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Retailers Must Understand Modern Family Buying Decisions

Years ago, marketers and retailers understood that direct selling on the floor and their support marketing materials were aimed at the decision maker. In those days everyone saw that person as the man of the house, the breadwinner and sole decision maker. As buying patterns evolved, women became more influential in family buying decisions. In fact today, many experts believe that 75 to 80% of buying decisions are made now by women in most households. With more women working, developing their own careers and controlling personal and household money, this high percentage is not too surprising.
Today, many buying decisions involve the entire family. In fact, many families in our new economy have grown to include multi-generations, other relatives and even dual single parent households. Today's family may include grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins. Many single parents now share households in a co-supportive plan creating dual families.
In these larger and newly evolved family structures, decisions are rarely made by the man of the house as before or even the woman of the house. Buying decisions are made more on a collective basis with everyone in the house having more and more of a say in how money is spent. We know that today, kids just won't wear anything purchased by the parents in isolation of their input. With items that affect the whole family, everyone in the extended family will have some influence on the buying decision. The parents are no longer the sole decision makers, but typically the gatekeepers of the short list of choices. This may involve a new television, barbecue, swimming pool or even a car. All the children will have their say and influence into what should be purchased and relatives are usually seen and the influencers. They'll add their opinions and input and can often sway the group in a specific direction or product to complete the final buying decision.
What does this mean to marketers and retailers? Marketing and direct sales efforts on the floor must appeal to all the stakeholders and decision makers involved. If selling a van for example, dad will be concerned with the price while mom looks at safety. The kids may like the on board DVD player and stereo as well as the extra row of seats at the very back, far away from their parents. The relatives may like the fact that the van seats seven people and will enable them to come along on all the trips.
Today, your marketing material as well as your direct sales interactions must connect with all the players in the decision making process. Understand which product features and benefits are appealing to which specific stakeholders and demonstrate how your product meets their expectations. Today, selling to a family demands custom sales appeals to an array of stakeholders that all need to understand that your product is the best for them, above the competition. We must understand however that all the stakeholders have very different reasons to buy our product and connecting with all of them at their own specific levels and motivations is the secret to the successful sale.
Take Action Today:
1) Impress on your team how family buying decisions now involve all the players and even the extended family.
2) Make sure that team members understand what is important to the various family members and why.
3) Refine your sales technique to connect with all stakeholders involved in the buying decision.

About Author Ron Pawlowski :

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Article Added on Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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