There are products out there that just sell like hot cakes, many of them because they bring the consumer exceptional value.
This value can be functional like the iPhone; it can be price-based like "house brand" products; it can also be value that is driven by a purpose like an insurance you would buy if you purchased a vehicle.
But there is a breed of product which has an "X" factor which causes them to fly off the shelves. These are products that "have you at 'hello'" where one look at the item is followed very quickly by a purchasing transaction - so fast that you wonder how you forgot reaching for your wallet.
I don't tend to have these purchasing "moments" very often but Mrs Bell does and, for that matter, so do my children (although confectionery from a certain Avenue-based sweet shop probably still fills many needs for the kids, as they get older their purchasing habits change).
When marketing your business, particularly in retail, you need to ensure that you understand your target market and seek out the one who makes the "buying decision" – or better still, the one who makes quick and affirmed buying decisions. So, presentation of your product is crucial, particularly those which are purchased on being sighted by the buyer – be it in a window display, advertising material or the net.
The X factor has also been called the "awwww" factor.
The "awwww" factor comes in many forms and, in my observations of the buying behaviour of my significant other, I find that it raises itself out of the blue and often at times when I consider the bank account is safe from challenge. The "awwww" factor is closely related to the similar but equally as powerful "it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine" factor which tends to occur for Mrs Bell when passing the windows of the fabulous Whanganui businesses which have made an art-form out of translating their products on display into good business.
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But the ultimate "I see it and therefore I must have it" moment I have ever seen occurred in a pet shop. And when it kicked in, the rationale of economics, budgets and the ongoing "management" costs of the product concerned quickly flew out the window – even quicker than the speed at which the credit card left the purse. So strong was this curious phenomenon that it also rendered the purchaser totally deaf to the protestations of their spouse.
Are these purchases which are effectively emotive necessarily good purchases? Not really; a recent spring clean (quite why these always tend to occur in our house in autumn is curious at best) was evidence of money wasted on a whim. However, others involve products from which we truly have obtained the most use and enjoyment. And, as for the dog, even someone as initially sceptical as me now sees the value.
Most purchasing decisions have emotion tied to them, from performing a function that saves you time, to having the product be fit for purpose, to just being plain lovely. The secret for the businessperson is to understand the experience which drives that purchase – from there you can connect effectively with the customer.
* Russell Bell is a Whanganui business consultant and strategist. If you want assistance with marketing your business call him on 021 244 2421.