Savvy Shopper or Unethical Behavior?
Date Posted: 09/24/13
One of the most frequent answers is “The internet.” Huh? The internet? Are you kidding me? The internet is arguably the greatest communication tool ever invented!
Digging a little deeper, we find that it is not really the internet that is the challenge; it is the ecommerce that is fueled by the internet. Okay, ecommerce is pretty great, too. Think of all the time and money saved!
Ahh, there’s the problem. What is a business owner to do when they sell products and services that are readily available online at lower prices? For years, the answer has been to “...differentiate yourself by honing your product knowledge and customer service...yada...yada...yada.” So you do. Yet, time and again, the customer wants to “think about it”. They go home and googles the product and buys the least expensive offer from a vendor they know nothing about. You sold the product, but some faceless website got the sale. Ouch.
Which brings me to the title question: Are these savvy shoppers or are they engaged in unethical behavior? I guess it depends on which side of the credit card transaction you are on.
As consumers, we all want to get a deal. But does the act of getting a deal make buyers immune from stealing? That’s right. It is a form of theft to intentionally shop around to gather the details needed to make a buying decision and then go elsewhere to buy based solely on price. The behavior is not the same as shopping around and comparing features and prices for a good deal. That’s a savvy shopper.
It is unethical to suck a merchant dry of all their product knowledge and then not reward their hard work with a purchase from them. In many cases, buying from the seller who spent all the time and effort to provide the product details may be more expensive. As the sellers, we know that the value we provide in our intellectual knowledge – the rub is how do we convince buyers of that same value?
As a business owner, your big challenge is how do you ensure the potential buyers don’t suck you dry of all your knowledge and go online to buy? Certainly, commodity products – those that need no specialized customer service to buy or sell – are the exact types of products that the internet was born to sell. But for those business owners who offer products and services that required salesmanship (in the best definition of it!)
Here are some ideas:
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