June 14, 2010
Yes, there is definitely a new consumer. They have a whole new sense of value and new habits formed during the recession. Quantifying value is key at all price levels now including luxury. The new consumer is still uncertain. Technically the crisis is over but there remains a great sense of fear. They are in no rush to make major purchases. But at the same time, they want to shop, especially for their home. So there are two conflicting parallel trends-fear and pent up demand. A growing number of consumers are tired of cutting back and are ready to splurge.
Quantifying and demonstrating value is paramount today. Demand must be created, aggressively. The consumer attitude now is “Convince me I need this. Otherwise, I’m not showing up.” Selling has to relate back to the emotions when it comes to kitchen and bath remodeling. So you also have to always be helping prospects envision their lifestyles and the benefits of spending time at home with family and friends.
Technology and innovation sell now. This is one category where consumers are willing to spend, providing it is true innovation. Hands-free faucets, simple but technologically advance cooking, mirrors with TV’s in them or remote controlled toilet seats are just a few good examples of this.
The importance of brand has changed. While the importance of brand varies by category, consumers are not thinking so much about premium or designer brands. Shoppers don’t want excess or over consumption. They want to feel responsible and as though they are getting the best value. In some categories, they have traded down to mid-price levels and found they were perfectly satisfied. So don’t assume there are any must-have brands in the kitchen or bath equation. Prove the value of the brand.
Social media and online presence count more than ever. According to How American Shops Everyday, 37% of those surveyed use the Internet primarily to information on products and services before buying in stores. For that reason, an up-to-date and compelling online presence is critical. Part of that is community, social media and online reviews and success stories.