I pretty much suck at golf. Actually, I’m not horrible but it seems like I can never put it all together. When I am hitting my driver well, my putting is off; when my short game is working, my irons don’t show up. Think about your “business game”: Is it all coming together? If you are going to maximize your opportunities in this industry, you have to figure out how to get it all working at the same time. Consider this from the consumer’s perspective:
The Learning Phase: We know, through research, that most consumers who are interested in purchasing a mattress will start to watch the paper for deals, and listen to television and radio advertising more closely. They’ll ask their friends, co-workers, and family what they think about their own mattresses, and, of course, go online to do some real research.
- As a brand, are you present in this phase?
- If so, are you being helpful or are you just screaming at them with advertising?
- What is the touch point the consumer has with your store or brand?
- What will their peer group say about you?
- Have you really sat down to talk to your team about what the consumer is wanting and/or looking for in this phase?
- Are you providing good answers for them and making their work easy?
The Shopping Phase: By now, consumers have passed an initial judgment on your product and are in the store to see what you have to offer.
- Is your consumer pleasantly surprised by what they see?
- Is there a wow moment for them in that initial reaction? If not, why?
- Do you look like everybody else out there?
- Did you deliver on the brand promise they saw during the learning phase?
- Are they going to leave the store, go home and tell someone what happened on their shopping trip because it made such an impact (either positively or negatively)?
- Have you ever had that kind of retail experience?
- Think about what happened afterwards. Did your experience drive you to or from a purchase?
Post-Sale Phase: The problem with our product is that it is very tough for consumers to really know if they are going to like it when they get it home. Think about this one. There is a really big chance they could end up feeling buyer’s remorse for the purchase they made from you.
- How are you going to minimize that potential problem?
- In the shopping phase, did you try to convince them that your INTENTION is to help them solve their problem?
- If so, do they still feel the warm fuzzy feeling they did when they decided to give you their money? Or did you just take them on a first date, get what you wanted and never call them again?
You can hit a home run in the learning phase, but if you mess it up in the shopping phase, you can lose the deal. You could also be brilliant in the learning phase AND shopping phase then fall flat after the sale, causing your customer to never refer anyone to your product or store. We have to be good on all fronts if we want to drive our business. Speaking of, I think I’ll fire up some Wii golf to work on my short game.
Are you creating a consistent message and experience for the consumer as it relates to your product or store? Who does a good job with this outside of our industry? What are the biggest challenges in making this happen? What are you thinking?
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.