Much of this occurrence stems from a desire to maintain brand prominence for a desired consumer group. After all, many consumers are not increasing their spending. Hence it is a fight for gaining one’s “unfair share of the wallet!”
Traditional values still prevail for many consumers who want a positive in-store experience with knowledgeable staff that can assist in sorting out products differentiation and ease of completing a transaction. However, technology has broadened the landscape with consumers being able to research and complete purchases online and via mobile devices. Research of products has expanded to the social realm. Consumers can begin their search for information online without even getting out of their pajamas. Given this behavior, the retail industry has many other factors to consider and seek other trigger mechanisms to encourage/stimulate trial and drive brand affinity.
Amazon.com is a case in point. Just look how far this online store has come in a very short period of time. The social community helped spur on additional trial. Not only has Amazon built relevancy, it also offers real value to its customer base. Remember that value isn’t always about price. It can be all-encompassing from ease of use to speed of delivery or the variety of product offerings. In the case of Amazon, one marquee service in its portfolio is free two day shipping. Yes, this is an upgraded service and many customers have paid a premium to become a Prime subscriber. This demonstrates that consumers will pay an up-charge for things they deem valuable. Plus, it builds loyalty and keeps that customer thinking Amazon first prior to going to someone else.
Other factors to consider are the importance of the social community and maintaining brand trust. The social community carries power. This community provides commentary on just about everything. Many of these opinions do influence consumers to move in a particular direction. It’s up to the brand to discern how to tap into this rich environment in an organic and transparent manner! As a best practice, don’t participate in environments where the consumer will not accept nor believe you should be in that environment. Ensure what every truism you place out in the space, if verified, are the truth. Social media can be a very unforgiving environment. So, keep it simply and don’t attempt to be “cute” and deviate from your script.
Small retail entrepreneurs can look to the larger retailers for best practices. But don’t let their size intimidate you. In most cases, their size becomes their biggest disadvantage and even a small kid on the block can outperform a large one. Additionally, being smaller allows you the ability to effect change faster and stay a few steps ahead of your competitors. Consider your best features and then look for unique ways to communicate that to consumers.
Adele Lassere is a marketing/advertising consultant with 20+ years experience, freelance writer and author of “Elements of Buying” (a self-help advertising guide), available at Amazon.com. Adele was listed as Black Enterprise’s 2016 Women of Power in Advertising & Marketing and 2013 Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org