How To Move Your Customer From Good Enough To Your Premium Product

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It seems that comparison shopping, discounting, and getting the best price are all that drive customers anymore.

Abandon retail sales training and put the money in omnichannel so you can reap the benefits is what conventional wisdom mistakenly tells retailers of all sizes.

But in their quest for the lowest price, shoppers have often missed the concept of premium products. And so have store employees...

Take Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck. A salesman said, “It’s functional wine. That’s the best description I can give.” When the consumer settles for generic wine that can get them drunk, how will the wine merchant ever get new customers to explore wine’s vast variations and subtleties? Same with the best coffees and chocolates.

When a 72 dpi photo of a magnificent sunset is altered and posted on Instagram anyway, what will happen to the budding Ansel Adams out there without a trip to the camera store?

Instead of searching for the best possible product, consumers are increasingly looking for ones that meet their needs and for the least expensive option.

In short, the American consumer seems to be in full retreat from the trend covered in the once-landmark book Trading Up: Why Consumers Want New Luxury Goods, where we were told that everyday objects that cost more also mean more to the average consumer.”

Now, it seems extraordinary products mean less to the average consumer.

Why is that?

Lazy salespeople. Lazy department managers. Lazy visual merchandising. Bean counters at every level, thinking they can do more with less.

This has led to the idea of a premium product being lost on Millennial generation shoppers. And employees…

The problem for retailers is how to move thrifty shoppers, who have more in common with Boomers grandparents' sometimes miserly ways, from a product that is good enough to a premium product that will better satisfy their long-term wants and needs.

Anyone on their feet knows the cheapest shoes you buy are the most expensive. And the most expensive, the cheapest. That’s because when your feet hurt and get fatigued from excessive heat in man-made materials, that pain travels up your legs to your back, neck, and arms.

But if no one in a shoe store ever explains that to you, you keep buying the cheapest crap without a wit of knowledge of what you are doing to yourself. Or your own happiness.

Online retailers have managed to redefine quality as the lowest cost.

Selling a premium product demands more from a retailer than attaching a hangtag of features. Instead, a retail sales training program must educate your sales force about the important differences that a premium product delivers.

In particular, a company’s retail sales training should point out the best points about the quality of your premium products:

  • Durability - They last significantly longer
  • Versatility - More features mean it can be used for more than one purpose
  • Quality - The product is better to use, taste, or otherwise experience
  • Ease of Use - A quality product should be more intuitive to use.
  • Flexibility - Premium products provide options when using a product
  • Convenience – Less hassle with warranties if something does go wrong

The most important lesson to be learned from the points above is not to allow your sales staff to succumb to the premise that a more costly item is overpriced.

That’s really important because, as I covered in my special report on the Millennial Generationthat’s what they - including your employees - think about almost everything.

Don’t believe me?

How about when I was in California looking for a new remote at the Apple store? While the clerk swiped my card, I remembered I needed a new 1T external drive. She said, “Don’t buy it from us. We’re too overpriced.” And with that, she went over to a computer and, with a few clicks, printed me a copy of a Newegg sell sheet for one. I'm sure she thought she was doing the smart thing.

If your brick-and-mortar store carries a premium product, it should be better built, contain more useful features, and deliver far more value per dollar spent than a cheaper model. If not, why are you carrying it?

If your premium products do deliver more value, then it is essential that your retail sales training program impart this message to your team.

Check out my online virtual retail sales training here.

The Bottom Line

Consumers arrive at a retail store looking for advice that they could not find online. It’s an opportunity for the retailer and their staff to prove their value to the customer by providing sound advice on various products – not just what is cheapest.

While this advice may sometimes lead to an inexpensive option, it is also a time to explain to the customer the benefits of more advanced, feature-laden, or just plain better alternatives.

Give your customer the benefit of the doubt and explain all their options.

You, your customers, and your bottom line will be significantly happier.