Flooring The Consumer on Simple Marketing Now

Please visit Flooring The Consumer's new home on SimpleMarketingNow.com where you can subscribe to receive updates to blog articles in real time!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Mom Is In the Market for Carpet....

Actually, my Mom has been in the market for carpet for several years now, at least 4 or 5, maybe 6. But, she has postponed taking any action - as do many consumers. Why is that?

The projects:
The dining room has been the longest source of irritation: it's a public space [my parents entertain] and the carpet has faded. Plus, my Mom is tired of the color [originally a rich claret that went well with the teak furniture].

My parents' bedroom is daunting: my Dad's books and research papers tower over one end of the room. Replacing the carpet would require his active involvement, meaning that my Mom can't operate in stealth mode to get the project done.

The kitchen floor has simply uglied out. My Sister and Niece complained multiple times about how lousy it looks. That wound up being the tipping point for my Mom. That plus my Sister's willingness to be involved. It got her moving and actively considering possibilities, but not with enthusiasm.

Why not? My Mom - like a lot of consumers in North America - is an AVID shopper. That she would put off this opportunity to participate in the world of consumption highlights many of the issues consumers face when shopping for floor covering:

- the shopping experience is depressing
- the choices are dizzying and difficult to understand/visualize
- you will encounter unexpected problems!

My Mom - like many women in North America - is also a FIERCE shopper. She has bargained with the pros, purchasing hand-made persian rugs in Iran, leather goods in the bazaars of Istanbul, and many other things in between. I have seen her in action!

So, why - like so many women consumers in North America - would she deliberately put off an opportunity to shop?

The shopping experience is depressing.
This is not the first time my Mom has been in the market for carpet. It went tolerably well last time [my Mom schmoozed in Farsi with her Persian sales rep], but wasn't memorable enough to return to with gusto. [Remember Jason Jennings' comments in Mooving On To Greatness? "Great companies have figured out that satisfied customers leave."]

I offered specific store recommendations. Her reactions? "I don't like that one; the store was messy and unpleasant." "That one? Never again. He was rude and made me feel 2nd class!" Sound familiar?

So, imagine my surprise when I learned that she had found a store and was making decisions!

But, it wasn't a slam-dunk.

My Mom had noticed that one of her former carpet haunts had gone out of business [good riddance, she said!]. It had been replaced with one that looked appealing from the outside: attractive windows that conveyed a sense of fashion. She decided to go in and check it out.

A male salesperson helped her. Well, actually, he approached her, and kind of interacted with her. Hmm. Seems he was neither helpful nor nice, according to my Sister. And definitely NOT a fashion plate [per my Mom, short sleeve shirt, ugly tie and pants buckled high over his belly; an 'older' guy and condescending, too].

My Sister ran interference, picked out some samples for her to take home and they were off. Before leaving, my Mom was read the riot act: you have 48 hours to get those samples back to us, or else! [per my Mom: I felt like a criminal! I had to sign my life away for a few lousy carpet samples just to get them home and see how they might work in my house!] Ohhh! How depressing and discouraging for the consumer! What an unpleasant shopping experience!

My Mom was late returning her samples [she really didn't want to deal with that guy again!], but this wound up being a happy situation! She returned to the store and met two women with style and flair with whom she instantly bonded. One was a designer; both exuded fashion sense and sophistication. Both listened carefully to her and offered suggestions that made sense for what she wanted to accomplish. My Mom started having FUN!

Ironically, the irritating carpet samples gave this retail store an opportunity to repair the damage done in the first interaction. But imagine how much more successful and satisfying this would have been if my Mom had met these two women initially?

The lesson from this: make sure EVERYONE on your sales floor is committed to your consumer's superior service experience, that everyone projects the message you want your store to convey, that everyone knows how to listen and make the consumer feel GREAT about interacting with you. Consumers need to experience consistency in their dealings with you, and it had better be positively enjoyable!

And, make sure that everyone on your sales floor knows how to sell to women! How to communicate with consumers! Help them banish forever the hard sell mentality. Everyone will benefit!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Reminder: Please, no self-promotional or SPAM comments. Don't bother if you're simply trying to build inauthentic link juice. Finally, don't be anonymous: it's too hard to have a conversation. Thanks, CB

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...