Customers are enthusiastic about shopping, independent of where they go to. It can be the Internet shop, the social networks or in the brick and mortar store. With consumers increasingly becoming more experienced with the internet, retailers need a solid “cross-channel” strategy. The search for product information, the sales initiation and the sales incentive often take place in other channels than the actual purchase.
Retail of tomorrow means that one thing cannot be done without the other. While some of the customers are happy to receive in-house advice and then shop online, other customers inform themselves online and then buy in the brick and mortar shop. In addition, very often the Internet helps to find the best offer.
This development offers many opportunities for retailers. Companies should find out how to reach their target customer with different sales channels to gain new customers and keep them loyal in the future. An important part here is the emotional connection of online customers with their favorite online shop.
But who exactly is the customer who buys through these different channels? Roland Berger Strategy Consultants , has specified the following purchase types:
The possibilities to sell goods to customers have never been easier and numerous than today. eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Craigslist, online stores, mail-to-order, garage sales, flea markets, auctions, product parties and pop-up stores are just a few alternatives to the classic physical store. This huge selection enables customers to shop according to their preferences.
Business is tough! When you start a business, you should find out what the competition is doing! To gain market-share you have to beat the competition! To be successful you have to offer a better product at a lower price offering better service! – Sounds familiar? We all know this. Business books are full of it. But is this really the way for a company to be successful, in a time when everything seems to be upside down? Can it not even be dangerous to do what competitors are doing, just trying to do it better?
Markets, products and customers are changing today faster than ever before. Who still thinks that phone calls overseas have to be expensive? How much do we have to pay for social media? Can you publish a book yourself today? Hasn’t Amazon opened a store where you can leave with the product without payment?
One way to be successful in today’s marketplace is to not to fit in or stick out of the competition, but to be different. Instead of butting heads with other companies, eliminate the competition by doing what nobody else does. Create new demand for products and services that only you offer. Sounds difficult? It is, but wait, there is help.
W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne developed a strategy to maneuver around the competition and sail in untapped ocean of new markets. Whereas other companies fight in cutthroat competition that turns the ocean bloody red, companies following this strategy may find calm blue oceans to sail in. That’s why it’s called Blue Ocean strategy
Your home is your castle. Everybody knows the feeling to come home after a long day or trip and fall in your favorite chair and leave everything behind. Your home provides this shelter and feeling of security.
Our homes play an important part when it comes to determinate who we are and our goals in life. The old saying “Fine feathers make fine birds” is broadly accepted and someone looks like a million dollars in a exquisite suit.
Unfortunately this perception is not so much accepted when it comes to our homes. Because a home is also a hiding place where you crawl into when you need a break, the influence of the interior design is underestimated. We think nobody sees the wobbling chair or the chipped table. But unconsciously you see it yourself and it influences your attitude.
In her successful book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” the author Marie Kondo describes the meaning of uncluttering and organizing. I think this book has changed the minds of numerous people.
But its not only the tiptop looking home she is talking about, she is also talking about valuing and respecting your belongings. The things you own should be meaningful to you and you should take good care of them. I think this starts when you purchase a product:
Before you buy something new, make sure you really need it. A lot of times products are only used for one time occasions and can be easily borrowed from friends or neighbors.
Do your homework before buying something new. Look online and visit different stores to get a good idea how your product is offered. What are the different designs and what are the different price points. Be sure to check the whole product range from the cheapest to the most expensive offer.
Check out why there are different price points. Is it because a vendor can offer cheaper? Is it because the difference in quality? Be careful with “Sales”: Be sure a product is significantly marked down and not just reduced.
Regarding the quality, check carefully if a lower price justifies the lower quality. Is the price low because the product was produced overseas under unbearable conditions? In Germany we have the saying “Who buys cheap buys twice”
Before the final purchase, picture the product in your home. Measure carefully and if in doubt visit the store again with your questions. Make sure the color fits in the room. Be sure you understand all features of the product and how they are useful.
Everybody wants to be happy. Customers want to be happy. Businesses want happy customers.
There is a lot of advice out there on what to do and not to do, to be happy. Here are some core messages and how businesses can act accordingly.
Be Happy to be Happy
One of the most important things for a happy life is a happy attitude. People that live every day as if it were their last, enjoy life and don’t worry much. When people live in the present moment they understand better what’s important and stop chasing the future. Carpe Diem – Seize the moment. Act now and not later! Keep asking yourself what’s really important and will something matter in a year from now.
Businesses who follow that path accept the limitations of planning. Planning is a process based on assumptions with a high chance of mistakes. Because you never know what may happen, plan for several possible futures. A plan should only be a guideline for a business rather than a default.
