Few consumers shop according to lowest price - report

12th Jan 2011

Less than one in five UK consumers make in-store purchasing decisions based solely on the lowest price but instead factor how positive the overall shopping experience is into the equation.

According to a survey of 2,210 consumers by customer experience agency RetailEyes, 83% are looking for added-value for their money when shopping on the high street and only 17% for as low a price as possible.

Tim Ogle, the firm’s chief executive, said that, despite the VAT hike, which was leading many retailers to introduce aggressive discounting and promotions, such activity was not only unsustainable into the long-term but was also not necessarily the best way to attract and retain customers.

"Obviously with their margins being squeezed by rising costs, retailers need to find cost-effective ways to add value – one of which is through exceptional customer service. Customers are subconsciously running value equations throughout their entire experience and that includes more than just price. It includes the whole experience," he added.

This meant that it was frontline staff who were committed to making every consumers’ experience a positive one that made individual retailers really stand out from the crowd.

"Get the overall customer experience right and retailers can expect to see the results positively impact the tills. Get it wrong, however, and shop staff who see their job as ‘just a job’ can have a negative impact, destroying a retailer’s reputation just by simply ignoring customers," Ogle said.

As a result, he said that the first rule of customer service was always to be polite to shoppers. "It doesn’t cost a thing, but poor manners can cost you your business," Ogle pointed out.

Greeting customers as soon as they got in the door would mean that they were more likely to stay longer and spend more money, while dealing with aggressive behaviour in a calm manner and treating shoppers with understand and empathy would disarm them, enabling staff to turn the situation to their advantage.

Finally, it was vital to gain customer feedback to tackle areas of poor service and rebuild a relationship with unhappy consumers, Ogle said.

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