Customers Have Needs


Years ago I learned that buying is an emotional decision. It seems no matter how much “logical” work we do, when it comes to the final decision, we’re emotional. We smell the leather seats in a new car, we see how good a jacket looks on us in the mirror, we envision how productive we’ll be with that new Mac. it’s an emotional driver that sends us into our purse or wallet for the funds to make the purchase. Shoppers have needs and their needs are emotional, not necessarily logical.

Great retailers learned long ago that merchandising their stores by need made perfect sense. Yesterday, for example, I needed something at the hardware store. When I arrived at the store the products were not set up by company name or brand. They were set up by customer need (and signed that way). If you needed to fix something, which I did, you didn’t need to plow through something you didn’t understand to find it. You went straight to the section that satisfied what you needed to fix (your emotional need).

Several months ago our team introduced a new merchandising system for Bibles. It’s based on need. Customers come into stores looking to satisfy a need and whether that need is a gift for Aunt Sally or to buy a Bible for more personal Study, it’s a need. Traditionally stores have used other systems and customers, according to much research, have been frustrated. Why? because the system didn’t meet their need. Yesterday, I made a purchase and it was easy. Imagine if I had to look in several different places with names of companies or types of products I didn’t understand? What a mess it could be for someone like me who just wanted to fix something and didn’t exactly know what I wanted. The same is true for Bibles. Many customers are frustrated because when they can’t find what they want or see signs that don’t make sense to them their need can’t easily be filled.

Our early findings are remarkable. Stores who are using the new system are selling more Bibles. Sure it takes some getting used to (which means training and patience) but the results are proving to be worth it as most stores Bible Departments experience over 20% growth. That figure not only represents higher sales, but more satisfied customers — a great objective for retailers.

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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