Today’s post is the second guest post by Olivia Pullman, she takes a critical look at the retail industry in the UK, but her comments are equally applicable in North America.
In 2007 the world was plunged into a global crisis and today remains deep within one of the hardest recessions in history. As political leaders worldwide battle to drag the world out of recession one of the obvious ways in which to succeed is to encourage spending, repositioning more money back into the economic system. In the UK for example in 2009/2010 a car scrappage system was put in place to sweeten Brits to purchase new cars by getting an increased value for a car being scrapped over ten years in age. Not only does this have implications on an environmental scale, it also had the aspiration to increase money being spent in the UK economy. It was hailed as one of the most successful collaborations between the UK car industry and government. Notwithstanding this, consumer spending has undeniably plummeted, worldwide manufacturing and retail sectors are seeing and feeling the pinch as are the service industries. In short the approach adopted by Mr Joe Public at this time of economic depression is to save, save and save a bit more.
The customers that are out spending disposable income on-line or on the High Street are therefore even more precious and valuable to your business.
Retail in the Mall
The Main High Street shopping arena and Shopping Mall experience is becoming a dying trade. You only have to take a walk at your local one to see closed or relocated units which were formerly held by traders now looking to lower their overheads or who have had to close all together. Whole chains of successful businesses have been seen to go into liquidation, just last week GAME Stores Group Ltd the UK games retailer went into administration, after a period of some fourteen successful years of trade in the UK.
Branding and marketing are your most important tools in a store environment. The biggest hurdle is to attract the customer and get them into the store. The message and mission of the business has to be clear, the customer in short must know what you are offering as a proposition, why they would want it and how much it is going to cost. The service while in store has to be right first time, staff who are fluent with the products and what they do, what their limits are and how the product is likely to fill the client’s brief (requirement). Correctly labelled ticketing offering accurate information which marries up to the till point units when the customer pays for their item is also vital to ensure completion of the transaction and to encourage repeat custom. Training your staff both behind the scenes and on the shop floor is as you can see a valuable if not essential use of time and resources.
source wikipedia creative commons.
A whole other world of sales arenas are available on-line, covering any number of sectors and sub sectors. On-line shopping is not without its imperfections though. Clearly the technical aspect of the site has to be spot on, again pricing correctly and giving the correct information at the sale point to sell the product to the customer and convince them that this product on your website and at this price is indeed the product that they need.
The commitment to reasonable timescales in online retail can be where the real genius kicks in. Customers are impressed when their parcel arrives ahead of expectation – see parcel delivery and will return to thank your business in repeat custom time and time again when they have a positive experience. The business that lets their customer’s expectation slip is the business that loses him or her.
Social Media Vehicles
The use of social media can offer a new edge to your marketing strategy, to reach out to a vast online audience and capture new minds and new ideas for future product development. It can also offer an efficient method by which your customer can communicate with you when conducting research into the right product to buy. As long as it is managed efficiently at your end and looked after responsibly this can make for a great opportunity to sell your business further.
Image by Mathew Bowden – source wikipedia creative commons.
What’s your Problem?
Every customer setting foot into a shopping mall or clicking online has a problem. They need food shopping and don’t have the time to do it. They have run out of ink in their printer and need a new cartridge urgently, young Bobby has a birthday next week and his mom has no idea what to get him. The retailer’s job is to turn the problem into his organization’s opportunity and resolve it to the best of the customer’s expectations. It is not rocket science, but the message has been lost over time as the focus has shifted to the panic of the biting recession. It is now time to get back to basics in the market place and get fighting for your customer and your business.
Getting back to basics – that sounds like good advice for all business owners, on and off-line.
I found something this week that is about as close to basics as possible, I have written about marketing systems in previous posts, most are difficult for total novices to follow, they get frustrated and abandon them.
Here is one that is very simple, has detailed instructions, does not promise that you will get fabulously rich in a few weeks for no work and most importantly does not ask for any money up front or even credit card details so that you can be billed later.
It is called the 10K Challenge, click the link and check it out, but only if you want to start your own on-line business and know nothing or next to nothing about the Internet. If you do know a little about SEO, email campaigns and web-site building, this will not be exciting enough for you and you might get bored. Strange as it sounds, this one does work, income builds up slowly but in a year it could provide a good enough revenue to change your life. If that is too slow, then this might not be for you either.
Click the link today, if you want to try a no fluff system that is working for total newbies.
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.