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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quality Vs. Quantity

My recent trip to go shopping for household items got me thinking. It made me realize what I, as a consumer, not just a salesperson, look for in a product. And what it is that I look for in a retail chain, that I believe can add value to my busy days. I've always been a sort of quality over quantity shopper. Don't get me wrong, though. I do love a great bargain, but only if it's a product I know I already like, and am satisfied that I'll use it just as much as another one with a higher price. Here's what really got to me about my earlier trip to a famous retail chain. This is a place I have been visiting frequently, and I realized that it is my favorite store! And no, it's not where I work. Although the company I work for is at the top of my list, too! Here's what I have discovered about my shopping habits that I think reflect what most consumers are looking for......

1) Value for the money
A product that's the finest available for the price. This is what a consumer should be looking to achieve. When you're only focused on quantity, you may accumulate more items, but how many of those items will you actually see give you a return for your investment? i.e., if you never use an item you paid $4.00 for, then you are not getting a return on your investment of $4.00, because you would need to use that item at least once to justify spending that amount. On an $80.00 item, you'd need to use that item 20 times to justify spending that amount. Even more so with higher priced items, to make sure you're really going to get your use out of bigger ticket items. 

2) Quality (a product that will last, and will give the consumer their money's worth)
Most of the time, you do get what you pay for. Some folks have to learn this the hard way, when the item they purchased starts to fall apart after just using it a few times. Then, they realize that, if they had only spent a little bit more, they could've gotten the one they really wanted. And, it probably wouldn't be falling apart right now.

3) A one-stop shop
If a retail chain offers a place to buy so many items on one place, this is the way to go for most shoppers. The truth is that most of us are willing to spend a little more on a couple items, if it means that shopping for everything in one place will save us valuable time. The saying, "time is money," has never been so relevant.

4) A quick and reasonably effortless purchase
Don't you just love it when you're ready to check-out, and there's someone available to assist you promptly? I mean, let's face it, when you're ready to go, you're ready to go. You want to move on to the other hundred and one things you need to get done today.....

5) A good return policy
Unfortunately, returns are inevitable. And although I've been on the opposite side of the desk, feeling like someone stuck a knife in my heart when someone returns something I sold to them, I understand that it happens. I love it when a salesperson accepts a return with grace, and offers to help me find something else. And allowing a consumer to return within a reasonable amount of time is always a plus! Ninety days is standard now, and that's more than reasonable.

6) A reasonably priced product 
An item that is within a normal spectrum, while still maintaining quality, will win the customer's business. If you can offer it even a few cents, or dollars lower than your competition, that's even better. But you'd be amazed at how many consumers are willing to overlook an average price if they feel they are getting a better value in some way for that amount. The same applies to the way you sell. What's your differentiator?

7) Good customer service
Or I should say, the higher quality of customer care, the better these days. Whether on a small or large scale, your clients need to know you are taking care of them. That you really care about their needs as consumers. And the aim shouldn't be just to be good, but great!

8) A good location (with security)
 I am absolutely ecstatic that this place has a security guard now, and the solicitors and loiterers keep their distance when I want to enter my favorite store. A big thumbs up!

9) Items in stock
Well stocked shelves, racks, and variety of items available really make a difference. 
Or at least a time frame when the item, or comparable items will be available. Most consumers want to buy what they need as soon as possible, but if a relatively good time frame is available, will be willing to come back again to make a purchase.

10) A quick check-out
Again, any company or individual who values my time will most likely gain my business. I love it when I'm able to pay for my items promptly.

All of this can be found at your local Target store. Oh Target, how I love thee....:)

1) What do you, as a consumer, look for in a retail chain? 
2) What keeps you coming back to your favorite store(s)?
3) What are the qualities that keep you coming back to you favorite salespeople, and continuing to use their products?

Thanks for stopping by......CC

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