Winning business from the Australian consumer

The Australian Centre for Retail Studies has produced a series of reports on Australian Consumer Trends (22 August 2013). In one of their recent reports they characterise Australian consumers into six key types: value, busy, green, local, bored and digital.

Looking at your customers in different ways can help you to adjust your marketing and advertising strategies to win more business. Madrigal Communications suggests some ways to win these different types of Australian consumer.

The Value Consumer

The Global Financial crisis has increased uncertainty about the future economy. Consumers have responded by being more conservative and cautious with their spending, either looking for better value or if not finding the value not spending at all.

As a value shopper the consumer is more analytical and more rational in their behaviour. Consumers are buying what they need now and postponing what they want until another time. They are less likely to impulse buy.

Businesses have to respond to the value customer by giving them more for less. This means giving discounts, providing better service or creating improved products. Businesses can’t rely on brand loyalty they have to give more to the discerning customer.

The Busy Australian Consumer

In modern Australia we are all time-poor. We work long hours. We are studying hard, working hard and trying to raise our children. Both parents are working and rushing home to cook dinner and taxi their children to sports or other activities.

Time is the most important commodity. Consumers now value their time highly and put a large value on it. Supermarkets are the preferred shopping venue not because they offer choice but because they have become one-stop-shops—we can get nearly everything we need in one shopping trip.

Businesses have to respond by simplifying the buying process, by placing importance on speed, simplicity and convenience.

The Green Consumer

The rise of the environmental movement has focussed us all on protecting our planet from the detrimental effects of consumerism. We now think about what we buy in terms of sustainability and the environmental impacts of the product or packaging. We all are aware that we can reduce the impact of plastic bags to the environment by using reusable bags (although we may not always use them).

There is an increasing niche market of consumers who are highly motivated to protect the environment and are willing to spend more on being environmentally friendly. Green consumers consistently discriminate in their purchases in favour of products or services that have less impact on the environment.

Businesses have to respond by being more environmentally conscious. This includes being socially, ethically, and culturally sensitive and aware in providing and marketing your product and service.

The Local Consumer

Supporting local businesses is important to many Australians. Buying from local businesses supports the local community and economy. It also offers the advantage of better quality product or service without having to travel further to get it. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of where and how products are produced, leading to a surge in country of origin products for the retail industry.

Businesses need to respond to consumers who want meaningful relationships with the “brands” and organisations they deal with in their lives. Make sure that you have good front counter staff, make the management accessible to customers and value the customer relationship. Customers seek out personal interaction with people they can trust.

The Bored Australian Consumer

Consumers are bombarded with advertisements and promotions and offered and infinite variety of complex plans or packages. They have become de-sensitised and consequently bored with traditional retailing and advertising. They have also become cynical and do not engage with traditional mainstream marketing.

Consumers are therefore searching for more connection with retailers, and a more engaging shopping experience.

Businesses need to respond by offering consumers greater involvement in the transactions and more personalised products and services.

The Digital Consumer

The rise of Web II, as well as the main social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, has led to the emergence of “connected” consumers who spend considerable amounts of time interacting with businesses online. Digital consumers seek channels to generate recommendations for good service and to complain on line.

User generated content and online communities are changing the way consumers engage with businesses as well as changing how and why they shop.

Businesses need to respond by creating ways for on-line consumers to develop more meaningful relationships and to participate in more engaging experiences with the business. Make sure your website is linked to Facebook and customers have opportunities to engage online.

Understanding the Australian consumer will help you to market to them better and create appropriate messaging.