Warning Rant Ahead!!!
I read in the Wall Street Journal today about how buyers are using Mobile Applications to compare prices even while they are in a store. In the article a young man found a better price at Amazon and bought right on the spot. That is he purchased from Amazon while in a Best Buy store!
As I read about these kinds of shifts where buyers go to the trouble of “shopping” and then find the cheapest price I get a little frustrated. I realize some of that frustration may be me and a sign of the times but let’s look a little deeper.
I keep hearing how the consumer is upset at poor service they get from retailers. These complaints range from not being able to find a clerk to when they find a clerk getting them engaged in helping the buyer shop.
Then there is the whole idea of shopping. That is looking at a variety of products that may fill a need. Then buyers getting sales professionals to help them understand the nuances about the product. So they have gained value from the retailer and the sales person without spending a dime.
Finally after the sales professional and the retailer have invested their time in educating the buyer the buyer whips out a phone finds the cheapest price and leaves. Is it any wonder retailers are not delivering the service that buyers seek? They are not willing to pay for it. I often wonder if in our pursuit of the lowest price we are settling also for the lowest experience.
This dynamic is also played out in the B2B world with online auctions for services. I have seen instances where buyers will set up an online auction to get the lowest price. Typically this results in the lowest value.
I don’t know that I know the answer. I suspect it lies in the initial conversation, or as my coach says, “in setting the table,” with our potential buyers. We have to let them know we are not the lowest price and that we are interested in helping them solve their problems. But if their intention is to shop for the lowest price they perhaps need to look elsewhere.
Am I alone in this point of view?