Posted in Newsletter

Upcoming

Just to let you know so that you don’t miss out:

The next issue of ReadThinkLearnLaugh will be published on Wednesday. We don’t publish often, but when we do it is worth it. This issue focuses on the Retail Experience. It contains HEAPS of research, videos, links to outstanding articles and some of the best downloads you can imagine.

There is a social media starter guide as well as a Facebook Marketing Guide – by Facebook! There are example and ideas and insights that should kickstart any business owner into action. Miss it and miss out.

Drop your email in the ‘subscribe’ box on our homepage.

The next two blog posts are scheduled for the week and cover:

  • a simple research technique
  • a quick introduction to the quick ratio

All good stuff this week – thank me later 🙂

Do it now…

Dennis

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Posted in Management, Marketing, Newsletter

A new way of doing business

[This is an extract from the ReadThinkLearnLaugh Newsletter Archive.]

It’s a buzz: S-Commerce and you have heard about it, right?

It’s not just eCommerce or internet retailing; it is now about social commerce. (Meaning it’s all happening at the social networks – probably Facebook if you want to be realistic.)

The so-called gurus are mostly talking rubbish, to be straightforward. They claim that:

  • Internet shopping is growing at such a rate that traditional retail will be redundant soon
  • Customers can always find the lowest price on the net, and they are now trained to look for the lowest price
  • There is no way a traditional store can compete
  • The market is changing and it is irrevocable
  • Traditional media is not effective at reaching new customers.
  • Customers do not want to be interrupted, they now want to be treated with respect, and you must be prepared to have a conversation with them.

There is more, but when I have explained these, you will get the point.

Internet shopping is growing at such a rate that traditional retail will be redundant soon

ECommerce makes up about 4% of total retail sales.

The internet is changing the way we are shopping, but not THAT we shop. As long as people still buy stuff, retailers can come up with a strategy to succeed.

Customers can always find the lowest price on the net, and they are now trained to look for the lowest price

Customers have always (and still do) want to get value for money. Nobody has ever wanted to be ripped off. The internet makes it easier, sure, but it does not change the fundamentals. If you have not figured out how to provide value for money, then you should. But it is not new; maybe just a bit more urgent.

There is no way a traditional store can compete

Of course they would say that. They want your money.

The market is changing and it is irrevocable

What’s new? Change is the only constant as the cliche goes.

Traditional media is not effective at reaching new customers.

When was the last time YOU clicked on a Facebook Ad – or even on Google Adwords?

  • 99.9% of people who are served an online display ad do not click on it.
  • TV viewership is now at its highest point ever

Customers do not want to be interrupted, they now want to be treated with respect, and you must be prepared to have a conversation with them.

Hey, next they will tell us customers are people with real feelings. Whoopeedoo. They mean that the conversation you must have with the customers should happen via whatever channel (read website) they happen to masters of.

SO what to do?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Luddite.

I was on Twitter Feb 2009 – 2 years ago, and on Facebook July 2007. (How does that compare with your resident guru?)

As a centre manager in 1999, I argued that we should be planning our retail mix to assume that Sanity won’t be around. (Sanity being a chain of music stores for international readers.)

I launched my first internet start-up in 1997, an online tool allowing brokers to market office space when realestate.com.au was a twinkle in someone’s eye.

I am currently involved in another internet start-up with a friend and colleague who, if you don’t use his services, you should.

I say this so that you will believe what I tell you.

The internet is just technology. We change behaviours to adapt to it. (Just like video technology changes how meetings are held.)

But it does not change the fundamental needs or attributes of humans. It does not change what people value.

The rules of a successful commercial enterprise are not different.

Just like we had to learn to accept EFTPOS at the cash desk, we have to learn about all the new channels and technologies. But the rules are no different, even if the technology is.

We still have to go to where our customers are. You still have to be respectful, you still have to add value, you still have to figure out what the customers want and provide that at a profit.

NO CHANGE.

So there is nothing to fear.

Don’t get left behind as technology is being introduced – make time to experiment and try a few things.

Here are three sites you can try.

  • SHOPTAB starting from $10 per month
  • STORENVY which is free
  • PAYVMENT – apparently the hottest start-up in this space, also free

I am NOT offering my services to help you with this. You don’t need help. You don’t need a guru/consultant.

What you do need is a kick up the arse to just go and do it.

Posted in Future, Newsletter, Shopper Marketing

A new way of doing business

[Extract from previous newsletter. If you receive that, ignore this.

If you don’t receive, why not? Just drop your email in a box…]

It’s a buzz: S-Commerce and you have heard about it, right?

It’s not just eCommerce or internet retailing; it is now about social commerce. (Meaning it’s all happening at the social networks – probably Facebook if you want to be realistic.)

