Before we get into how we can get to convert a shopper into a consumer or buyer lets understand the basic difference between a shopper and a consumer. Every consumer is a shopper just before he/she became a consumer. The true difference is that a consumer has picked up a particular brand/product since he/she is confident about the product/service performance over other competing product/service. The shopper represents why he/she enters a category where a consumer represents why he/she has bought a particular brand based on self-perception and attitude. But importantly the same person in everyday life is a consumer and a shopper and shifts back-and-forth between the two sides every day.
Let me start with my experience:
I was taking a leisurely walk in the park and it’s a perfect spring weather where leaves are flying and trees are swaying to the tune of the wind. And suddenly I got a whiff of pure coffee and when I looked around I found a small coffee-house just besides the park. I walked towards the coffee-house and the smell got stronger and better. The coffee-house has a small porch that has beautiful handcrafted wooden table and chairs for its customers and on the table it has a placard “Order a hot coffee and have a muffin of your choice free”. The moment I sat down a woman walks out with small coffee testers (one shot) of various coffee types and politely asks that “Sir would you want to try our different blends of coffee? And all of sudden I realized that from a leisurely walk I am now drinking hot coffee with muffins.
I think considering the situation the coffee shop owner is doing an amazing job at marketing his shop by understanding the consumers demand even before it creeps into his/her mind. Here he has actually turned a shopper into a consumer or a buyer. Now this seems all incidental and easy but I think is a planned strategy that perhaps even a non-well educated coffee shop owner executes well and gets his share of profits.
Imagine the things that could go wrong in the same situation as the owner as perfected his 4Ps to convert shoppers to consumers.
Visualize the coffee shop in a dilapidated condition with walls also not painted well and not outside sitting or porch. No one there to welcome the shopper or the woman who came in was an old woman who wasn’t dressed well. Or that the shop offered free muffins or the coffee tasting wasn’t there, now would you go and actually spend time there from your busy schedule……doubtful.
The shop owner perfected his art of making his shop desirable to perfection. He ensured that every touch point that the shopper interacts with is enticing him closer to make the deal. Let’s start right from the place, it was in such a place that it’s at the far end of the walking trail and the coffee smell came over to the walking trail. Secondly he has the shop made in a rustic way overlooking the park and importantly have a porch that it’s connected to nature with its wooden artistic chairs. Finally have a good-looking woman welcoming and the sampling with promotion that sealed the deal. Hence it’s not always about the big billboard or a TVC but if the basics are done, the right product sells.
Yes I know some may feel that there is no competition and hence no marketing needed but this is also a strategy I would call as Blue Ocean Strategy where the owner realized the potential of the area and setup shop there with competition he will have to start different activities to make sure his sales happens but still if the basics are wrong then marketing won’t help. Imagine having a coffee shop near the entrance of the park, would it really compete….am afraid not.
So from a shopper I became a consumer and now in fact am the brand ambassador for the coffee shop since I recommend all my friends and family that one should visit this park and at the end of the walking trail remember to visit that particular coffee shop.
Details of how to craft a plan to convert a shopper into a consumer in PART II of the blog.