Confident Consumers and Consumer Confidence

The Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved a bit in July to 59.2, was down sharply at the end of August, to a worrying 44.5 - a 14.7 point drop.

Pensive piggy bank. Photo: Flickr user Bradipo.
How does consumer confidence affect your business?

Consumers are feeling pinched by gas prices, which remain fairly high, and poor job prospects, which aren't getting any better. Consumers surveyed felt that the short term outlook wasn't improving, and this means they are going to be holding off on purchases.

Couple this with the fact that negative customer reviews now mean more than ever, and you've got a recipe for slow sales.

So what do you do?

It's up to you to make your customers feel more confident - enough to buy from you for the first time, or to buy again. There are a couple of things you should consider here.

1) What's your guarantee? Do you have a 100% satisfaction guarantee? Customers want to know that you'll stand behind your product.

2) What's your return policy? If people change their minds, is it easy and quick to send it back?

3) How are you dealing with any negative reviews and problems? If you're not addressing these issues, and letting people know you are, people will be looking for a brand that's more reliable.

4) Like Mom said, don't you catch more flies with honey? Now is a great time to thank your customers for sticking with you during this difficult time, and to offer them incentive to shop with you again.

What about you? How are you sticking it out in these days? Drop me a line or leave a note in the comments section.

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