Know the End User: Enhance Your Product Line Review by Understanding the Customer

One of the most important things you can do in a home improvement Product Line Review (PLR) is to demonstrate your knowledge of the end user. But how can you analyze end user data when the average customer doesn’t fit into a standard demographic? There are pros versus DIYers, male versus female, different generations, different geographies, etc. Here at Sales Factory, we encourage our clients to take advantage of the one type of end user data that can be read across all customer demographics: attitudes and behavior. This information allows you to show the merchant how a partnership with your brand will be a big win for everyone involved — including the customer.

Demonstrate the ways your end users shop and purchase your category.
What you need to know about the end user depends on your category, so really take a look at their shopping behavior. Are they online, in-store or some combination of the two? Have competitors siphoned them off? Which retailers are converting, and which ones are losing to competitors? Let the merchant know how to address those issues and improve their business.

Your end users are not shopping according to a traditional model anymore — the Awareness, Consideration, Shortlist funnel is no longer valid. The Learn, Shop, Buy model has proven that consumers are now fluidly moving in and out of these stages. That’s why we have interviewed more than 50,000 end users in the past year. With this massive cache of data, we’re able to help brands understand how consumers behave, create more successful sales strategies, discover opportunities in different categories, and generate more impactful solutions for end user problems. By solving an end user problem, you’re solving a merchant problem.

Five-segments of today’s consumer
Behavioral segmentation is a must for identifying and organizing the end user. We developed a simple, five-segment analysis of today’s retail consumer to demonstrate the usefulness of a behavioral segmentation. Our segmentation is broad and explores general shopping trends as opposed to a more refined segmentation of end users for a specific product category. Our five segments include:

  • Connected Comparers: They prefer shopping online for most of their needs and aren’t incredibly brand loyal. When in-store, they’ll still use their phone to comparison shop.
  • Prepared Planners: They slightly prefer online shopping, but they research a lot and are slow to make a decision. While loyal to brands and retailers, they rarely engage with them online.
  • Essential Engagers: Their preference for in-store or online shopping depends on the situation, and they’re driven by specific product or service needs. They aren’t brand loyal, they don’t shop casually, and they don’t buy impulsively.
  • Laidback Loyalists: They highly prefer shopping in-store, and tend to plan purchases around a budget. They’re highly brand and retailer loyal.
  • Impressionable Impulse Shoppers: They shop more in-store than online, because they’re driven by immediacy and convenience. They’re loyal to retailers, but not brands.

By identifying these general segments of consumers, you begin to see how you can adjust your product offering, merchandising, advertising, etc. to capture the share of spend of different segments.

Behavioral segmentation in practice.
Each segment interacts differently within any given category. Let’s examine the way some of these segments behave within unique categories.

Connected Comparers and Lumber
Ninety-four percent of the time, the Connected Comparer — the leading segment — starts researching their project online, even for a category like lumber and wood. They need to feel confident before they begin. And even if they go in-store, 72 percent of them will use their phone to comparison shop.

Prepared Planners and Light Bulbs
Before making a purchase, the Prepared Planner will want to really understand how different bulbs will affect their space. This means learning about light color, light output, lumens, energy efficiency and more. A purchase decision won’t come until they are thoroughly satisfied that a given bulb will meet their needs.

Laidback Loyalists and Appliances
The Laidback Loyalist relies on their gut and brand/retailer loyalty to make their purchase decision with speed, even with something as costly as an appliance. And when the pandemic finally dissipates, this is the group most likely to revert to their pre-COVID behavior of shopping in-store.

Leverage end user behavior to capitalize on opportunities and fix weaknesses.
When you understand the way your specific end users are behaving and how they interact with your product category, you can exploit opportunities while simultaneously working around weaknesses. By showing the merchant that you can make them successful with the end user, you will have a successful PLR.

If you’d like to talk about how we can help you better understand your end users, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Check out the next PLR article, where we explain how solving the end user’s problem can further enhance your PLR.

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