Is this world upside down?
Or why is it that the worst buying experience I tend to make are for the most expensive things that I buy?
Take a house, or a flat for us cityfreeks. It’s going to cost you from a few hundred thousand to a few million, depending on that paycheck…
The last time I did buy a flat, I was expected to say yes after a 25 minutes tour. Almost insulted as if I was a complete moron when I asked to see the flat again. In total I probably was allowed to spend a full hour. Then I got the keys and jumped into the unknown for something I will be paying for in the next 35 years. Take a car. It’s going to cost anything from 7000 to a couple hundred depending on that same paycheck. If you’re wearing jeans and a jumper with a hood as I did last time I bought a car, it is unlikelly you will be spoken to in the first 20 minutes of your dealer visit. I finally stormed out of a dealership that thought I just wanted a free brochure which in fact was the last thing I wanted.
I was not able to test drive the car, but offered to try a lesser model, since what I wanted was ‘too rare to let drive’. Take a luxury jewel or watch. See yourself waiting at the jewellers if you have not put your suit on (once they’ve let you in), see them not recognising you from the last one you bought, see them asking you to call them back to see if they’ve finally received that expensive piece you wanted. Now take an Ipod. A few hundred dollars, but the salesman will know all about it (not like the salesman of the luxury brand that can only talk about…the colour of its suits). You will get free training in the Apple store with people who seem to know so much that you could spend hours at their lectures, you can also call their hotline in case you don’t figure it out. Take goat cheese at the local fromagerie. They’ll recognise me (unlike the jeweller), they’ll talk to me (unlike the car salesman), they’ll let me taste it (unlike the estate agent), and they’ll talk to me about the goats that made it (unlike the suit salesman). Can’t quite figure that out. The first thing this says to me is that people will figure it out one day soon, that they will turn away from people who are obsessed with one thing only: getting them to buy, without making the effort of seducing them into it. The second thing this says to me is that there is a real way to sell through the web that can actually make the buying experience better, more priviledged and that it is a shame that no luxury brand has taken advantage of it, and that so few have actually thought about how the web could make my buying-your buying more enjoyable. In the meantime people have started to figure it out: they go on the web to replace the good salesman that does not exist anymore. And they go to the shop to negociate. Or even better, the use the web as I did fo my car. I ended up buying it on the web, getting it imported, and delivered right ot my door. Cheaper and better than I would have got if I had made more efforts.