I was with my wife today, Saturday, shopping, not unusual, as this is a job she particularly relishes, and she loves to shop with me as she ‘uses’ my card, when we shop together.
She has been anxious to buy a new pair of UGGs, as hers is beaten to shreds, and she loves them. www.uggstore.co.il
We went to a shoe store that carries a full line, and as she was examining them and trying them on, she exclaimed, “These are not as good as my ‘originals'”. She examined them further and discovered they were made in China.
In a huff, she said to me “let’s get out of here.” I asked her why she was not buying her UGGs. She said, “I am angry, I feel duped, how can UGGs of Australia be made in China? I do not want them. They are not as good as they used to be when made in Australia” she said. “I cannot trust them, as clearly they are willing to deceive me. UGGs from Australia cannot be made in China. It is now a scam.”
Off we went. She will buy something else. She will never buy UGGs again, and will tell all her friends as she was a diehard fan and now feels jolted.
Here is the point. My wife is not very political, at all as in zero. For her to walk out of a luxury purchase, paid for by me, of something she wants very much and could have a choice from a huge inventory of styles and colors, is a most remarkable, unprecedented event.
While I would not consider this a trustworthy sampling, or survey, I do believe I was witnessing a reaction common to many consumers, and you as entrepreneurs should be aware of this wave of customer awareness and attitude as it is extremely important and valuable information
One might ask, is it an isolationist attitude? No I do not think so. Is it prejudicial treatment? No, no evidence of this.
It is a pure economical and consumer consideration and fueled with mistrust and belief that the quality of Chinese made product is below acceptability, and that it is highly likely that many important socially meaningful standards are being violated to bring this product to our shores cheaper than domestic goods, including child labor, unhealthy and unsafe working conditions, and sub-standard pay.
We are losing jobs and China makes everything we buy. The people are getting pissed off. They are saying enough. We want quality at a fair price and we want it made in America, not China as we cannot trust China at all and we can still trust the American system more, although they too are pushing their luck. Other international markets are deemed totally acceptable and ‘better’ than American made, but not China. The American consumer does not trust China or its products. Beware of backlash.
On the opposite end of the spectrum but for the exact same reasons, quality and value, the American auto industry has been beaten at their own game because of better quality, perceived integrity, better quality, and more value from the foreign auto makers than from our own manufacturers. Thus the market place got turned over to them. The foreign auto makers paid attention, listened, and delivered quality products at a fair price.
Pay attention, listen, ask, watch, respond, satisfy the consumer and win big. This is how you can compete against the larger national players. Small business owners can read the wind and respond quickly. Small business owners do not have to sell their customers out for a few pennies more of profit.
UGGs of Australia sold out what made them great, Australian made. Maybe they will make more money making their product in China but they will lose out in the end.
What are you are doing? Make certain it makes sense in today’s market; it is much more demanding and critical than ever before.
Deliver quality and value.
Good for them, good for you.