There is a new shift in business. It’s due to an emerging attitude toward shopping and life,  called minimalism.Starting before the recession but picking up speed quickly throughout it and afterward, the new consumer is buying less. When they do buy, they look for high quality products and only purchase what they really need.

How does this affect you as a business owner?

If you haven’t already, pare down your offerings to what is most needed and strive to offer the best available. This is important for both services and products. There is a glut in the market when it comes to many products and often what one company offers is not really much different than what many others have. You will need to think long and hard on how your business can do more for customers than what others can.

Price is only one part of the equation. Cheaper is not necessarily better as consumers are often suspicious of the lowest or lower price. Always charge what you or your product is worth. Specify how, by choosing you, your customer has made the best choice. Information is powerful and if it isn’t easily found, your customer might just move on to the next company. Think of what you would like to know if you were making a purchasing decision.

Pre-recession type shopping is not likely to return and the days of shop ‘til you drop are gone, except for those who didn’t learn their lesson the first time around. After all, how many belongings do you really need? The new consumer is buying experiences, not things and if your company is not in the business of providing this, how can it be changed to attract this new type of customer?

Responding to the new reality is not easy for most business owners. They’re used to putting the advertising out there and having shoppers flock to them. They were used to having services that were needed but as most start to curb their spending they are mindful to purchase only the essentials and as they start to conserve over worries of job loss or upcoming retirement, the effect on small business is starting to be felt. The new consumer is more demanding. They have started to feel a disconnection with others, mostly due to the overuse of digital technology and they are relying on businesses to provide them with something other than high tech toys.

Your business ideas and the way you run your business will also have to change. Make sure your customers know that you are aware of their needs and their desire for quality at a decent price. Decide if you really need to offer all of the extras with their bells and whistles or just provide the most important feature. Your products and services should make your customers feel happy with their choices. They should feel connected with something more natural, not necessarily “green”, which has been overdone but a simpler, healthier way of doing things.

Adapt your approach to your customers and find out which services and products they are willing to pay more for and concentrate on providing the highest quality that you can. While people still want more, the definition of what that “more” is, has changed. Rather than having more things, your customers are interested in having more time to spend with their families and friends or on hobbies. They are redesigning their lives around what is most important to them and realize that owning things doesn’t rate very high on the importance scale. They have made the wise decision to focus on what is really important to them, a life of depth, meaning and fulfillment.

© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2013

Image copyright Krystle Draper