A consumer behavior focused blog: sherwette.com
How many times did you buy something on a whim and then when you’re back home, you take another look at it and immediately regret the purchase? Countless times, probably. Going through the same thing, Sherwette bought twelve pairs of shoes in one day, which made her decide to do something about her behavior as a consumer. She was intrigued to answer the question “why did I spend my money on this?” She then decided to start a consumer behavior focused blog where she shares information and insights on the subject.
A woman of many passions
Sherwette likes to describe herself as a creative person with a lot of interests, hobbies and passions. She likes photography, abstract painting and writing. Psychology and consumer behavior are among her interests as well.
She studied software engineering in Malaysia and as a part of her bachelors’ degree program she had to do an internship. Her career advisor suggested applying for a consultancy position, and although she had no idea at that time what consulting was, she interned at a consulting firm in Kuala Lumpur for 8 months. She says that taking on that challenge was transformational, and she decided to pursue a career in consulting.
Working in consulting required a lot of negotiation and interpersonal skills. I thought I couldn’t do it then, but with the help of the team I learned everything about consulting.
Sherwette moved to Dubai in December 2014 and she has been working as a business consultant, focusing on customer experience design for several large organizations. Her job role involves consulting for clients from the government sector and designing experiences for their customers that will not only satisfy their needs, but also convert them to loyal customers, who will also recommend the products/experience to their friends.
Sherwette’s journey as a blogger
Her current blog sherwette.com isn’t her first; she previously had two blogs. Sherwette created her first blog in 2010. She bought a domain name from GoDaddy and started blogging about psychology. She says that her previous blogs were “all over the place,” and since she has many passions, she would cram her blog with photography, art, poems, psychology, etc. But she says that her current blog at sherwette.com is different than her previous blogs. She explains:
I think that the difference between this blog and the previous ones is that I am currently more focused on one topic: consumer behavior. And I am more open to sharing my own experiences.
After living in Dubai for five years, Sherwette realized she didn’t save any money because she’d been living comfortably. Then, she looked around her apartment and realized that she’s been buying a lot of things that she doesn’t really need just because they were on sale (We’re all guilty of that, aren’t we?). At that time, Sherwette needed money and because of her impulsive shopping, she didn’t have enough. She therefore decided to start saving!
She says, “To be honest, when I started saving, I felt like I was suffocating. I had the urge and constant feeling of the need to spend money to enjoy my life.” She decided to start tracking her spending and understand her motivation for spending money all the time. It started with an Instagram account where she posted pictures of things she liked and wanted to buy or items she stopped herself from buying. Besides that, she started reading any article or book she could find about consumer behavior. Then, she decided to share her personal experiences and findings through her blog.
Related: How to start a blog in 19 minutes
Running her consumer behavior blog
Although Sherwette is tracking her blog’s performance through Google Analytics, she doesn’t focus on how many blog visitors she gets every month and similar key performance indicators (KPIs). She enjoys writing about topics that she’s passionate about. She says, “To be honest, I don’t have high traffic volumes for my blog, but my focus for now is writing about topics I enjoy, and I hope it’ll reach more people in the long run.”
Sherwette carries around a little notebook to jot down her ideas, and whenever she has the time she sits down and starts blogging. She tries to post consistently three times a week, and her content is inspired by three things:
- Personal or others’ experiences: Her blog originally started as a space to share her personal experiences and she’s been inspired to write about her friends’ consumer behavior and answer their questions, too.
- Reviews of and findings from books she read: She enjoys reading and whenever she reads something interesting or worthwhile, she will blog about it.
- Questions she read on the internet: Whenever she finds a head scratching question somewhere on the internet, she starts researching it and then blogs about it.
Back when she started blogging, her brother recommended GoDaddy’s products and tools to set up and launch her website. That’s why when she was deciding where to host her current blog, she chose GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting. This was not only because she trusted her brother’s recommendation, but also because she wanted the freedom to customize her blog and choose from a wide selection of templates.
Although my website currently serves only as a blog, I chose GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress because I know that if I want to expand it in the future and build on it, I can easily do that.
Sherwette has high hopes for her blog. She describes it as her “gateway to the outer world” and her future plans for the blog include expanding it to be a guide for small businesses and startups. This way, she hopes to help them improve the consumer’s experience, reach their targeted customers and ensure customer satisfaction.
A deep dive into consumer behavior
Sherwette’s friends have been asking her for consumer and marketing related advice. She says, “I have a friend who’s starting her own handbag company and she asked me for advice. Since I am considered a target customer, she asked me to test the bag and give her my feedback.” Sherwette advised her friend to try a new approach. So instead of doing what all other companies do i.e. taking pictures of the product and posting them on social media, she asked her friend to make the customers try the bag itself; to put their belongings inside, check in a mirror how it feels and fits. She explains that this consumer behavior trick is similar to when brands give you a free month subscription for a certain product or tool. They do this so you can get a feel of it, and that increases your willingness to pay for it afterwards. At the end of the day, who doesn’t love a free trial?
Another trick brands use to influence consumers’ behaviors is gamification and creating loyalty programs. Uber, for example, sent Sherwette an email saying that when she takes two more rides using the app, she will be upgraded to the Uber Premium which is a premium rewards program for top riders. Although she already had a car and didn’t really need to use the app, she considered using it to earn that title and reach the VIP status. She explains that when a consumer reads the word “Premium” or “VIP,” it instantly makes them feel special, triggering them to take action to reach that status. Same goes for frequent flyer cards from airlines, for example. Shewette says, “when you sign up for these cards, you might not get a lot of benefits, but the status that you gain is tempting.”
Sherwette also has something to say to people who are interested in a career in consulting. Highlighting the importance of emotional intelligence to advance in a career in this field, she says:
The more I read about consumer behavior, the more I realize that it’s linked to emotional intelligence and convincing people to not just buying your product, but also buying into your ideas.
Her advice for bloggers, on the other hand, is to simply enjoy what they’re doing and do it for themselves without expecting anything in return in the beginning. She believes that as long as you’re writing about what you believe in and are passionate about, it will one day reach a wide audience.
Sherwette says, “Since I have so many hobbies and passions, I am constantly thinking of expanding my blog and perhaps starting a new blog!” She believes that she still has so much more to write about.
Image by: Artem Beliaikin via Unsplash.