The so-called gurus are mostly talking rubbish, to be straightforward. They claim that:

  • Internet shopping is growing at such a rate that traditional retail will be redundant soon
  • Customers can always find the lowest price on the net, and they are now trained to look for the lowest price
  • There is no way a traditional store can compete
  • The market is changing and it is irrevocable
  • Traditional media is not effective at reaching new customers.
  • Customers do not want to be interrupted, they now want to be treated with respect, and you must be prepared to have a conversation with them.

There is more, but when I have explained these, you will get the point.

Internet shopping is growing at such a rate that traditional retail will be redundant soon

ECommerce makes up about 4% of total retail sales.

The internet is changing the way we are shopping, but not THAT we shop. As long as people still buy stuff, retailers can come up with a strategy to succeed.

Customers can always find the lowest price on the net, and they are now trained to look for the lowest price

Customers have always (and still do) want to get value for money. Nobody has ever wanted to be ripped off. The internet makes it easier, sure, but it does not change the fundamentals. If you have not figured out how to provide value for money, then you should. But it is not new; maybe just a bit more urgent.

There is no way a traditional store can compete

Of course they would say that. They want your money.

The market is changing and it is irrevocable

What’s new? Change is the only constant as the cliche goes.

Traditional media is not effective at reaching new customers.

When was the last time YOU clicked on a Facebook Ad – or even on Google Adwords?

  • 99.9% of people who are served an online display ad do not click on it.
  • TV viewership is now at its highest point ever

Customers do not want to be interrupted, they now want to be treated with respect, and you must be prepared to have a conversation with them.

Hey, next they will tell us customers are people with real feelings. Whoopeedoo. They mean that the conversation you must have with the customers should happen via whatever channel (read website) they happen to masters of.

SO what to do?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Luddite.

I was on Twitter Feb 2009 – 2 years ago, and on Facebook July 2007. (How does that compare with your resident guru?)

As a centre manager in 1999, I argued that we should be planning our retail mix to assume that Sanity won’t be around. (Sanity being a chain of music stores for international readers.)

I launched my first internet start-up in 1997, an online tool allowing brokers to market office space when realestate.com.au was a twinkle in someone’s eye.

I am currently involved in another internet start-up with a friend and colleague who, if you don’t use his services, you should.

I say this so that you will believe what I tell you.

The internet is just technology. We change behaviours to adapt to it. (Just like video technology changes how meetings are held.)

But it does not change the fundamental needs or attributes of humans. It does not change what people value.

The rules of a successful commercial enterprise are not different.

Just like we had to learn to accept EFTPOS at the cash desk, we have to learn about all the new channels and technologies. But the rules are no different, even if the technology is.

We still have to go to where our customers are. You still have to be respectful, you still have to add value, you still have to figure out what the customers want and provide that at a profit.

NO CHANGE.

So there is nothing to fear.

Don’t get left behind as technology is being introduced – make time to experiment and try a few things.

Here are three sites you can try.

  • SHOPTAB starting from $10 per month
  • STORENVY which is free
  • PAYVMENT – apparently the hottest start-up in this space, also free

I am NOT offering my services to help you with this. You don’t need help. You don’t need a guru/consultant.

What you do need is a kick up the arse to just go and do it.

In the meantime, back at the ranch…

You still have to know how to merchandise and how to price and generally run your business.

In the newsletter I include a link to two eBooks. Both are extracted from eBooks that have been sold commercially, so there is actual value. If you subscribe, you will get the link…

But more importantly, by actually doing something with the tips and techniques contained in those books, the value is immeasurable.

We can help of course, if you need it.

Sure we gallivant at conferences, and we have puff pieces written in the media (Article in Newsagent Magazine) and appear in trade magazines. But that does not mean we are not approachable or real. We have customers (actually most become friends) who need us and we need them.

Neither of us is special in any way and if I ever acted that way you have permission to kick my butt. I say this because occasionally someone writes/comments on something and I sense that they don’t feel confident in doing it as if our opinions somehow carry more weight.

Don’t think that; you deserve better.

And if you think you may want to ask about something you may need assistance with, don’t hesitate.

I caught up with another friend the other day – if you sell gifts, and you don’t stock his stuff you are missing out – and he said: I had a look at your website and I have no idea what you do. (That was a wake-up call, I tell you.)

In case you don’t know either:

Ganador helps organisations implement their brands in a retail environment.

