Tuesday, 5 August 2014

ONE STEP AHEAD OR IN THE MOMENT


Retailers need to be one step ahead, good forward planning is essential for products to arrive on the shop floor at the appropriate time.  Retail campaigns need to be rolled out in a timely fashion so sales targets can be achieved and unsold stock avoided. Certainly these days with the continual decline in customer footfall on our high streets retailers with a bricks and mortar shop cannot afford to miss any opportunity to create sales.

So timing is everything, but here’s the thing, in general customers are not likely to be thinking one step ahead when they’re out shopping.  They’re more likely to be ‘in the moment’ and this can often be at odds with the bigger retailers. If you’re like me you only think of buying shorts and t shirts when the sun is shining and the temperature gauge goes up, not three months before when the summer collections hit the shops. By the time shopping for summer clothing is on my radar most of the shops are selling woolly jumpers and I’m sure I'm not on my own here!

Now I fully understand and appreciate that the big retailers need to clear their stocks.  Their turnaround is frighteningly fast and if they’ve done their job properly they’ve purchased well and sold it quickly.  On the other hand, independent retailers have to be so much more to keep their businesses thriving. They don’t have the resources or buying power of the big guys but being small gives them the advantage of being versatile and able to respond quickly to windows of opportunity.  So in the middle of summer when the high street multiples have moved onto autumn maybe this is the time for independent retailers to be engaging with those customers who want to fully appreciate being in the moment, enjoying all the delights and trappings of summer without being reminded about the onset of autumn.  Small retailers can (and do) set the trend, they don’t have to follow!

Without repeating myself again (which  I’m told I do a lot), if you genuinely know and understand your customers you’ll have a firm grasp on how they shop so you can give them what they want when they're looking for it, and sometimes even when they don’t know it themselves…

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