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The unpredictable shopper

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Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Fairy Dharawat

All shoppers come now under this category as many find retailers themselves in the vulnerable position of not able to decode the shopper. A shopper may spend a thousand bucks on a mundane item which would indicate no peculiar habit to learn from. The influencing factors are changing like the changing seasons. Just think about yourself what kind of brand is going to make you shell out that insane amount of money?

Apparently yes, brands speak; they give the individuality to the shopper. But don’t think this is easy for these big brands as they have done their bit to understand the shopper and act on it. Grunge is hit due to the Twilight franchise (Twilight Saga – film series) and so is the trend of easy and relaxing casuals. Trends aren’t always under the control of the brand makers.

All shoppers are unpredictable; this is what helps all shoppers unite. This is like a nightmare for a new business venture; “Hey I want to open a business, and I have invested so and so amount in my business plan.” Does anyone talk of shoppers and customers? Do shoppers and customers come into the business plan? Well they should don’t you think? And they should play major role in the business plan. Right?

We should try to understand the shopper by observing them and monitoring their behaviour.

You could try it for a month and see if you can identify different types of consumer behaviour:

· type of shoppers visiting the various shops

· frequency of visits

· purchase orders – is it less or more

· the interactivity between the personnel and customer

· The wanderer shopper – who just moves on.

Now based on these insights I can say I will try to have a chatty personnel for this position of selling to customers.

Usually in a chemist old people or those come who need medicines for some one not feeling well. A counter person who sympathises this and is sweet and creates a relationship with customer, that’s a very good sign. So this is what I would do first.

What kind of shoppers visit?

Old people – be nice, be very very nice, some old people are generous, and they like familiarity so if they come to your store may be they will be coming to you for a longer haul, so be nice. If you are not there is always another store if you are lucky with only chemist store which may be unlikely.

Young people – stock what they are likely to buy. This could be energy drinks or chocolate bars. May be you can stock some comics too. I will come again if a chemist stocks comic books. This is a wild suggestion, like I would like this. Ask what else your target group might buy and even if it’s not what you normally sell, consider it.

Middle aged – these are always on a time constraint, you can direct them to what they require in the minimum time. They would appreciate your help, but usually they do know what they want. In this case the middle aged shopper will be happy if you stocked all he is likely to want in a neat pile which is easy to locate. Time is important too, less time spent is more important to them.

The wanderer – likes to look around. Try to tempt them into buying something. Even a small purchase is better than no purchase at all.

Lets face it, nobody likes to go to chemist, but if we can gather this much insight from the chemist store, imagine how much insight you can find, if you carry out a serious observation exercise?

The above example has been fictitious in nature, but useful. You should think about your customer right from the start and make your business plan with the customer in mind. In my example, I have used a chemist’s store. A chemist store sells products of a personal nature and so be personal with the customer, talk about the products and offer advice. Some chemists even go to doctors surgeries and offer advice to patients, this brings them into the store as they search for a retailer that they know and trust with their personal or intimate problems.

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