Friday, July 29, 2016

Big guy versus the little guy

I have owned my own small retail business now for almost 5 years.

I have seen it all with regard to consumer behavior.

Some want cheap and some don't mind paying more for better quality. Some only buy from local business and some shop online religiously. Everyone is different.

I am in my fifties and tend to want some customer service with my product. I don't mind pay a few dollars more if I can talk to someone and get insight about the product.

My two millennial boys who will do their own research online and then shop at the cheapest place.  My oldest son worked at Best Buy and would tell me he saw repeatedly young people going in to the store to touch and feel the product but then would go home and order it online. As a result, Best Buy now offers a match price policy with Amazon to stay alive.
Most small businesses are aware that their customer base can shop online for less; however, you often pay shipping and have to wait for that product. Many small businesses also know that consumers are impatient and want their items right away so we way that against the cost it is offered online. The trick is to not only stay competitive but offer that which online shopping doesn't. ie, customer service, answering questions, giving opinion on product lines, training on products and most importantly being able to see and "kick the tires" of a product. 

We have all heard the plea to shop local. The money stays in your local community and your money is not lining the pockets of a CEO making millions a year but rather helping a neighbor pay his mortgage or put his kids through college. It isn't just about keeping money local. It is about getting what you pay for. 

If that product you bought online doesn't meet your expectations, that is when the rubber hits the road as far as customer service and the hoops you jump through to get your situation resolved. 

So before shopping online for every product, go out and stop by a local business and pick their brain. Tell them you found something cheaper. Many times, they will match or come close to the price being offered and you get to take that product home today! 

Dan M.
Colorado BBQ Outfitters

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