Recently I posted a blog about how consumers place value over price in their purchasing decisions. I used the blog to address the lack of value manufacturers are providing us with in their products. I would like to extend this point toward our stores as well. Many of our stores are guilty of providing us with the same lack of value but instead of it being in their products it is in their service.
I am sure as I dive into this all of you will have a particular store that comes to mind. Therefore it is easy to understand that this is a very real situation in this country. Now, keep in mind not all stores are guilty of this but identifying them and reacting toward them is what is important.
Service – the definition
Before we dive head first into this topic and the detriment it causes us as consumers we must first define “service.” It would be easy to draw the conclusion that “service” refers to the specific engagement we receive from waiters and waitresses but that is not the whole picture. For the purpose of this blog I would like to offer a definition of “service” as any action, either direct or indirect, which serves to facilitate the acquiring of a good by a consumer. As you can see, such a broad definition of service proves to hold organizations responsible for a considerable deal more than simply the people helping you directly in the store.
What can be classified as a service?
When we extend our observations beyond the immediate service of waiters and waitresses we can see service in a whole new light. This action draws department stores, hardware stores, and many others to the forefront of discussion. This could even extend to online retailers. We can look at a company’s delivery processes, shelf stocking procedures, and ordering practices. We can also start noticing the ease and quickness of checkout procedures and even parking lot cleanliness and order. Management and team leadership can also fall in line as a service an organization provides to its consumers.
As with my blog How do consumers purchase; price or value? I will provide you a simple example to illustrate that we as consumers still purchase in accordance with value and not simply on price alone. The example I will use is that of a checkout line. The process of purchasing goods is the last step in the consumer experience before the product can be enjoyed. This means the checkout line is the last experience the consumer will have with the organization. This is the last chance for an organization to make an impression which would encourage a consumer to return to the store and make future purchases.
As since this is the case why do you think businesses seem to care less about your checkout experience then what it takes to get you into the store in the first place? I am sure all of us have shopped at least once at that enormous chain store which has about 250 registers and only 4 open at any one time. I am also sure each of us has asked ourselves, and maybe those around us, why this is the case. This is the example I am going to use to illustrate our desire for value. And just as I did in my other blog I will put the consumer experience in steps that are easy to understand. I will carry you along the journey of purchasing a product in a hurry.
First things first, we have to have a need for a specific product.
This does not have to be a specific product but more importantly one that is available in a variety of different locations. I will use a gallon of milk for this example.
Step 1: We determine a need for the product. (milk)
Step 2: We decide how much we are willing to pay for the product. This is usually associated with finding the least expensive location for making the purchase. (big chain store)
Step 3: We contemplate the time we have to spend in product acquisition. If we are in a hurry we most likely have limited time available to us.
Step 4: We make the decision to purchase the product at a different location because it was faster even though the price is slightly higher.
We made our purchase decision based on value and not solely on price. We decided our available time played a role in the purchase of the product. We placed a value on the time necessary to make the purchase and decided the savings in price did not adequately compensate us for the extra time expenditure. This proves that we make purchases on value and not entirely price.
The Important Part
To tie all this together I will urge you to take action on this example. Exercise this behavior on all of your products. Base your purchases on value AND price. As consumers we have the power to control stores and the behaviors they engage in. We need to focus our purchasing with organizations which provide us with more than just products.
If we allow organizations to continue ignoring our desires we are not helping the situation. It will take all of us acting to make them realize they need to change their ways in order to retain our business.