How to Win the Consumer’s Confidence [Archives:2000/28/Business & Economy]

July 10 2000

Hamood Al-Bukhaity
Chief-Editor of the Consumer Magazine
Undoubtedly, it is consumers that help keep factories running and help increase tax revenues.Without consumers there would be no production or exportation. Therefore, it is very important to win the confidence of consumers. In all fairness, consumers must be provided with the necessary information on the products they are purchasing. This information pertains to ingredients, dates of production and expiry, and methods of display and storage.
Producers and importers should also take into consideration the needs and tastes of consumers as well as the economic situation of the country.
A long-term relationship based on trust and confidence between consumers and the other parties will not be achieved if consumers are looked upon in terms of profit and loss. This might foster an attitude of cheating misleading the consumers.
It is an admitted fact that all producing sectors are competing with each other to win the consumer to their side by offering him products of a high standard to cater to his taste and suit his purchasing abilities.
In this context there is a perceived need to establish a healthy rapport based on sincerity and honesty among agents involved in commercial exchange, namely, producers-importers-consumers.
Producers and importers must have a more realistic and subjective approach in advertising their products. Advertisements must be credible and should not exploit children in advertisements of low taste.
Advertisements can be more credible if they are accompanied by certificates showing that the products conform to high standards. The aim of advertisements should not be to get rid of the heaps of products lying unmarketed in stores. In addition, producers and importers should not exploit the simplicity or gullibility of consumers by announcing draws or attractive prizes on the products. In fact, a kind of watch-dog body is necessary to maintain standards of honesty and to discourage the more blatant types of misleading advertisements.
It is often seen that organized exhibitions exhibit products of a low quality. In addition, draws are announced and conducted clandestinely. This, in fact, damages the relationship between producers and consumers and serves to create a cleavage between them.
Producers and importers are well aware of the policy they are pursuing and they think that the consumer is the weakest part in the process of commercial exchange. Will this attitude towards consumers augur well in the long run? What can be the net result if such attitudes continue? In this regard I would like to stress that consumers should not be viewed as stupid. They, in fact, have good knowledge and can thwart any organized attempt to dupe them. So it is better for the other parts in the commercial exchange process not to mislead them about their products in order to create and sustain a long term relationship.
Below are some pieces of advice that local producers should do well to heed if they want to narrow the gap between them and the consumers:
1- Producers should welcome students, scouts, specialists, etc. to visit the factories to be acquainted with their work mechanism.
2- They should consider the consumers’ needs and provide them with products at fair prices.
3- There should be a mechanism for conducting regular market research and studies that serve to bring about qualitative improvements in the products.
4- Producers should aim at conforming to the international standards for each product they manufacture.
5- They should take steps to ensure proper storage facilities for the products.
6- All details concerning the ingredients, date of manufacturing and expiry, etc. should be mentioned on the products.
7- Deceptive policies of issuing misleading advertisements and portraying children in an improper way in the advertisements should be avoided at all costs.
8- Exhibitions should offer goods and products of high quality at fair prices.
9- Visiting consumers’ houses in order to sell competition coupons should be outlawed.
10- Commercial counterfeit should be avoided as far as practicable.

It is hoped that manufacturers will consider the above pieces of advice for the sake of promoting a good, ever-lasting relationship with the consumers.