Consumerism… Need vs. Want

Need is only a small part of why shoppers buy things. Want, an emotion-based response, is also a large part of the equation. Because of this, it’s up to the buyers and merchandisers of your retail store(s) to understand both the need and want of your consumer. Finding balance between the two can enhance your overall sales and help you establish a relationship with loyal and dedicated customers. The first step in doing this is to understand the difference between what consumers need versus what they want.

Identifying ‘Need’ and ‘Want’ As seasons change, many consumers start to think about a change in their wardrobes. Some consumers may have gained or lost some weight and NEED something new, while others follow the latest trends and really WANT a new coat. These examples represent two different categories and are just a small sampling of the many types of consumers that exist. As retailers, it’s important to understand just who your audience is. That is, does he or she NEED your product or do they simply WANT it?

Support the product with Marketing and Merchandising. Once you have identified the type of product you are selling, support it with marketing and merchandising that will help capture the audience you believe it will be sold to. Good ways to support a trendy fashion item might be to reinforce it is as such through use of its magazine PR tears and, of course, great visual merchandising. Make sure your sales team is educated on the reasons a customer may NEED a certain product as well as why someone should simply WANT it. Most importantly, make sure they know how to listen to and understand your consumers so that they can make the sale according to the consumer’s wants and needs. Is it a “must have” because it’s a hot trend or is it filling a specific consumer need?

Each consumer is different. Each sales pitch should be uniquely tailored to a consumer’s needs and wants. In a competitive marketplace, recognizing these points is important for making smart, educated decisions in your marketing, merchandising and product purchases. Listening and reacting to consumer purchasing trends in your business can help give you an edge. Don’t ignore the crucial role that consumers play in your success. The decisions they make relative to whether they NEED something you sell or really WANT something you have make all the difference in the success of your business. — by Brian Thompson, Horny Toad Director of Sales