As usual, Seth Godin’s blog has made me think. I just finished reading this post Two halves of the value fraction which has made me think again about what people are looking for.
I am the type of customer that looks for value most of the time. I don’t mind paying more for an item if I think that it will last longer, perform better, be softer, etc. It is rare that I just shop on price, because in my opinion what I buy at a dollar store will usually disappoint me.
Right now we are dealing with people shopping in a down economy, and while price is an issue, I think that most customers are shopping more for value. Frankly, if someone came to me and was trying to shop solely for price, I would not be able to help them. I think that if you are not buying something that you will throw away a day later, there is no good reason to shop on price alone. People are holding off buying things right now that they can wait to buy, but if their tire blows on their car, like mine did last week, they are going to buy the one that will last the longest or at least the one that will last the longest within their budget.
The mechanic kept in touch with me, called me when he said he would, and had the tire on my car in less time than I expected. He even came out to my car, got the damaged tire out, and took it into the shop for me. I will definitely go back there.
Most of us cannot sell products on price alone, so maybe if we are finding the competition fierce, we can add a little bit of service to increase the value. Be aware though, if you add service you will not be able to take it away again once the economy improves. You need to commit to the service you can provide to the customer for the long term.