Chris R Boyd

Chris R Boyd

Founder, Upspark Digital

Good Customer, Bad Customer: Why you shouldn’t worry about selling to every type of buyer

The purpose of this short blog post is to set out my argument on why I believe you shouldn’t try to sell to everyone. 

Who’s it for?

This blog post is written for showroom retailers. However, I believe it has value for any business as it shines a light on the fact that there is no one type of customer. Once you take this on board, you can start to think about who your ideal customer is and begin to position your business to better attract and serve them.


Good Customers

We all have had experiences of dealing with customers via the phone, email, showroom or most recently via social media. Some of these customers want to know if you offer fitting services, have certain products in store or ask for advice. These are your ideal customers because they value what unique services you can offer i.e. fitting services, touch/feel of products and knowledgeable staff. They will be happy to buy from you at the prices you sell at. Most of the time they won’t even ask for a discount. This is because they already feel like they received a good deal because you offer unique services that they value.



Bad customers

We also deal with customers who only enquire about the price of a product. They often tell us that they have seen the product cheaper elsewhere, ask every question imaginable and try to get a discount. These are the type of customer that are very price sensitive and generally speaking, are solely focused on finding the absolute best price.

Here’s a slightly controversial statement

Unless you have an exclusive product or service that they can’t get elsewhere then you should forget about these types of customers.

They will buy online or at the sheds, or wherever else they can save an additional 5%. There’s nothing you can do about it and you shouldn’t bottom out your prices just to appease this type of customer. Here’s why:

  1. You devalue your business and what unique products and services you have to offer.
  2. Even if they end up buying from you because you lowered your price enough to appease them, this type of customer will never be completely happy. This is because, they are so price sensitive, that they most likely spent more with you than they were happy to. These customers are the ones that generally find fault with your products you sell or take issue with your fitting services etc. You know these customers as you get a gut feeling about them and know they could be trouble later down the line. These customers are the ones that write bad reviews, costing you customers. When you add it up, these customers cost you more than they bring in.
  3. You spend the same time and resources speaking to them instead of talking to, or finding the actual customers that you want.

Unless you have on purpose positioned yourself at the bottom of the market then, for this type of customer, let the internet (or whoever) ‘win’ their custom. There are too many other customers out there that will buy from you, and be happy they did, IF you focus your attention on them.

Focus on the right customers

Many years of market research by large research companies have taught us that there are different types of customers with specific groups of behaviour. Generally, when it comes to buying furniture for the home there are four distinct types of buyers:

Service seekers


Service seekers make up 28% of consumers. They are older (generally over 45), have money in the bank and prefer to speak face to face to sales people. They will respond to retailers who have knowledgeable sales staff.


Touchers like to judge quality for themselves without speaking to staff but still prefer to shop in store. They make up 26% of the market.

Social Smartphoners

These consumers will use every channel to find the information they need including online. But this does stop them shopping in store for large purchases or for shopping they love to do. They represent 26% of the market also.


Onliners make up the last 19% of the market. They are driven by low prices and the internet is where they get most of their value. 76% of Onliners buy furniture solely online, with the other 24% buying wherever is cheapest locally.

So what does this mean for your business?

Hopefully you are encouraged by these stats. At least 81% of the market is an opportunity for a GOOD sale. You should feel empowered in the knowledge that you don’t need to sell to every customer and understand more clearly why some customers just don’t want to buy from you. As an industry we simply need to find the right way to effectively market our value to these different groups of people. This is certainly part of my mission at both and UpSpark but it has to be yours too. The way to grow our industry is as a collective force through partnerships and alliances, and as individual businesses too.

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