Lior Arussy of the Strativity Group defines five customer types that have been shaped by the economic recession. Keeping their behaviour patterns in mind will help businesses shape product strategies to survive in these difficult times.
The Wall Street Journal recently identified 'The Just-in-Time Consumer' as a new force in the marketplace. As a result of the current economic downturn, consumers are buying fewer products in smaller packages.
Just-in-time consumers are more likely to visit shops more frequently to buy necessities. While the "just in time" trend might be new, customers of all stripes continue to face financial uncertainty and are adjusting to their behaviours to the new financial realities. It's time to ask whether clients are ever likely to return to 'normal' purchasing behaviour. And if they don't, how are businesses adjusting their own behaviours?
In addition to the just-in-time customer, several other customer types have been shaped by the current economic circumstances:
- The value or discount customer - Bargains have become the rule and not the exception for this customer.
- The mistrusting customer – Skeptical about once reliable institutions.
- The fearful customer – Existential fears hover over any transaction.
- The do-it-yourself customer – Having given up indulgences, they are more inclined to do things themselves to limit further sacrifices.
- The small indulgence customer – Substitutes lavish rewards with small indulgences.
Even if individuals haven't been directly affected by the downturn, they have witnessed layoffs among their family, friends and colleagues, and read about bleak financial news, causing more fear, doubt and uncertainty. Ignoring this state of mind will be dangerous for any company. Following the great depression of the 1930s, many consumers simply wouldn't contemplate purchasing a luxury item, even years after the economy recovered. Just shrinking your pricing and packaging may not appeal to any of these new consumer types. But showing compassion, understating and flexibility to meet their needs may do so. Now is the time to redefine your relationships with consumers to make them better and more long-lasting.
Lior Arussy is the founder and president of Strativity Group, a global customer experience research and consulting firm specialising in design, innovation and deployment of differentiating, profitable customer experiences. His latest book is Customer Experience Strategy: The Complete Guide From Innovation To Execution.