Karen and I went to Lowes the other day to pick up a leaf blower. I didn’t know anything about leaf blowers and neither did the first Lowes employee I asked. I chose one based on price and features and picked it up to leave.
Right then, another customer showed up with a more knowledgeable employee. I overheard the employee recommend against the leaf blower I’d picked up and thankfully joined the conversation.
The employee recommended a more expensive blower with fewer features. I pointed out that it did not have the vacuum and mulch features that my previous choice did. He acknowledged that. But then the other customer asked, honestly, why that mattered? Did I know something about those features that made them desirable?
I had to pause and think. Would vacuuming or mulching leaves with a little hand-held leaf blower even make sense? After a few seconds, I admitted that I just assumed more features were better. I hadn’t even thought about whether the features really made sense.
We all smiled at that, and the two of us walked away with the higher priced but lower featured blowers.
I take two things from this experience. First, as a consumer I need to be more aware of why I’m buying a product and how I’ll use it. I should not let extra features sway me unless they’re actually beneficial.
Second, as a marketer I need to realize that people often don’t think when making purchases. Adding some silly features may sound like a bad idea but could be just what’s needed to get those people’s attention.