Want retail success? Choose your ideal customer.

December 6, 2011

To have a successful retail business the first and most important ingredient you need is customers. That’s obvious you might say, but it isn’t quite that simple.

You need to know who your ideal customer is. The more detail you have to describe your ideal customer, the easier it will be for you to target and attract them.

A successful business equally knows who isn’t an ideal customer.

I remember back to many conversations I had with business owners when I was working in the advertising industry.

“Who is your ideal customer?” I would ask.

“We don’t discriminate, we want everyone”, would often be the reply.

Marketing your business to everyone comes at a substantial cost.

By targeting your ideal customer you will give yourself a much greater chance of converting them into first time customers and building trusting and long term profitable relationships.

Retail Fundamental:  Know who your ideal customer is.

Let’s say you own and operate a paint store.

Is your right customer Mr. John Smith, local D.I.Y. home owner who paints his house once every five years?

Or, is it Pink Flamingo Painting Services, a professional painting business with four vans and 12 painters that on average uses twelve thousand litres of paint per year?

Don’t be too quick to answer.

On the surface Pink Flamingo Painting Services is a much better customer. However, the right offers and experiences for this business are vastly different compared to those for Mr. John Smith.

Can you positively deliver the right offers and experiences to both? Can you do this better than your competition? If not, you have to choose one or the other depending on your ability to meet and exceed their expectations. Each has very different needs as you will see below.

Businesses expect numerous things including:

  • Talking to someone who speaks their language.  Are you a professional painter or will you have to employ one or more?
  • A product range that is specifically suited to the professional market.
  • Trading terms of thirty, sixty or even ninety days. How will that affect your cash flow?
  • Trading hours to suit so 6am starts may be necessary. What will this do to your lifestyle?
  • On site delivery. Can you afford the additional staff and transportation?
  • Substantial discounts. What will that do to your profit margin?
  • Special events both social and educational. Can you organise all this or will you have to pay for outside help.
  • Free products as gifts. You have to factor this in to your bottom line.

Mr. John Smith has different expectations including:

  • As he is not an expert he will usually demand a lot more of your time before buying. How will you provide personalised service in a crowded store?
  • A sale may only occur after several visits if Mr. Smith needs to bring his spouse in to the store to give her opinion. Can you handle that?
  • While the trade usually shuts down on weekends and public holidays, that’s when homeowners have the time to paint. How will opening on weekends and holidays affect your lifestyle?
  • Wallpaper is making resurgence. Will you stock it? Will you keep a generic range or will you stock designer labels?
  • Suede, textured, metallic and stone are just some of the in vogue paint effects. Are you able to provide classes?
  • As another point of difference, will you provide an in home colour consultancy service?

Who is your ideal customer?  Are you trying to appeal to everyone?

There is an ancient proverb which perfectly illustrates the error of this approach.

“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape”.

Not sure who the ideal customer is for your Melbourne retail business?

Contact me today to arrange an immediate appointment.

To your abundant success,

Written by: Leon Skaliotis – Founder, Retail Fundamentals.

Providing Retail consulting services Melbourne

Leon is an accomplished business coach and retail specialist in Melbourne, Australia, who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create highly profitable businesses by attracting shoppers and converting them into loyal fans.

To receive your free copy of “Retail Secrets Every Owner Should Know” click www.retailfundamentals.com.au

You can contact Leon on +61 425 83 3344                                                                                                                        or email info@retailfundamentals.com.au

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