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Time Sensitive Customers

Posted by: Diane Brady on January 31, 2008

There’s a new book out today that makes the case for being sensitive to how time affects typical shopping choices. It’s called Stopwatch Marketing and it examines how companies can either capitalize on the growing time crunch — or work to change reluctant (ie. get-me-out-of-here-quickly) customers into recreational ones.

Whole Foods, for one, found a way to turn the misery of grocery shopping into a pleasant experience. My favorite, Fresh Direct, was able to capitalize on the stopwatch mentality by offering one-click grocery shopping online. One slowed us down; the other helped us get it done even faster.

Certain experiences simply don’t lend themselves to a recreational mood. Nobody likes to linger over the Yellow Pages. Some times you go straight to the “recommended” shelf in a wine store because someone else has (presumably) done the thinking for you.

Reader Comments

John Rosen

February 2, 2008 10:40 AM


Thanks for the post. You’re right – one of the key insights we developed in our research is that the customer’s stopwatch is occasion-specific…sometimes you want to browse and be entertained (Starbucks, Whole Foods, etc.) and sometimes you’re in a big hurry (drive-through at Dunkin Donuts, stopping at 7-11 on the way to a big event). Consequently, for marketing managers, knowing the demographics of their target consumers is not enough – you need to understand the situation and capitalize on the time at which the buying decision is actually made.

Thanks, again.


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