Consumers Looking Beyond Big Box Prices

Discussion
Jul 09, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson


According to the Star Tribune, consumers may be beginning to demonstrate
a willingness to pay more for goods if retailers offer them “knowledgeable service,
an interesting selection and a pleasant shopping experience.”


Bob Kizer, group vice president for client services for the market research
company, WalkerInformation said, “We believe folks are becoming more discerning
in what they can get from their relationship with their retailer. Whether it’s
the atmosphere, the sales associates, fast checkout — consumers want to be
made to feel special. If price were the only issue, we’d all be buying from
flea markets and garage sales.”


Lillian Maresch, a consumer psychologist, told the Star Tribune, “People
are yearning for that high touch after so many years of high-tech. When you
get consumers talking about service, they are very vocal and articulate.”


Moderator’s Comment: Are low prices and superior service
mutually exclusive? How are superior customer service organizations developed?


Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles had it right. It isn’t
enough to have happy customers anymore, you need to create Ravings Fans if you
want to sustain your advantage.


A retailer profiled in the Star Tribune article, Creative
Kidstuff, has apparently learned this lesson. The company’s president Roberta
Bonoff said, “I hear over and over that people come to us because they know
when they ask a question, they are going to get an informed answer, as opposed
to being pointed someplace. There’s a product differentiation; we have a commitment
to quality products. There’s the environment we create. We try to make our stores
fun and alive and happy, with lots of positive energy.”

[George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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