Don’t forget to sell your services!

5 06 2008

I like using independent retailers both on-line and on the high street, but it’s all to easy for customers to overlook them as the major retailers have huge marketing budgets at their disposal to get their messages across. Effectively this can knock the small retailers off the shopping list of potential customers.

But there are ways small retailers can counter this and let me give you an example.

I once had to buy a new tumble dryer, not the most exciting of purchases. Anyway, I dropped into my local independent electrical retailer – Kitchener and Thomas in Penarth, South Wales and priced up a tumble dryer. The assistant was very helpful and knowledgeable. They checked and confirmed the door could be reversed and when I asked about delivery this was the response.

“We have this model in stock, what time today would you like us to deliver”

How perfect is that. I said 4pm and at exactly 4pm the delivery men turned up, brought the tumble dryer up 2 floors of stairs to my apartment, the door had already been reversed for me and they took all the packaging away. Naturally I was totally impressed.

I did think,  I must have paid a bit more for shopping local, so out of curiosity I checked on-line with a major retailer and they had the same model for exactly the same price. But they would have charged me £30 for delivery. The local shop delivered for FREE. This made them 10% cheaper and their delivery service was perfect.

So when I recently moved house and needed to buy a new washing machine, microwave oven and vaccum cleaner – guess where I went, yes it was back to Kitchener and Thomas. This time they had to deliver 12 miles away and again the delivery was on a day and time that suited me. I didn’t even bother to waste my time shopping around because I knew this store would do their best for me and provide me with an excellent service at a great price.

I’ve had other good experiences from small independent retailers, but what surprises me is that many of these businesses seem to be hiding their light under a bushel.

To help win more customers they can do some straightforward, very inexpensive marketing to highlight their strengths. With my tumble dryer example, I’d suggest the store should have a sign in the window that could say:

  • FREE LOCAL DELIVERY – ask in-store for details

This at very least will give passing customers a solid reason to consider entering the store.

Further messages could include:

  • Over XX years of electrical goods experience
  • Friendly, helpful advice
  • Competitive prices, FREE delivery, wide choice

A small sign to highlight the benefits of choosing your benefit will cost next to nothing, you can print it yourself and stick it to a piece of card and as long as the execution is kept clear and simple it will look suitably professional, and you wil also be able to change your messages on a regular basis.

Remember, the big retailers have long made full advantage of their shop windows and I hope our independent retailers can start to do the same.





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