I’m often asked by Independent Retailers how they can compete with larger businesses. My answer is that they need to do 4 key things:
- increase the footfall into the store,
- extend the dwell time once customers are in the shop,
- improve the loyalty to the shop
- and ultimately convert more sales!
And to do all this, they need to define and refine their brand.
We often think it is only big businesses like McDonalds, Poundland, JLP, Harrods etc., that are brands where you know what they stand for and therefore what to expect in terms of product quality, design, service, price etc. - and on that basis you decide where you are going to shop.
But actually all of our businesses, whatever the size, are a brand and already everyone we deal with will have a view on what we stand for and whether what we offer is right for them. So what are you known for?
It is critical that you have a clear understanding of what your customers and potential customers are thinking about your business.
Do you know how your customers would describe:
- your product offer
- Your pricing
- your shop environment
- the service they receive?
BE HONEST… is this what you would want them to say? Are there things you need to change or improve?
My advice to you is to be clear about what your brand should stand for, check that it does, and make sure your customers experience this… build on it and do more of it. If there are things that are wrong change them.
BUT - Don’t try to do everything. If you do your customers will get very confused.
For example, if you are known for stocking cheaper volume lines then don’t be tempted to stock a more premium brand because no one will be expecting to find it in your store. Likewise if you are known for stocking premium ranges don’t be tempted to offer cheaper products that will devalue the more expensive lines you are offering and will spoil customers’ feeling of shopping somewhere special!
It is really important that you are clear about what your brand stands for and be able to summarise this in 10 clear bullet points… so make sure you can!