It is also helpful not be rely on experience. Experience is always related to the past and strongly dependent on specific situations. What worked in the past must not necessarily still work today.
Businesses should also be careful with the trust in “facts” or in “experts”, because every situation is different and general advice often does not help in special scenarios.
2. Positive Thinking
Successful businesses have meaningful goals. They appeal to the customer in many ways, not just one. They are filled with inspiration, because common sense is not enough to reach inspiring results. These companies believe in what they are doing and combine bold dreams with realistic expectations.
Successful companies embody a fundamentally positive business attitude. Negative thoughts are ignored, because of the snowball effect and the power of these thoughts. Problems are considered a potential source for learning. The unknown is part of daily business life.
Fill Your Life with Love
People are interested in a person who is interested in them. Each person we meet has the potential to teach us something. Instead of putting others in their place we must put ourselves in their place. Before you satisfy the client understand and satisfy the person.
Business is done between people. Selling is based on relationships. Believing in the best in people usually brings out the best in people.
“People can be the wind beneath our wings or the anchor on our boat”
John C. Maxwell
4. Appreciate Yourself
Successful companies celebrate who they are and what they have. They have trust in their intuition and listen to their feelings.
The first competitor of a business is indifference. Successful companies look for the extraordinary in the ordinary and go where others aren’t. They stand for one distinctive thing that will give them a competitive advantage. This is a promise to the customer.
5. Do it for You
And finally business should follow the Nike Slogan: “Just do it!” Marginal tactics executed passionately almost always outperform brilliant tactics executed marginally. Good should not be ruined by perfect. Failure is part of the process and helps succeeding. Remember that you become what you practice the most.
As the saying goes, Money alone cannot buy happiness. But money can buy, what makes people happy. This was shown by numerous studies to this subject by Elizabeth W. Dunn of the University of British Columbia, Daniel Gilbert of Harvard and Timothy D. Wilson of the University of Virginia. Here are eight ways how spending money really makes you happy.
1. Prefer memories over products
While material things are quickly perceived as boring, the memory or traveling or attending concerts last longer.
2. Spend money for others
There is no indication that people are happier when they simply spend more money for themselves. But anyone who donates parts of his income or purchases gifts for others, is happier on average. There is neuroscientist evidence that people who are asked to donate to a local charity, have brain activity in regions of their head that are also active when people are rewarded.
3. Buy less insurance
The research of Mr. Gilbert shows that people deal much better with disasters than they would believe. He speaks of the psychological immune system. In contrast, buying extended insurance warranties that extend the guarantee of a product is not always useful.
4. Pay now, consume later
Anticipation is the greatest joy! The great thing about anticipation: It often makes you even happier than the actual event itself.
But many people pay for their purchases with credit cards. That means: Consume now, pay later. The nuisance of having to pay is pushed into the future, which is supposedly not as bad. Experiments show that this is not the case.
5. Pay attention to the “unimportant” things
People make poor judgments regarding their future happiness feelings of purchases and tend to overestimate some of them. In other words they think buying a product makes them happier, than it actually does. That’s why you should think about in detail how you would actually use the product in everyday life. You may be surprised!
6. Buy many small amenities, instead of a few large luxury items
Little pleasures, great happiness: Treating yourself to something frequently is more important than quantity, number or scope of the item. An experiment showed that people prefer short frequent massages over a few long ones.
7. Do not compare too much
Research shows that people comparing different offers prior to a purchase mainly focus on the price. It would make them much happier to spend a little a more and get better quality. The quality difference of product is often not obvious at the moment of purchase but comes out later through the use of product. In Germany there is a saying: “ Who buys cheap, buys twice!”
8. Follow the crowd
Experiments show: Those who rely on the experience of others have a better chance to invest their money properly – and to be happy with a purchasing decision. The abundance of consumer reviews for all kind of products and services on the web is therefore very helpful.
Source: Sueddeutsche Zeitung; November 20, 2012: So macht Konsum gluecklich
In 2007 PricewaterhouseCoopers did a study about the developments in the retail industry with the name: “Retailing 2015: New Frontiers”. That study was updated in 2012 with new insights named ”Retailing 2020: Winning in a polarized world”.
As a result both studies confirm that the retail industry is becoming more complex and changing faster than ever before. The furniture industry faces the same challenges. A look in the retailer magazine of the North American Home Furnishing Association shows that new technology and changing customers are forcing retailers to adapt to the changing retail environment. On the other hand, new technology and a bigger variety of customers also opens opportunities in the retail market.
In order to take advantage of the upcoming changes Jazzy Jobber follows this development very closely. The following post identifies three key developments in the retail marketplace:
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