The need for smart consumers
During the Christmas period, I worked for two days in one of our stores. Public is the country’s leading retailer in terms of videogame sales and therefore a single day in one of its stores can offer very valuable feedback and knowledge. I had the chance to greet, chat, listen to, consult and serve hundreds of consumers within less than 14 hours. Consumers of various ages and genders, with different backgrounds, knowledge of the subject, intentions and of course budget. This kind of interaction offered me an experience that I haven’t had before within the past 10 years and that is because I had the opportunity to get in touch with Greek consumers and not just learn about them from Excel sheets, pie charts and PowerPoint presentations.
I have been following all the reports and charts regarding the Greek videogame market and I have to admit that it has been an interesting thing to do all over these years. Where else could somebody have a top10 with at least one PS2, PS3 and PS4 title included? I was looking forward to meet the consumers who drove the sales to this point and eventually formed these charts. I wanted to watch them, to observe them from the moment they entered the store: where they’d go, who they’d speak to, how and under what circumstances they’d make their final decision.
I figured out that there are two types of consumers: the ones who know from the very first moment they enter a store what they want and those who are not quite sure or haven’t made up their mind yet regarding their purchase. There’s nothing really to say about the first ones; they’re the “hello and goodbye” type of customers who have already made their research, found out the game or the console they want to purchase and sometimes they’ve even checked for the market prices online. Now, as for the other type, they are the “let’s talk about it” guys, the ones who are willing to discuss their purchase. They often don’t know the exact reason they’re in the store. Of course they want to buy a game but after that, it’s chaos. In such cases it’s totally up to the assistant to help them leave the store happy. He has to find out the perfect game for them, the game that will bring them back to the store because “they were absolutely satisfied the last time they were there”.
I have to admit that I enjoyed this type of customers; chatting with them was like playing a puzzle game: I was trying to find out what their favourite games were, what systems or what kind of computers they have, even the ages of their children, grandchildren or nephews (and then try to explain the PEGI rating system) if the purchase was intended for them. Every single such case was unique and I loved it; at the end of the day I was equally satisfied, full and happy with the customers I had offered my help to but some questions came up: why did all these consumers come to the store ready to make a 50-60€ purchase but were absolutely clueless? Couldn’t they have been informed before they departed for the store so that they could arrive there with their minds made up? All these people surf the internet, watch TV, listen to the radio, read the press. The retail industry should focus its efforts not only to selling products and services but to also better inform its customers so that they become savvier and smarter. Smart customers equal smart shopping and nowadays, everything with a “smart” in the front brings back a hell of a lot of money.