Daily Archives: December 24, 2015

Consumer Damnation 73: Individual Consumers

Of course individual consumers are a consumer damnation (and you were just reminded of that while trying to keep the shelves stocked this holiday season). They are the consumer damnation. Corporations are bad. Governments are worse. But individual consumers take the cake, especially considering most of them bring their views to corporate and government purchases. And you are left trying to deal with the inanity and the insanity. When dealing with consumers, damnations are plenty.

Consumers are fickle.

Their tastes can change overnight. Today they want red. Tomorrow they want black. Then they don’t want the product at all because the competitor’s product glows radioactive green.

Consumers are demanding.

They want the newest operating system, the biggest screen, the fastest processor, the most spacious hard drive, the longest battery life, and the absolute lowest price for that new smartphone, even though all of these requirements might be mutually exclusive with today’s technology. And the minute you don’t deliver, they abandon your product to wait for the product from your competitor who is promising more than your current offering.

Consumers are impatient.

If you promise 72 hour service, you better deliver in 48 hours or they will be calling every hour asking where that service professional is. And if you can’t repair the product, you better have a replacement on hand or they will be demanding a refund for the service plan they purchased.

Some consumers are vindictive.

Your product didn’t perform. It broke a day after the warranty. The store wouldn’t take it back. Complaints are filed with every better business bureau and consumer protection agency the consumer can find, and that’s a best-case scenario. If the consumer discovers that there was a banned or dangerous chemical in the composition of the product, they rally a few friends, get a lawyer hungry for some media sensation, and launch a very public class action lawsuit. And if they get hurt opening the hard shell or sick licking the lead paint, that’s a multi-million lawsuit coming your way.

And of course Procurement will be on the hook for not getting the product on the shelves before the consumer tastes change, not getting the price point low enough to appease the consumers enough to buy the company’s product when it is missing a new feature just included in a competitor’s product, when the company contracted for service doesn’t deliver fast enough, or when the supplier ships a defective unit and a consumer gets hurt and sues in a very public way that is very damaging to the brand.

Consumers might be the reason the company, and Sales and Marketing, exist, but they are a perpetual damnation to Procurement who will have to deliver on every insane and inane promise made by Marketing or Sales (which are, as we know, their own damnations).