Before getting my feet wet in advertising, I spent many years peddling consumer electronics for a large consumer electronics company that shall remain nameless, but rhymes with Vest Try. Day in and day out I would help countless customers make smart buying decisions. This experience taught me to spot a prosumer, consumer, or novice consumer as soon as they walked through the door. Being able to identify these types of shoppers allowed me to not only save myself time, but to speak to them in the voice they needed to hear (whether they realized it or not). Here’s the textbook guide to their key traits:
1. Hold some strong brand loyalties
2. Make research-driven purchases
3. Know exactly what they are looking for before they walk in the door
1. Looking for the perfect balance of price and performance
2. Need reinforcement from a “smart friend”
3. Comfortable with big brands
1. Know they need something, just not sure what it is yet
2. Not afraid of a bargain brand
3. Can be the hardest sell of them all
What’s it like encountering these people in a store? I’m glad you asked.
Dealing with the prosumer was always a nightmare of mine. This arrogant know-it-all would come not so much to shop (they typically did this online), but more so to show off their knowledge and waste your time debating Mac vs. Windows or Intel vs. AMD. Anti-virus? They always had a free, more secure option than what you were offering. Service plan? They know how to fix every problem under the sun. If you’re going to try and make an ad that speaks to these people, you’d better make it chock-full of specs, buzzwords, and hi-res imagery.
Your typical consumer, on the other hand, was much more pleasurable to deal with. With these shoppers I could have genuine conversations, and they would generally take my advice. Yes, I’d spend a lot of time answering questions and showing different options, but oftentimes they were the friendliest of the bunch. I could always relate what I had seen or experienced to what their needs were, and they would usually purchase any service plan or anti-virus I recommended. Making their lives simpler and more secure was the easiest way to sell them on a product.
Last, but not least, the novice consumer. These folks almost always had a look of bewilderment on their faces as they entered the store. Not only would they ask the same questions over and over again, but all the marketing buzzwords and product specs would also confuse them. To make both their lives and mine easier, all specs, hype, and buzzwords would get thrown out the window. Instead I would tell them how the product would affect their lives in a positive way. “It’s cheap enough to where your wife won’t divorce you, yet powerful enough for your kids to play games on.”
The most important thing I learned working retail for all those years? You can’t win ‘em all, but you sure as hell can give it your best try.
Written by Tobi Whaley« Back to Blog