Monthly Archives: December 2009

The more things change, the more they stay the same

It’s CyberTuesday and the results are in. I did as quick survey of colleagues and connections:  eCommerce-wise, Black Friday and Cyber Monday volume is up from last year, but average order value is generally down all over the map.

Consumers may have held off as long as possible making do with previous purchases, but their posessions have frayed, aged, or otherwise are in need of replacement. Shoppers are shopping again, so 2009 should be better than 2008.

But with acquisitiveness just plain old out of fashion, is there new hook for getting consumers to consume? Price – diva of the recession – seems to have lost her luster as the ultimate decider. Folks who have held on to their dollars want to spend them wisely if they are going to spend them at all. Product quality and better-than-average customer service are coming back into vogue.

What’s old is new again

The “new” hook was there all along: customer experience. On hiatus while Price had her unchallenged 15 minutes of fame, Experience is back as a strong decision influence. And since there is so much low-price parity, it’s Experience with a capital “E”, from online marketing and email efforts, to website experience, to customer service, both in-store and online, to shipping and return policies and performance – you name it.

Customers are savvier than ever – and I think that’s a good thing. It will be interesting to see which retailers “got the memo” and which still think customers are willing to overlook a world of hassle just to get the best price.  Stay tuned.

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