The past decade has brought dramatic changes to the world’s retail community! This is the toughest climate most retailers have ever faced! Keeping pace in today’s fast-moving and unpredictable marketplace isn’t easy. Never has business been so challenging.
Whether you call them power centers, factory outlets, off-price retailers, or mass merchandisers, shoppers perceive that they all deliver roughly the same thing: so-called good merchandise, one-stop shopping convenience, and a chance for customers to save a few bucks. They are popping up all over and their cash registers are ringing.
Not only are giant retailers growing, they are welcomed with open arms by the communities that will be forever changed by the “new intrusion”… the national discounter. With their huge success, independent retailers must be ready and willing to deal with this change of traditional retailing practices.
The more information you have about the way the giant stores operate, the easier it will be for you to implement new strategies to compete and stay ahead of the competition. It is important to remember that every store is a competitor… it’s all about getting the consumers “spendable” dollar. Regardless of the services or products offered, the more money your customers spend at other places, the less they have left to spend with you.
Don’t be a Lone Ranger. In order to fashion your best approach, your assessment should include the following information (by actually visiting the stores) to help you analyze the market share.
Know the Competition
- Who are your direct competitors?
- What products do they sell?
- How do their prices compare?
- How do they advertise?
- Why do customers shop there?
- What are their strengths?
- What are their weaknesses?
Know Your Business
- What products make you money?
- How often do you initiate change?
- Have you worked to be competitive?
- Do you offer customers special services?
- Is your business in a good location?
- Has your target market changed?
- Has your business remained profitable?
Do not view things as you wish them to be, but try to view them as they are… through the eyes of customers. Your customers buy because of a self-serving benefit that your products or service provides. It is called — WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) It’s sad to say, but people don’t care why you are in business, people don’t care if you need to make payroll, people don’t care if you are the most educated and popular person in town. They only buy from you because of a benefit or result. What compelling benefits do you offer?
Uncover Areas of Opportunity & Hidden Assets in Your Business
Change can be resisted and feared as a destructive force, or embraced as a friend in your formula for success. The success of your company is in proportion to your vision, insights, management skills, marketing direction, and overall business assets: reputation, location, customer service, employees, customer following, selection and quality of merchandise, relationship with vendors, and value of your products or services offered. You must capitalize on the advantages you have as a smaller business – and emphasize the benefits so that your customers will recognize them.
- Be Prepared to Make Changes
- Identify Unfilled Market Niches
- Display Warmth of a Smaller Store
- Improve Your Level of Customer Service
- Utilize the Latest Business Technology
- Develop a Short and Long Term Business Plan
- Make the Commitment to Improve Your Position
Stores wedded to the same “old ways” are almost sure to fail. To expand your customer base and prosper, you must learn to develop more effective procedures, fine tune your marketing strategy, and become an expert in your area. The key is to control expenses, get into new growth market niches and focus on making your business a more profitable enterprise.
Bob Nelson is President of POWER Retailing. He can help you improve sales and profits, turn inventory into cash, and recover the money invested in your business and you only pay for results. For free information on how to simplify your marketing efforts and add dollars to your bottom line, visit http://www.retailing.com