I strongly encourage you to hear them in a 4 part series on FloorRadio aired 6/25/06 titled "What Consumers Really Think". Sonna and Lis discuss the findings from a recent Fabulous Floors/Floor Radio joint venture consumer focus group. It is fascinating and right on the mark!
Part 1 - the importance of listening to your consumers and using tools like focus groups for a complete pulse check; how floor covering consumers prepare themselves to shop for floor coverings; how they view the shopping experience; how they assess the comfort level of a retail store; how they feel about a salesperson who tries to change their minds.
- Consumers do a lot of research ahead of time.
- Consumers want salespeople to be respectful, to listen, to not rush them, to collaborate
- Too much focus on price
- Too many products to choose from --> help me make sense of the choices
- Salesperson doesn't spend enough time listening and 'interviewing' consumers
- "My house is a work in progress" --> strong emotions! "My home has got to be me, so don't try to change my mind. I know what I want."
- [Consider reading Trading Up by Micheal Silverstein; the home is at the top of the trading up list. "Americans distort their discretionary spending toward the home more than any other category.”]
- Salesperson is a reflection of the store
- Make consumer feel welcome
- Growing interest in environmental options
- Consumers are more experimental than retailers; they are curious about how different products might look. Vignettes are invaluable!
- NOTE: Marti Barletta's book Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach and Increase Your Share of the Largest Market Segment describes how important it is for women to find the perfect answer when shopping; they approach the shopping process in a less linear [i.e., the spiral path] manner than do men. So be aware of this, understand that women will take more time; listen to her, develop a relationship with her. The benefits are enormous [word of mouth referrals, shorter repeat purchase cycle].
- Look at what other stores and businesses are doing [kids' area, better parking lot, other ways to visualize product] for inspiration.