Tomorrow’s consumer, the keystone of negotiations

Le 21 October 2014

They are increasingly demanding, they proclaim loud and clear what they want and what they will no longer tolerate. Whether they are ecologists, an anti-globalisation activists, or simply asking questions in response to the supermarkets, whether they are citizen-orientated or shrewd, suspicious or vigilant, the consumer is no longer this naive person constantly seeking out the lowest prices.

 

New consumption practices to account for

At a time when product quality is gradually diminishing and margins are rising, tomorrow’s consumer is taking shape and gaining power. Already, many people in France and Europe have changed their consumption patterns and have, for example, taken to vegetable box schemes, home deliveries and buying on the internet either for their daily shopping, for clothing or acquiring domestic appliances, etc. They are increasingly familiar with “drive” systems or group purchasing techniques. Many of them now also prefer to rent rather than buy certain goods (DIY materials, cars, etc.).

According to the Cetelem 2013 Observatory, 82% of French people and 75% of European citizens have declared a desire to buy more often directly from producers in the coming years. 53% of French people have stated they would turn to ethical products and brands that apply a sustainable development approach even if the result of this has to be higher prices. The general trend subsequently seems to be “consume less, but consume better”. This is definitely a time of well-informed consumers and it is already vital to think with this essential component in mind.

Putting the consumer back at the heart of negotiating

A consumer that changes means a whole system that needs to be reconsidered from production right through to sales, including negotiations. Faced with the growing yet legitimate power of the consumer, we must adapt and incorporate it into our thought processes to make the shift from a BtoC way of working to a CtoBtoC rationale. In other words, we have to stop and think like the client to focus on their needs and requirements, their desires, their lifestyles and really listen to them and respect them by offering new products that correspond to them, buying patterns that suit them and tailored operations. Distributors, manufacturers and suppliers must be aware that the consumer is now master of their purchases and that their stringent requirements must be understood.

It is this essential element that Triple Win negotiators strive to build in to the businesses they support and which they try to express in actions, through innovative and creative ideas.  In the current situation, standing firm, opting to wait-and-see and remain a spectator seems to us to be a bad move. You have to move forward, demonstrate a capacity for adaptation and anticipation, envisage new networks, new packaging, rethink the entire chain and find qualitative ways of standing out from the competition to recreate value. This is the essence of reasoned negotiations that we propose and the “win-win-win” partnership resulting from it. To our minds, this rationale is the only one that helps us see beyond the simple issue of price to not only meet the expectations of today’s consumers but tomorrow’s as well.