In a post from 2008, I described the Windermere Hierarchy, a model that explains on what basis buyers make a selection when they have different offers to choose from. The model states that there are four criteria, which are ranked in the customer’s mind. These are (in descending order of priority):
The Windermere model suggests that customers will make their purchasing choice based on the highest priority criterion which does not satisfy their requirements. Thus, if none or only one of the alternatives available meets all of their functional requirements, they will choose the alternative that meets the most. However, if more than one alternative satisfies their functional requirements, they will make their purchase based on reliability. Similarly, if more than one alternative satisfies both their functional and their reliability requirements, they will choose based on convenience. Finally, if more than one alternative meets criteria 1, 2 and 3, the customer will choose based on cost. In this case, in the customer’s mind at least, the product has no distinguishing features – it has become a commodity which can only be sold by price discounting.