By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
August is one of my favorite months. Why? Car shows. For years, I went to Reno, NV to Hot August Nights and was awed by all the hotrods, classics and antiques that were on display. What I wouldn’t give for some of that chrome and horsepower.
Why do I bring this up you may ask? I like cars. The point is, as I work on my own car, a 1999 Chevy Suburban, I think about ways to make it run for another 15 years (238k miles so far). As I replace parts, many choices are usually given to me; I can get upgraded brakes, longer mileage tires or replace other parts with higher performance equipment. The logic is they will last longer and help my vehicle last longer too. Upgraded maintenance is my goal.
Your company is just like my truck. I have to make sure that the products I buy and use are of quality, serving me for many more years to come. In retail, it’s kind of the same thing, the upgrade equals profitability.
For example, I’m putting a Magna Flow Exhaust system on my truck, increasing my gas mileage, the stainless steel lasts longer, plus I’ll get a little kick of horsepower. In your business, the items you purchase to make your business run need to be of a higher quality, because purchasing substandard equipment or products will most likely hurt you in the long run. This is anything from delivery dollies to the tape you use to ship boxes with as well as the boxes. Bad tape needs more tape to hold it together and bad boxes need more tape. Going cheap gets expensive quick! Sometimes spending a little more goes a long way towards your bottom line and in my case, my mileage gauge.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
There are waves of words that are popular to use in the retail world at any given time and seem to come and go like fashion trends. However, there are also a few that have stuck around and are now part of our industry’s standard vocabulary. One of these words is success. “I run a successful business.” “The show was a success.” “XYZ product launch was successful.”
Often, “how” is not added to these statements, so we all just assume they were—well, successful. But how do you know you were really successful? The most practical way is to first standardize what will constitute success. This is most commonly dictated by numbers. If 35 percent of the customers we reach come in and make a purchase then the marketing campaign must have been a success! Right? As I see the lines blurring more and more between my own business and personal life, I’ve found success to be much more subjective. For instance, if 35 percent of the customers who came in only made a minimal purchase to get a freebie offer, would these numbers still sound successful to you? Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t track your successes with numbers, but I am challenging you to look a little deeper and start tracking your business successes the same way you track achievements and milestones in your personal life.
How? Through the behaviors, opinions and needs of your customers. What if you take the 35 percent of customers that came in and made a minimal purchase to receive “freebie offer” and gave them a one hour free consultation with your home designer to select a color palette, furniture and accessories for one room of their home most in need of a makeover? You have engaged with your customer, heard their needs and you can now follow up with them and offer a personalized package of products and services tailored to exactly what they want. I’m sure this will be the beginning of a long term relationship with those customers and most importantly, constitutes a very successful and rewarding business campaign indeed.
Until next time,