We develop strategies, systems and people to perform in a retail environment ad we do that by measuring the performance, designing appropriate strategies and equipping the people to implement those strategies. Typical products are:

  • Mystery Shopping
  • Retail Audits
  • Retail Ready Brand Assessments
  • Customer Experience Design
  • Knowledge Management
  • Internal Communications
  • Customer Communications
  • Training (online and offline) – our favourite because it empowers YOU

OK, all that shameless self-promotion is out of the way for some time now. (Actually, that was the first time I think?)



Posted in Newsletter

Too boring for words, right?

Customer service is a boring topic.

But in today’s competitive (and rapidly changing) retail environment, the ‘human touch’ is the last (and most critical) differentiator between online and offline retail.

Creating and delivering an AWESOME customer experience is what is really required. This is MORE than customer service; but great customer service is a PREREQUISITE for CXD.

You have to get the foundation on which you want to build the experience right first.

But HOW do we actually, practically DO IT???

This is the topic of this months newsletter…

This post is especially for blog readers who are not subscribed to our (infrequent, but value-packed newsletter: ReadThinkLearnLaugh).

It will go out within the next 24 hours at most, so subscribe and get the free whitepaper (16+p) that comes with it as well.

Simply click on the link to come to the website and the subsctiption box is on the right-hand side.

But you gotta be quick because the next one won’t be for a couple of months…

Regards

Dennis

 

Posted in General, Newsletter

Customer Service: A whitepaper

For the benefit of RSS readers of this blog; I just wanted to point you to this whitepaper on Strategic Customer Service. (The last entry on the list of downloads.)

I was written for subscribers to the Ganador RTLL newsletter. If you would like to receive it directly, just drop your email in the box. All the usual assurances apply…

Cheers

Dennis

 

Posted in Finance, Newsletter, Retail Operations

Coupons are discounts, but better for business

Coupons are discounts, but they are better for your business:

> Advertised price-cuts can be forgotten, but your coupon can occupy some real estate in the customer’s wallet.

> Coupons can be targeted better than a general discount.

> Coupons may be funded by a supplier.

It is a good idea to always include a coupon in any form of communication that you have with the customer. For instance:

  1. When you notify them of a prize that they had won, include a coupon.
  2. When you send your monthly statement, add a coupon.
  3. When they visit your store and buy above a threshold amount, reward them with a coupon to be redeemed at their next purchase.

Coupons can be personalised, and you can effectively track which ones are more successful than others – which of course means you run them again!

When the local footy club asks for a donation, they are interested in cash. But instead of saying ‘no’, you can always offer them a series of unique coupons.

It is better than ‘no’ and it shows some goodwill. This way you can rotate your donations annually and satisfy the endless demands for sponsorship that way. [If you really want to get smart, you can promise them X% of all redeemed coupons as cash sponsorship for next year.]

If you are thinking that coupons/ vouchers are old hat, consider this iPhone App (application) that is revolutionising the business in the UK, and is heading to Aus.

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Posted in Finance, Newsletter, Retail Operations

Coupons are discounts, but better for business

Coupons are discounts, but they are better for your business:

> Advertised price-cuts can be forgotten, but your coupon can occupy some real estate in the customer’s wallet.

> Coupons can be targeted better than a general discount.

> Coupons may be funded by a supplier.

It is a good idea to always include a coupon in any form of communication that you have with the customer. For instance:

  1. When you notify them of a prize that they had won, include a coupon.
  2. When you send your monthly statement, add a coupon.
  3. When they visit your store and buy above a threshold amount, reward them with a coupon to be redeemed at their next purchase.

Coupons can be personalised, and you can effectively track which ones are more successful than others – which of course means you run them again!

When the local footy club asks for a donation, they are interested in cash. But instead of saying ‘no’, you can always offer them a series of unique coupons.

It is better than ‘no’ and it shows some goodwill. This way you can rotate your donations annually and satisfy the endless demands for sponsorship that way. [If you really want to get smart, you can promise them X% of all redeemed coupons as cash sponsorship for next year.]

If you are thinking that coupons/ vouchers are old hat, consider this iPhone App (application) that is revolutionising the business in the UK, and is heading to Aus.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Posted in Marketing, Newsletter

On being an All Star

Time for some shameless self promotion.

Got a note from my provider (Constant Contact) that we made the grade to be qualified as an ‘email marketing all star’.

I thought I would publish this on the birthday week of the blog. It is a good excuse to invite the readers (especially RSS and email subscribers) who never get to the site, to subscribe to the newsletter.

The criteria we had to meet were:

  • Averaged a bounce rate less than or equal to 15%
  • Averaged an open rate of 20% or higher
  • Sent Constant Contact emails regularly  
  • Averaged a click through rate of 2% or higher 
  • Received no compliance related complaints or inquiries

I have no idea if that is high enough, because our stats are substantially better than that… which means we must be doing something right.

