Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quick Thoughts on Buyer Behavior

When you feel you don't have enough money, every little bit counts because you want to make sure you're getting the most for your dollar. When you feel you have more than enough of money, quality and reputation matters most no matter what the cost. You can be rich and feel like you don't have enough money, and you can be poor and feel like you have more than enough.

When you're a bargain shopper, you shop based on numbers. When you're a quality shopper, you shop based on aesthetics. Whether you shop based on bargains or aesthetics depends on how much you care about what you're purchasing. You don't always shop in the same mindset for everything you buy. You may be a bargain shopper at the gas pump, but when it comes to 4" pumps (shoes) you may not care what the price tag is so long as you look fabulous in them.

There will always be more bargain products to choose from since they are easy to find and their success depends on quantity. People will always go out of their way and pay more for a product that they perceive is truly unique, difficult to obtain, or fully customized to their specifications. Bargain shoppers take more time to make decisions because they need to fully understand the market first, while quality shoppers make decisions quickly based on their feelings about a product or service.

When you want the most for your money, you start shopping early and wait for the best deal. When you want something rare and unique, you buy it right away for fear that it won't be there the next day. An item can appear to be rare and unique to you if you've never had prior experience with the product, regardless of whether or not it's actually rare or unique in the market. When you are uninformed about a product, you rely on the recommendations of others to help you determine a product's quality or value.

(read more thoughts on pricing -->

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practicing marketing & management in corporate and non-profit businesses before pursuing her passion for photography as an independent small business. She loves helping others find creative and low-cost solutions to business problems. Follow her on Twitter to see her daily adventures and thoughts.


  1. Excelent post. My impulse buy of new boots today shows that I am definitely more concerned about quality over bargin in that department (although my checkbook would like me to be more concerned with the latter). As for my (new) business, I'm doing what I can to make it quality service based with quality products for my clients, and constantly remind myself that it's okay when the bargin hunters walk away.

  2. Well said. I have worked as a professional consultant in the petroleum industry for the last 10 years. I have always found that if a client perceives they are receiving a quality product, discussion about price rarely is a deal breaker (or even does not occur). The only client I ever had in 10 years who did not pay their invoice was a bargain hunter. My lesson was to avoid these clients like the plague. I learned that a quality client would come along soon enough. I think this applies in any industry where quality of the product is important.

  3. Great post, thank you! Every time I raise my prices, the thing I am most fearful of is how many couples I am going to lose. But in fact, I already lost the bargain shoppers a long time ago.

  4. Thanks for the reminder about how most all of us hunt and gather, Anne, and how it applies to our businesses.

  5. Great stuff, Anne.

    Now how to convince those bargain shoppers that what I'm offering them is rare and unique :P


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