Today’s clients are different. Trends are different. Spending patterns are different. But these are expected changes in a new economic climate.
Two significant changes are how design is viewed by clients and the ways in which products are purchased. Many of today’s clients view design with a longer-term vision; clean color, more familiar style, perhaps a bit more traditional or transitional with a twist. In addition the traditional purchasing venues are not as strong as they were. The old stand-by sources for product are not as innovative nor as customer service oriented as they were in the past. Nor are all of the traditional channels closed to the public. There are new venues, smaller showrooms, more innovative approaches to product, sales, and service.
As the economy rebounds new purchasing channels will be created and discovered. Clients will be looking for more from their purchases. A “social-good” benefit, a “sustainable” advantage. Greater emphasis will be placed on what the long-term advantages are of the purchasing relationship (vendor to designer) and the product.
This change in the selection and purchasing process and venue solely about price? Price is only one consideration in the purchasing process, though indeed many clients are looking for “cheaper chicken.” Is it a change in style? Yes in part. We are seeking more innovation, more difference from product with a hint of familiarity – i.e., comfort. Is it about service? Certainly key. The larger your purchase the more you rely, and will rely, on dedicated, consistent, forthright vendors. Is it about responsibility? I think this is a growing concern in making decisions. Whether it is about the sustainability of a product or its “social-good” impact this is a consideration that is growing among consumers, especially those with the ability and willingness to spend.
Will the old purchasing venues fade? Maybe, or perhaps their importance will just diminish as other innovators, and more “closed” sources, find their place in the market. Firms will begin to offer products with more point of difference, will become more responsive, go a step beyond the standard customer service, and will be more willing to take a chance.
Have you experienced a change in your vendor relationships? Are you seeking alternatives? What makes you jump ship? Are your clients asking more questions about sustainability and “social-good” issues?