Customer Inertia and its effect on business

Many a times while running a business, we spend a large amount of money on advertising and marketing our product or service .However in spite of this, we find that customer is probably uninterested in our product or not even signed up to view a demo. We learn from our experience and our readings of business books or suggestions from our friends we try to determine the reason why no one is buying our products and services. Some of these could be that either there is something wrong with our marketing or we have not given the right message with our advertising. The usual response is to spend more money on advertising, designing better campaigns and working hard on cleaning up the message to the customer. While these may be the possible causes and remedies , there is a bigger enemy than these which is making our sales go away and we are not even responsible for it. It is called as customer inertia. A customer may be at any stage of sales cycle. He or she may be thinking about getting a new curtain for his/her home . She may be already in your shop, looking for something. Moving from one stage of sales to the final stage however gets difficult as customer goes to purchase a product. Here are some more examples of various stages of cycle a customer may be in and the inertia to move on to the next sales stage.
  • Customer is too busy to check out your shop
  • She  really does not need to check out the store because she is probably not interested in the goods sold there
  • Customer may visit the store but find no suitable customer service
  • She wants to buy online but website is too badly designed and takes a lot of time to load.
  • She has added the items to the shopping cart but at the checkout changes her mind because she is scared of using credit car.
  • She is not interested in filling up lengthy forms just to sign up for a service.
You must be saying to yourself by now,yes, I have been through one of these steps. If you are a customer, inertia may not be troubling you much but if you are a seller, inertia may be sales killing force. Infact it is a proven fact that most customer back out just before placing the order. But why the inertia? When a customer sees something of value she should come and grab things as soon as she can.

Here are possible reasons for customer inertia.

  1. Customer may be really busy
  2. You offer may not be very enticing
  3.  is already hooked on to your competitor
  4. She is scared of sharing her details with you
  5. She is looking for a better deal
  6. There is a high barrier to purchase and sign up
  7. She may have had bad experiences previously
  8. Your shop may be located far away from where she is located.

How does it affect your business?

Customer inertia is hurting to your business not only in the terms of increased customer acquisition cost but also cost of winning customer from your competitor.  Once the customer is saddled with a vendor, she normally finds it very difficult to move on to other vendor if the service is not too bad. In another example, customer who is used to transact offline has a real inertia to adopt technology and move to online transactions. A number of barriers that exists such as inertia to learn new things, slower internet speeds and trouble of procuring credit card and threat of online theft. The younger generation may have lesser inertia about technology but most of the purchasing power is with the older generation. They however are reluctant to adopt new technologies. Thus customer inertia brings lesser sales, lower adoption of technology and more competition. Do you think customer inertia is a major force when people defer the purchase decisions ?Have you or your own business has experienced customer inertia ? How do you make sure that sales happen with customers who are not interested in buying or trying your stuff?