Peter Budd, marketing consultant with Photo Direct, challenges independent retailers to ‘take a look at your value proposition through the eyes of your customers’:
They validate the catchcry by pointing to the experience, technical skill, knowledge, personal service and time their friendly staff devote to their customers as key points of difference to what the BIG players in the sector offer.
And they push the notion that if they keep going that extra mile, customers will surely beat a path to their door and their cash registers will beep loudly and constantly. But for many, going that extra mile doesn’t appear to be a profitable, let alone sustainable strategy anymore. Sadly what many retailers THINK to be their point of difference is NOT what their customers believe or experience – or even value. And that’s where the problem lies for many retailers. They are not looking at their market offering through the eyes of their customers!
As a result customers are voting with their feet and going off to find better value at some BIG players’ stores or somebody’s online store. If this resonates with your situation maybe it’s time to stop, take a deep breath, go back to the basics of marketing and take a long close look at these types of questions:
1. Which segments of the market are the best for you to pursue? Remember truly effective segmentation means your choices must be measurable, substantial, accessible, differentiable and actionable.
2. Who should you target within those segments? Be sure to use the various consumer profiling tools now available to better define who you want to target, so that you’re always talking to the right people about the right offer.
3. What customer insights have you discovered about your chosen target audiences? This is where data or survey analysis – and being truly close to your customers – helps identify the quick wins you can achieve because you’ve made the effort to discover the DNA of your target audiences.
4. How do you use those insights to differentiate your market offering and create better customer value? Savvy retailers know that customers want value and are willing to pay for it. Here’s where the fun starts, as you get to develop products and services that consistently delight your customers.
5.What’s the best way to position your market offering in the minds of your target customers? Positioning is all about the way your store is defined by consumers on important attributes and the place your ‘brand’ occupies in the consumer’s mind relative to competing stores. Of course you are not Apple, but for example you could study the their approach and adapt it to your purposes.
Addressing these questions and implementing the required changes will ultimately lead you to the delivery of superior customer value. Then your competitors had better watch out!
– Peter Budd, Photo Direct