­bly know more than the per­son sell­ing the prod­uct. Where pre­vi­ously the sales­per­son had 15 min­utes or so to con­vince the con­sumer to buy the prod­uct, this new species can com­plete that trans­ac­tion in a minute just by virtue of the fact that they have done the 15 min­utes worth of self-sell­ing them­selves.

A num­ber of re­tail­ers have wised up to the evolved con­sumer. Th­ese par­tic­u­lar re­tail­ers, of­ten those who have web­sites that ad­dress the i nfor­ma­tion re­quire­ments of the con­sumer, have come to the con­clu­sion that there is lit­tle point to having nu­mer­ous sales­peo­ple on the floor be­cause con­sumers ar­rive rel­a­tively well ed­u­cated. The con­verse ap­plies to re­tail­ers who don’t have the same ex­pec­ta­tion of the amount of work done be­fore­hand by con­sumers shop­ping at their stores. They have a very dif­fer­ent for­mat where a mul­ti­tude of sales­peo­ple on the floor will be wait­ing for the con­sumer, pre­pared to take their hand and guide them through the store and the de­ci­sion-mak­ing and buy­ing process.

Be­cause con­sumers have had the op­por­tu­nity to do a l ot of re­search be­fore­hand, there is less chance to do im­pulse buy­ing. And con­sumers end up be­ing quite ra­tio­nal about the process. They know the price, the avail­abil­ity, the model; they’ve dis­cov­ered what works best for them and in so do­ing, it makes the shop­ping trip al­most laser-like in its ef­fi­ciency.

“Con­sumers are now tak­ing con­trol; they are much more cal­cu­lated in how they go about choos­ing their prod­ucts. It is not through fo­cused self-re­flec­tion that con­sumers ended up in this po­si­tion; they came into this po­si­tion un­con-

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