Say what you will about the economic mess and its impact on everything retail – it’s bad for business. But so many people forget that people still have to eat. They still have to shower and look presentable. They still need to wear and clean their clothes. They still need to drive cars.
The fact is that people still need to do a lot of things. Simply because they have to. They cannot survive with food and warm clothing in the winter.
What does that mean for retail?
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
People may trade down but they won’t stop spending completely. It’s about wants versus needs.
Women still WANT to wear make-up. A car still NEEDS gas. Johnny still NEEDS a pair of jeans to go to school in. The kids WANT and NEED a visit from Santa.
The list of necessities today is far different than it was not so long ago. Ipods, flat screen TVs, satellite TV, TIVO, computers, Xbox/Nintendo Wii/Playstation are all needs today — and those are just electronics. Okay, so maybe they’re not necessities for everyone. But families that can afford to buy these things aren’t going to stop buying altogether. They’ll just buy one thing instead of two or three.
And that’s how you can, as a retailer, weather the storm. It’s recognizing what people want versus what they need and satisfying both for each and every customer.
Play up the NEEDS at the front of the store in terms of the merchandise you’re displaying. Focus on things they can’t do without, or shouldn’t do without. The things that are necessities.
Then entice them to turn their wants into needs. A cute little item at the cash wrap. A little indulgence if you will. People, even in tough times want to splurge. To give themselves a little comfort.
Everyday, people are making choices about what to purchase. Make them buy what you’re selling. Offer them value. Offer them a free gift. Offer them a coupon on their next purchase. Just about anything you can do to “sweeten the pot” so to speak is going to help.
You have to get one step ahead of your competition in order to win the sale in these tough times. Every customer who walks in has an angel and a devil on their shoulder, trying to convince them to do the right thing.
You can play the angel and the devil — it depends on who you are as a person and what you’re selling. A retailer is going to make the sale — it’s just a question of who is satisfying their wants and who is satisfying their need. You can do both and look like a couple of angels sitting on their shoulders.