Many have become more conscious about spending, not unnecessarily because they have to, but because they feel less secure about the future. There's a lot of talk about the "New Normal", but what exactly does it mean to your business?
Here are just a few of the buzz words we've picked up on:
Diversify; Emotional engagement; Brand integration; Self serve; Polarizing; New modesty; Revolution in values; Ethically based choices; The Power of the Individual; Staff dependency; Time Management; Downsizing; Empowerment; Skill development; Opportunities; Indispensable; Leverage
But knowing what you do well and doing more of it, is your first directive.
And by all means, never forget to engage your FIVE SENSES:
1. WHO is your new customer?
Your new customer requires "emotional engagement", because the importance of the experience now outweighs the importance of the purchase. This means you are now more dependent on your staff than ever before. In fact, sometimes staff is your new, most important customer. You always said they were, but were they really? The power of the individual not only means the consumer's increased ability to drive economic decisions, but it also represents your staff's ability to actively participate in the restoration and re-growth of your client base. Your attention to your staff needs must ramp up, NOW. Re-assessment Leadership Skills; Job Descriptions; Evaluations; Pay Scales; Rewards; and Disciplines. Do not underestimate this critical part of the New Normal.
2. WHAT does your client need now?
Two points prevail:
i) A Revolution in Values - Service will unduly be your key competitive asset in both of these categories; but the adaptation of stronger belief systems related to ethical and emotionally based choices may force you to re-evaluate your business strategies as a whole; not only in your staffing plans, but including your purchasing and operational plans.
Need i) = A revolution in values means you need to show quality and commitment through obvious value and informed business choices.
ii) Stricter Time Management Controls – Provide your clients with time saving service and shopping solutions to help them get to their next task quicker, and their next appointment, on time. Never frenzied, but always efficient. Depending on your situation, consider these points instead of, OR in addition to traditional methods: Self-serve bars and services; expanded "On the Go-Go" (mini) service menu. And think "speed shopping": Re-visit service and product bundling; direct shoppers to items under $ 20; $ 50; and $ 100; have a "Top 10 Must-Haves" checkout section.
Need ii) = Stricter time management controls mean you need to provide service and shopping solutions in record time.
3. WHERE should you direct your attention?
Supporting your brand with new integration strategies, such as stronger in-store advertising campaigns, will expand and diversify your existing client's purchasing decisions. Focus on cross promotion; up-selling; and add-on selling through repetitive exposure on multiple levels and stages.
* Consider polarizing your choices from mid-level services and price points, to budget and luxury only. (Remember the hourglass shaped economy model is morphing into the pyramid shaped economy model).
Announce to potential clients that you offer both luxury items, as well as the less expensive versions of them. If you have both, you can cater to your client's "new modesties" and avoid the always frowned upon, mediocrity. For now, it sees your clients are either interested in budget purchases only, OR luxury items only (but fewer of them).
4. WHEN can you feel better about the future?
NOW, because your downsizing (or restrictions) over the last year have empowered you and your staff. Cost-cutting may have improved your profitability; forced you to acquire increased levels of skill development; making you more indispensable; and providing you with industry influence. Opportunities abound if you are only prepared to enjoy your new-found potential.
5. WHY are your old ways no longer effective?
Not only have there been radical changes in personal priorities; there have been radical changes in business, and it's called diversification. Your near-term survival is important, and I'm going to accumulate your long-term survival is too. Retailers are becoming suppliers; and suppliers are becoming retailers. As suppliers move ever closer to the consumer, so you must find ways to supply bigger business. Your focus, if not global, must at least be larger in scale. Your ability to diversify and develop off-shoots of your business may be your saving grace.
Your job: Integrate new strategies and diversify revenue streams that will ensure your growth into the future.
Your 6th Sense:
In this case, it's not intuitive; magical, or even spiritual, it's just three facts: Prioritize; Focus; and Commit. You've heard it said before; these are always the primary ingredients that are missing in the struggle for success. Just remember: DO NOT take it on unless you are fully committed; DO NOT ask for advice or assistance from anyone who is not fully committed; and most importantly; DO NOT underestimate what fully committed really means.
Today's Key Take-Away:
Service is undecidedly your key competitive asset.