On top of that, I got some feedback on the last newsletter (see latest copy here) from one of the members.

He wrote this:

I enjoyed your big picture perspective on this – hell, I enjoy all your pieces. Keep it up Dennis – you are one of few commentators I think are worth listening to.

I was flattered. I am sure it is not unanimous, but it may suit your style and your needs…

To get the email, you have to be a member of RetailSmartResults Group. Getting the email newsletter is the only communication you will receive from the site – and there are HEAPS of other benefits. And we have some good stuff in the wings.

If you are serious about your professional development and you work in the retail supply chain, this is the place to be.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Posted in Marketing, Newsletter

On being an All Star

Time for some shameless self promotion.

Got a note from my provider (Constant Contact) that we made the grade to be qualified as an ‘email marketing all star’.

I thought I would publish this on the birthday week of the blog. It is a good excuse to invite the readers (especially RSS and email subscribers) who never get to the site, to subscribe to the newsletter.

The criteria we had to meet were:

  • Averaged a bounce rate less than or equal to 15%
  • Averaged an open rate of 20% or higher
  • Sent Constant Contact emails regularly  
  • Averaged a click through rate of 2% or higher 
  • Received no compliance related complaints or inquiries

I have no idea if that is high enough, because our stats are substantially better than that… which means we must be doing something right.

On top of that, I got some feedback on the last newsletter (see latest copy here) from one of the members.

He wrote this:

I enjoyed your big picture perspective on this – hell, I enjoy all your pieces. Keep it up Dennis – you are one of few commentators I think are worth listening to.

I was flattered. I am sure it is not unanimous, but it may suit your style and your needs…

To get the email, you have to be a member of RetailSmartResults Group. Getting the email newsletter is the only communication you will receive from the site – and there are HEAPS of other benefits. And we have some good stuff in the wings.

If you are serious about your professional development and you work in the retail supply chain, this is the place to be.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Posted in Branding, General, Marketing, Newsletter, Words of Wisdom

The downside of branding

[This post was originally published in ReadThinkLearnLaugh – our monthly newsletter. Subscribe here to get the good stuff…]

Actually a better title would be: The Downside of Brand Loyalty and the Meaning of Life

  • Is marketing evil?
  • Do you feel guilty that your job is essentially the promotion of conspicuous consumption?
  • Is selling stuff for a living just so shallow?

Is or was it something that bothered you? Have you ever thought you should just chuck it all in and go and work for a charity or volunteer for missionary work because of the apparently meaninglessness of your day job?

This is something that took me a long time to resolve, and it was important to me that I was able to reconcile my desire to live a worthy life with my need to earn a living.

By their nature, organisations are systems that demand consistency and predictability – and ultimately repeat business. Converting customers into brand loyal followers achieves all of this. Organisations have created (or rather adopted) the notion of brand to hi-jack consumer decision-making; to improve the odds of repeat business.

Because marketers strive to make their brands the preferred choice (top of mind) to the exclusion of all others, a brand is meant to become some shortcut for decision-making.
When marketers succeed, there is a significant downside to the consumer. Once people become brand loyal, they:

  • Forfeit the opportunity to experience variety
  • Deny themselves the opportunity to seek and find greater value
  • Miss out on the epistemic value of new products/services
  • Impoverish their long-term decision-making ability as they fail to evaluate and incorporate changing values and product attributes.

Consumers trade all of that for a few seconds of thinking time when it comes to making a purchase.

If conspicuous consumption is undesirable and creating brand loyalty (arguably the marketers number one job) is the strategy to tip the odds in favour of the organisation to the detriment of the consumers; does that mean what we do for a living is bad or unworthy?

The answer, in my mind at least, is absolutely not.

Whilst any one job in any one organisation in isolation may seem to be promoting conspicuous consumption to the detriment of individuals, there is a bigger picture here.
Collectively, as we all do our individual jobs, we are contributing to a rich and diverse society that offers people choices. It is not just me promoting my brand, there is you, and John and Jerry and Mary and Sue too. And it all adds up to a market place that gives society a rich palette of options.

So while the individual’s pursuit of his or her own goals seems narrow and selfish, the fact that there are millions doing so simultaneously, means we have created a system that, as a whole, is a healthy environment.

That is the epitome of civilisation: people who are free to exercise their choices and have the opportunity to do so.

And despite what you may read in pseudo-science magazines from time to time, marketers cannot control consumers’ minds. Subliminal advertising (and the story about coke & popcorn ads flashing during a movie) is just urban legend.

So, when you are promoting your product, you are actually part of a bigger ecosystem which is a crucial part of our social fabric – without which our lives would be so much the poorer.

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