The key to success is winning customer loyalty before your competition has a chance to change buying behavior. How do you do that? Every retailer reading this article already has the answers. This short report will review those answers and provide a roadmap for implementation.
Roadmap To Successfully Compete With Specialty Stores and New Competitors:
Nearly every retailer I have worked with has a basic set of store operating procedures. Rarely is there a consistent management system in place to confirm the standards are being followed. So step number one, make sure your operating standards reflect how you must operate to compete with your neighboring Starbucks, Home Depot Convenience Store or whoever is your biggest threat. (For more detail on having the right management system in place, register for the complimentary Roadmap Course)
First discard the traditional financial measurements of labor costs as a percentage of revenue. Those numbers are completely distorted by the real costs of not having trained and motivated staff. They are further distorted by the costs of high turnover and the impact of turnover on the costs training and costs of failing to follow the operating standards. The operating standards having the biggest impact on profits are those dealing with inventory control, sale transactions and customer service.
Interim Summary:Have the right operating standards first then hire, train and reward staff for following your plan on how to operate your businesss.
Have the right operating standards first then hire, train and reward staff for following your plan on how to operate your businesss. Your Hidden Asset
The balance sheet for every business includes items like cash, inventory, property, accounts payable and equity. Nowhere on any balance sheet that I have ever prepared or read is there a number for the most valuable asset of the business…your customer.If you have followed my articles, you already know I am fanatical about developing a customer data base and implementing an effective communication strategy with customers and visitors to your business. I have developed this view after working with possibly the most notable and successful consultant in the world – Jay Abraham. I have further imbedded this concept into my business soul by working with a number of the most successful Internet marketers and direct response marketers who universally state their only asset is their list.
There is an entire website devoted to this issue which is www.localretailmarketing.com So I will avoid the temptation to lecture here. However, before moving off this point, the following are important:
Have as one of your primary missions to develop your customer and visitor list beginning now. This next sentence will seem self serving because in some respects it is, but let me assure you that you will never regret outsourcing this program. Of course you should hire me to get it done for you because I know how and I can do it much more economically than you can. And one more thing: if you say you are going to get it done, you won’t and you will be leaving tons of money on the table.
Do not attempt to implement a communication strategy using email with your own servers.
Integrate membership programs, email autoresponders, email broadcast and eCommerce at the same time.
Have a website and blog as a foundation for your customer and visitor list development program.
Have multiple secure backup points for your list – your most valuable asset.
My business is based on the theme “no reports…just results”. So let’s look at a couple topical items based on what seems to be a hot topic in the trade journals.
First Example: Can a C-Store successfully compete With Starbucks?
Second Example: Can an older C-Store successfully compete with a new format store like those being opened by Rally’s or Home Depot?
In each case the answer is in your people, your offer and your management of your customer list. Attempting to win on price won’t work. In the Starbucks’ example, their target audiance is not that price sensitive. So you have to offer a competing or even better product (not hard to do) with a higher perceived value. How do you know what to do? You test your ideas. In the case of Home Depot or some of the other major players coming out with new and exciting formats, you cannot compete on price because they have deeper pockets. You have to be prepared to take a bit of a hit when a new store opens and then win back your traffic plus add new customers with your service level, your product offer and your customer communication strategy. The big players will have a tough time competing with your local retail marketing strategy. They won’t be as nimble as you can be.
Now if you are a national chain leader reading this then you need to be implementing local retail marketing because the facts are most of the local merchants will not take action on this and when you do you will take major market share.
Let the games begin and remember the game is always won in the details.
Steve Pohlit, Business Consultant
PS. This article and a growing list of all articles developed by Steve Pohlit can be found at www.stevereports.com
|Steve Pohlit is a CPA,MBA and has been the CFO of several major domestic and international companies. Today Steve is an expert business consultant focused on helping companies improve their business performance including growing profits, revenues and customers. For a FREE 6 week mini course where you will receive 10 easy to implement action steps guaranteed to increase business revenue and profits by at least 30% in the next 90 days, please visit www.StevePohlit.com All articles published by Steve unless specifically restricted may be freely published with this resource box in tact.