Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Rant on Retailing...

...and yes, there are more applications than just to the retail world...

If you've been following me on Twitter at all, you know that I've been sharing little retail wisdoms all over the place. But it still seems like, no matter where I turn, I hear nothing but excuses from retailers, or other service providers, on why they are having tough times.

"It's a tough economy."
"I can't compete with online prices."
"People just don't come through the door like they used to."


As a service provider, the onus is on you to provide a tangible reason to have somebody walk through your door. And once they do, it is also on you to make sure that they A.) make a purchase and B.) make them want to come back, time and time again, no matter what.

How do you do that? Well, too often the answer seems to be product differentiation and price. Newsflash, ladies and gentlemen: unless you have an online store, there is absolutely no chance for you to compete in product selection and price. Sorry. Now, you could price match, etc. But then you've done nothing but become a loss leader, operating on a razor thin profit-margin. You need something beyond price to get people through the door. This is not the only tool in your shed.

But you can afford to do this loss-leader product selection and price matching if you have some other method to keep people through your door, and paying full price for something else. But what is it?

Again, you need to provide a service, or knowledge, or grow the community that you are trying to serve. Know what you are best at. Use the strength of that service, and deliver it continually. People will pay more for better service. I can tell you from firsthand experience: when you can provide the knowledge to help guide product selection, or service, people will buy from you. Honesty. Integrity. These are the keys.

This is how retailing works; this is how performance coaching works; this is how everything we do works.

I mean, this is why I've raved about Josh Freeman's shop and why I won't take my bike anywhere else; this is why I consistently plug Sherman's Books; this is why I want to work in the sports industry for life as a coach, and in footwear.

There is nothing more frustrating than bad information, poor communication, giving up, etc. Don't. Do. It.

Comments? Questions? Concerns? Hit the comment button below.

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