In the third instalment of the Mira Moment Masters, the panel of industry experts turned their attention to consumer purchasing habits. As consumer purchasing behaviour and habits are subject to constant change (due to varying economic climates, trends and influences), companies like Mira need to adapt their designs and approaches in order to provide the best possible products and services to their customers. Discussing the best ways to react and accommodate these changes, the Mira Moment Masters consisted of:
- Andrew Barnard (Plumber)
- Simon Browning (Industrial Design Director, Mira Showers)
- Nigel Breddy (Channel Marketing Manager, Mira Showers)
- Ratna Sitna (Home and Tech Research Manager, Euromonitor International)
How is consumer behaviour changing?
There has definitely been a shift in consumer behaviour in terms of purchasing, with increasing numbers of customers buying from online retailers, rather than looking and buying in-store. Despite heavy price competition across retail, the growth of online shopping can be attributed to both cost and consumers becoming increasingly time-poor.
Although quicker and sometimes cheaper, online purchases can be problematic when it comes to bathroom products. Ordering parts and appliances without consulting an expert or experienced salesman beforehand can sometimes result in people buying products that either do not work or have limited functionality, often because they are not compatible with the water/electrical systems of their house. Plumbers such as Andrew Barnard are finding that this is happening on an increasingly regular basis on installation jobs – this is attributed to the fact that consumers are now feeling increasingly confident in the safety of online transactions, as well as they reassurance that if a product isn’t suitable, they will be able to return it with ease. As manufacturers, Mira Showers is trying to accommodate this behaviour by reducing the complexity of its products – the Mira Aspects taps range, for example, works on every water system, ensuring functionality is guaranteed.
Whilst online buying is increasing, the internet is also becoming the primary option for browsing products. Whilst consumer purchasing confidence is increasing, the importance of seeing some items ‘in the flesh’ before prior to buying is still important to many people, both in terms of aesthetics and tactility. As a result, the number of ‘click and collect’ orders are also increasing at a faster rate than traditional purchasing avenues.
How does changing consumer behaviour affect Mira’s design process?
Mira Showers relies heavily on customer feedback and consumer behaviour to influence their designs – it’s vital to constantly research and track what people want and like in order to prevent customers feeling frustrated with their purchases. Simulations of the buying process in-store and online is still used to do this, but this research has become very much more conversation-led to get quality feedback.
As mentioned with the problems of purchasing based solely on online research, the benefits of products can only be fully appreciated in-store and there is therefore a large focus on the quality of the finishing for Mira products (such as tactility and control of movement) . Mira takes lengths to avoid the assumption that people want products based solely on a website image and then gamble on the quality. As a result, the focus of the design is to create aesthetically pleasing products, which are also high quality in terms of their functionality.
What motivates consumers to buy?
In a vast majority of cases, price is not the all-defining vehicle that motivates people to make a purchase. Particularly in the bathroom, where renovations and refurbishments tend to occur infrequently, the value of a product is defined by functionality and longevity much more than solely by price. The importance of quality is also reflected in recent consumer purchasing data, which has found that consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals (Hubspot). Companies like Mira therefore try to promote messages about their longevity, or the quality of their functionality rather than simply by price point – if a product lasts twice as long as its competitor, or delivers three times as much water flow than its cheaper competitor, there is a greater reason to buy the more expensive product. This is particularly true at Mira, and the design team focus on developing features such as Mira’s Clearscale™ technology which can make a difference to the long-term value of a product by doubling its longevity over a product on a lower price bracket.
You can see the highlights of the Moment Masters video below! Let us know what you think by leaving a message below, on Facebook, or on our Twitter page.