Jim Huebner
24 August, 2021

My son-in-law is a stud in every sense of the word.

He was an Army Ranger, a Captain in the Army’s Signal Corps, has a master’s degree in information technology, and is currently a wonderful Account Executive for clients both domestic and international. He’s also a great dad to our grandchildren, having always sent his daughter videos of himself reading books while he was deployed to the Middle East for seven of the first months of her life. And he’s a loving husband and great provider for our daughter.

He embraces challenges and is always willing to figure things out – from putting together our “some-assembly-required” acquisitions to programming the remote when the Comcast guy can’t even figure it out. But maybe most important – because I’m in the running for the least handy guy on the planet – he’s our resident repair guy.

So when it came to buying Christmas gifts last month, there was no question that our best move was to help better equip him to keep things up and running for his empty-nester in-laws, er, for his own household.

A few days before Christmas, I headed to Home Depot (which is a great supporter of our veterans, by the way) in search of some of the essential tools that he did not yet own – a corded power drill and a miter saw.

The good news: Home Depot had a plethora of tools to choose from. The bad news: I had no idea which one would be best. So I did what any other gift-seeking father-in-law would do, I pulled out my smartphone and started searching right there in the store.

First, I searched for “Best Corded Power Drill,” and quickly found an independent website that rated nearly every brand, comparing amps, speed, chuck, cord length, and of course, price. Once I zeroed in on the drill that seemed to offer the most “value,” or bang-for-the-buck (which happened to be the Rigid brand), I then started comparing online prices to the price Home Depot was showing me right there in the store.

After scouring a few different websites, the best price I could find was only $5 cheaper than Home Depot’s price – and I’d have to wait for it to be shipped. Christmas was coming and the goose was getting fat, so I grabbed the drill and headed for the checkout line, relieved that I had completed my shopping for the season with a gift I was confident he could use.

Now, you must be wondering WHY I’ve offered up these details of my shopping experience.

Here’s the reason

More and more people shop this same way today. So think about my (and so many others’) buying process and how it might relate to your business.

  • I first searched on my phone, and this brings up all sorts of issues for your business. How optimized is your website for search? How optimized are the websites of your dealers or distributors – the ones who are actually selling your products!? How easy is it to purchase your products on a smartphone? Is your website even optimized for mobile? Are your dealers’ sites optimized for mobile?
  • Then, I compared prices online to the prices in the store. Do you differentiate products so direct comparisons can’t be made between online prices and in-store prices? Should you? Why or why not? Is your pricing dynamic? Should it be? Why or why not?

The bottom line is this:

The buying process is morphing and changing every day. The WAY we bought gifts this Christmas may be history when it comes around again. And that’s precisely the point. If you’re not constantly evaluating the way your customers are engaging with and using technology to make everyday decisions, you run the risk of getting left in the dust. And that’s something not even my Army Ranger son-in-law can protect you from.