Posts Tagged ‘Retail’

Great Expectations: the Ideal and the Deal

September 4, 2012 – Digit #17

The cultural combo of a tighter economy and expanding technology has brought creative destruction to the customer experience. Out with the old, in with the new, with the consumer as the architect of re-structured expectations. What matters now? The ideal product and user/owner experience? Or a deal that makes us feel the thrill of getting more than our money’s worth?  Actually, yes and yes.

And these great expectations are giving rise to a new category of almost oxymoronic shopping hybrids. Case in point: Loehmann’s, reincarnated as an everyday bargain Barneys.

Meet Carly Zell, the new personal shopper at Loehmann’s who puts the Barneys in bargain. She acts as something of a human search engine for customers used to finding anything they want – and at the best price – with a few clicks of their fingers. And what she’s finding for them at the repositioned Loehmann’s can be the most stratospheric of designer goods: Chanel bags for $2,000 to $5,000 (a fraction of their usual price.)

Loehmann’s reflects the holy grail of customer experience now: the ideal (product and buying experience) and the deal (great price). Of course, there’s the rare case – Apple, for example – when the ideal is so ideal that the deal isn’t necessary… but those cases are the blue moons of brands.

Current SCAN findings confirm the wide expectation for the have-it-all customer experience.

The big 5 that three-quarters+ of consumers expect when buying now:
% who say very important when buying

Quality product or service 84%
Fair price 84%
Has integrity/deals honestly 77%
Respectful of customers 75%
Hassle-free experience 74%

And the list goes on… but you get the idea. Thanks to technology, customers know everything. And thanks to more limited budgets, they’re more motivated to apply that knowledge in the marketplace.

Business implications:  Now that creative destruction has re-shaped expectations about the customer experience (probably forever), it’s a good time to deconstruct your own brand buying experience and rebuild it. How do you deliver on the big 5? What are the specific components behind each one for your particular product, market and ownership experiences? Not a bad place to start for the modern, great-expectations customer.