The consumer is changing. Today’s consumer is a knowledgeable, informative and a probing type of consumer as compared to the older one who took the product as and when they came. There are several advantages which the customer have today.
Increasing buying power – As we know, in a country like India, the buying power of the consumer has increased. Thus the interest of the customer towards a purchasing new product has also increased. However even with the increased buying power the customer does not just go ahead and buy the product. He actually searches for the product online and finds out more about the product by the use of social media and finally then takes his own decision. This increased buying power has actually made the customer hungrier towards knowledge such that he has the precise information before buying a particular product
Along with the increased buying power there is also an increase in the variety of available goods and services. Just have a look at the number of soaps or shampoos available for the average consumer today. You would see that the number of soaps which are there in the market would be at least five times the amount as compared to 10 years back when there were a lot fewer brands and products to deal with. Thus the consumer today has many more choices and that is why he’s becoming lesser and lesser brand conscious. The brand loyalty of the consumer is completely dependent on the marketing of the product, both online and offline, and this can be done only with the company which has deep pockets.
One of the major changes which have occurred in the past decade is the presence of the Internet. I once read a book on the zero moment of truth. I would recommend any marketing manager or brand manager to read the same. The book says that practically each and every decision of the customer nowadays is made online in advance. Even before the customer visits a retail store, he already knows why he’s there and what he’s going to buy. This is because he has already explored a ton of retail sites online. Thus external influencers of the customers are becoming more and more through online presence and social media.
Receiving and placing orders is also becoming easier. Nowadays when you are short of cash you can use an ATM. You can also use your credit cards and swipe it to receive whatever goods you are looking for. All this will practically take not more than a minute. Better still, why should you visit your local store when you can order everything online. The number of supermarkets and hypermarkets out there are actually suffering because of the increasing power of the Internet nowadays. You can order anything just by sitting at home!!
The reason why the new consumer actually holds back his purchases and gains more information before buying is because he actually gets information about each and every product and services on the internet. Let’s take a particular new movie which has been launched in the market. Within a week you would know a lot about the about the movie, whether its good or bad and whether you should go to watch it. The movie is ultimately a product for the producers and director and the actors. You could log into your Facebook account and on the wall you will see several of your friends saying whether the movie is good or not. Accordingly you make your own decision whether or not to go for the movie. Thus the social network, through word of mouth, is the one deciding whether the product will succeed or fail.
Ultimately the new consumer is just like the old consumer. He depends on others for information. But the old consumer had lesser friends and lesser people to rely on. The new consumer has the whole world wide web which consists of millions and billions of people. Any new product which has been launched, whether it be a book, a beer, a wine, a computer peripheral or a mobile, you’ll find the correct review online and hence you can make a decision. What is the new consumer. The new consumer is nothing but a bucket of information that is found on the web. But if you control the web, you can control the consumer.