There's no question that value is going to be the most important element of the buying decision for most consumers during this recession. But, it isn't just the consumer that has this in mind. Our entire society is beginning to question the mindless consumerism that has created environmental nightmares and economic bubbles that collapse, leaving many destitute overnight. Slow, and steady growth is a way to create real value in one's life and also to preserve it when a downturn occurs. And, for that, you need products and services that meet a “real” need, that last a while, and that are reasonably priced.
What's A Real Need?
The focus in a sustainable economy is to produce items that provide real value to the user or society. So, you see that even though oil is the basis of our energy economy, there is a whole lot of talk about increasing incentives so that green businesses can come into their own. There is a real need to provide energy that is not dependent on foreign oil and green alternatives will meet that real need.
For consumers, a real need can translate to any of the products or services that have to be purchased, regardless of the state of the economy. These are food, fuel, shelter, clothing, and health care. For those that are out of a job, retraining them in skills will make education a “real” need too. So, anything that is catering to the needs of the marketplace and solving an economic problem is going to be a real need at this time. It doesn't mean that other products and services won't be able to sell online, just that some market niches are more recession-resistant than others based on the value of that product or service.
Clothing retailers are seeing people focusing on apparel that lasts, rather than quickly opting for the cheapest option. That might mean that fashion or fads are less desirable and classics are in. Real fabrics that last longer may be seen as a better value than synthetics or items that need dry cleaning to maintain. Quality will determine longevity and retailers are now reducing choice to stock up on high-quality classics, where people know they are getting good value.
If you can't offer something for a reasonable price, then don't bother to offer it at all. This is especially true of the marketers that catered to middle-income people who were trying to raise their status through buying more designer wear or “image”-conscious buys. The income level of the middle class has been downgraded, for the most part, and price is now a vital concern for many. But this doesn't mean you have to completely slash your prices; just make sure you provide the best value for the money and you will continue to attract customers.