By James B Fisher
As often happens, a customer recently contracted with us to assist them in evaluating some of their stores. The primary reason for the analysis was to create specific data on a store-by-store basis that would assist in making correct management decisions relative to the “product and service mix” provided in each store. In the words of the company’s COO, “we want to remove ourselves from the generic across- the- board corporate offering, and correctly respond to the needs of our existing customers by adjusting what our stores offer on an individual trade area. Thereby, insuring we can provide relevance to our customers in terms of everything we offer to them in their personal environments.”
We have all heard for years that there are truly only three ways to increase individual facility sales. First, attract more customers. However, we know this can be time consuming and expensive. The second way is to get our customers to increase their shopping frequency with us, i.e., become established as significantly important to them through varied actions and roles. And third, sell more to our existing customers on each of their visits, i.e., be able to fulfill more of their needs and have an increasing role in their lives. We accomplish this action by giving ourselves the ability to successfully achieve intercept marketing by enhancing our products and services offering.
It is the third action where we can get the “biggest bang” because we are successfully drilling to the center of our core customer groups. It is through our success of captioning this core business that we have the most efficient and direct impact to the bottom line. It is essential to create relationships that result in interdependence between us and our customers; a perspective that allows our customers to think of us in terms of serving them on a multi- tiered basis through various product offerings and service functions.
It is all about customers; how to acquire them, how to serve them, how to keep them, and how to become part of their lives. Simply put, becoming customer relevant. Know who your customers are. Identify their wants. Understand their needs. Satisfy those needs and make a difference. These are core perceptions that allow us to create interactive, value-added relationships resulting in increased sales.
Not recognizing such core perceptions lead to the creation of a golden opportunity lost; mis-direction of business focus. How many times does this happen in our own stores in dealing with our most valued and significant customers? It is amazing how quickly we recognize loss of focus when it happens to us during any sports or athletic activity. Why can’t we so easily recognize the same loss when it comes to our business? It is an absolute truth that if we focus on our core customer segments our businesses will flourish on a continuing basis. We never have to look to the outside for opportunities, we only have to remain focused within. Meaning, making our stores market/trade area specific for just those customer segments that are relevant to this location alone……forget all other retail units you have for this moment. By focusing on specific customers at specific stores is how we “sell more stuff”.
We adjust, modify, and respond as the market requires of us. As it changes and goes through all of its stages of metamorphisis , so must we as retailers. We cannot continue to operate within a market vacuum not adjusting to changing conditions and environments. For if we do we cannot possibly serve the ever-changing needs of our customers and we cannot become, and remain relevant in their lives.
To contact Jim:
16360 Park Ten Place, Suite 102
Houston, Texas 77084
281.398.0321 – Phone
800.231.4678 – Toll Free
281.398.0679 – Fax