Friday, January 16, 2009

A Christmas Perspective from the Retailers

A brief digression from the eLoyalty blogs is necessary to document a brief survey regarding customer performance during the Christmas season. A survey of 815 consumers in random telephone interviews performed by the consulting firm, Cavallino, and underwritten by The Gordman Group conducted in the weeks before Christmas found the following:
1. Price as more important than selection to most shoppers.
2. 55 percent of shoppers said they spent less in 2008 than in 2007
3. 69 percent said they would spend still less in 2009
4. Consumers said that what mattered most to them was that stores carry what they promised.
5. Consumers also wanted fair every day prices
6. Helpful sales people were also important
7. Consumers were also looking for a friendly return policy (aka Costco).
8. Consumers found discount coupons less important
9. Consumers were also not interested in loyalty programs.

The bottom line for all retailers is to notice in the previous list the key ingredients to success are having the product available at a reasonable price and providing good customer service. This is a repeat of the basics of customer loyalty and good business practice. Simply slashing prices and offering bargains is not a long term strategy and it isn't what consumers want.

The next blog will go back to the eLoyalty subject and discuss some of the basics presented in the previous blogs. In particular, I will discuss some reasons why customers will be loyal to a website and then I will pose some counter arguments to the quick answer that customers will always buy the item on the web that has the lowest cost. I offer this discussion because in a recent discussion someone tossed the "obvious" comment that people go to the web to find the lowest price. I think there is more to the web than just finding the lowest price.

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