Monday, 9 December 2013

Consumers are a gifted bunch

This year with many consumers cutting back on Christmas spending, the stores and marketing managers have got their work cut out thinking up new and innovative ways of getting us to splash our cash around. When asked in October and November this year more than half the people taking part in an online poll said that they planned to spend less this Christmas and 14% had decided to make homemade gifts. Sainsbury’s have got in on the act with their Christmas television advert made up of over 360 home videos of the public showing clips of how they spend their festive season. Lakeland have been increasing their stock of “make to give” products such as bottles for making flavoured oils and chocolate moulds. Prezzybox have come up with candle making packs and even a dog-treat making kit.

Here’s one I made earlier…….

I can’t help thinking that this is not really true to the idea of the homemade gift and can work out more expensive. Searching around the charity shops can produce a range of attractive bottles that can easily be filled with virgin olive oil and some sprigs of rosemary or basil from the garden at a fraction of the cost of a specially bought pack. However, the retailer has to be fairly canny in times of recession to get hold of our disposable income particularly as only a quarter of shoppers polled plan to visit the High Street for their gifts, with the majority using the internet.
Retailers should also look at the customer service they provide as well as try to price match and build on the advantage they have in offering easier browsing of goods. For some department stores, it would help if the signposting was a little clearer, and the sales staff were easily identified by wearing a recognisable uniform and a name badge that is slightly larger than the size of the native British ladybird.

Every sale tells a tale

Word of mouth advertising from consumers on their favourite stores and brands can really make an impact on sales figures, and the marketing companies are working with retailers to get them to really engage with their customers. This form of advocacy is higher in industries where services or products tend to evoke a more emotional response from the consumer. The top UK brands that people advocate the most are VW for the car industry, iPhone for Smartphones, Aldi for groceries, Tesco Mobile for mobile telecoms and First Direct for Retail Banking. Apparently people feel closer to their smartphones and their cars rather than their toothpaste for example. 

I look forward to the advert that aims to engender an emotional response towards a tooth cleaning product but would much prefer to see great customer service and a willingness to help each time I walk into a High Street outlet. I also don’t want to waste half of my time, and use up more parking fees, trying to track down the various products and departments within a large store. My Christmas  High Street wishes, amongst others, is for better signage, more recognisable staff and obviously toothpaste that brings out the inner child, let iRateiSlate know your consumer wish this Yuletide- we’re listening!


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