Everyday I hear someone complaining about retail and how it’s “dead”
Usually the “victim” is some retailer who didn’t think this whole internet thing was going to take off and is crying poor that online killed their business. To be honest I don’t have a lot of sympathy for them because if you didn’t see the writing on the wall back in the early-mid 2000’s then you probably shouldn’t be in business at all.
One of my favourite quotes of all time is three simple words. Innovate or Die.
Yes, traditional retail has changed significantly over the past 10 years. Customers are no longer dictated to by retailers and now they hold the power when it comes to purchasing decisions. Convenience is king and by that I don’t mean extended trading hours, I mean 24/7 convenience, shopping from a train, or an airport lounge or the toilet. Yes, as gross as it is a study by Inc has shown that up to 61% of people use their phones whilst in the bathroom. 92% of those were engaging with social media and 49% read or responded to a text message (I’ll just leave that thought with you for just a moment)
Why all of this potty talk? Well, the point is that retail isn’t dead, your customers are just elsewhere and as retailers it’s up to us to find them. Start looking and investigating. Start tracking website and facebook traffic and understanding more about them and create retail experiences for them.
Here are a couple of BS excuses I hear all the damn time when trying to “sell” online retail to traditional bricks and mortar retailers….
BS Excuse #1- I don’t know where to find people online
(Guess what your storefront is open 24/7) to customers ALL AROUND THE WORLD.
Not just people who happen to be walking past it when you happen to be open.You can now trade in your sleep. I discovered i had a LOT of traffic coming to Bombshell Bay from Scandinavia because a the time, a blogger had written about us and posted some images from our range (we hadn’t even contacted them, they found us) So
BS Excuse #2-People won’t be interested in what I’m selling because they don’t know my brand
This goes back to your Customer Profile Bingo sheet. I am constantly discovering new customers and guess what, just because they all have one thing in common (they are women) does not mean that they are identical. What women in the US want is different to what women in Australia want (my first trade show taught me that in a very valuable lesson where I didn’t sell one “best seller” from our Australian range and sold all of our under performing products to a US retailer (lucky too because it was all gathering dust in our warehouse) Anyways, it could be different products for different geographic regions or it could be that your niche is totally underserved in their country and they will do anything to get their hands on your products. Find out what they value and start marketing it to them.
BS Excuse #3- People won’t buy what I’m selling because they can’t touch it
Think people won’t buy your product online because they can’t touch it? Feel it and make an informed decision on if they would like to part with their hand earned cash? Guess what, just as if you are standing in a physical retail store you have to overcome objections that a customer might have. It’s a new set of skills required for this… instead of having staff member on hand you need to think about having great clear product photos, informative product descriptions (that overcome objections, highlights features and benefits and also demonstrate how your product will alleviate their pain point)
I could go on and on and on and on but I won’t because I think I’ve made my point that retail isn’t “dead” it’s just different and retailers can choose to find a reason not to prosper in the current market place or they can innovate and and thrive.
IMAGE: VICKIE LIU