Small businesses are facing never ending pressure from global competitors, on-line is no longer a distant future it is in every home and must be in every high street shop. It is time to change the high street business model.
I am a Sage UK Business Expert and research by Sage UK found that small companies generate 75% of their income locally. For every £1 spent locally, 50-70 pence of that money recirculates back into the local economy. For every £1 spent out of the local community or on-line, just 5 pence trickles back into the local economy.
The high street is under pressure to get local support as they find themselves competing for limited footfall on the high street and with global on-line retailers.
What are the constraints of trading in bricks and mortar on the high street?
• Business rate tax on bricks cannot compete with ‘click and deliver’.
• Bricks and mortar carry higher overheads in staff costs and fixtures and fitting.
• Lack of physical footfall is an issue with the growth of on-line customers.
• Lack of time resources/lack of knowledge of how to use and capitalise on social media platforms
• Do not know how or where to start to develop both a ‘bricks and click’” and ‘click and collect’ strategy if their business is to survive.
Understanding your customer is the key to business grow if you can give them what they want when the want it you are on to a winner.
Equally, there is no point having a great on-line presence if the offline bricks and mortar does not match-up. Although we are in a digital age, the brand values must be consistent and integrated. On-line must drive customers to the shop, and the shop must help the customer who cannot visit the shop to buy on-line but the customer experience must be seamless.
In my book Business Evolution Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing world and created the ‘Essential 4Ps’ relevant business growth strategies to help you understanding your customer and their needs, such as:
1. What is the profile of my customer?
2. Who was a customer but has lapsed?
3. Who else might be a customer?
4. What unique value do I offer my customer?
5. What else might my customer need?
6. What are my customer’s expectations?
7. How can I reach my customer?
8. What language do I need to use?
Once you have a clearer understanding of your customers and their needs, use customer analytic. This is can help you to develop both off and on-line strategies by collecting customer data and organising it into valuable information.
What customer data must you collect to create valuable strategic information?
1. Average purchase size: How much do your customers spend on a typical purchase?
2. Lifetime value: How much money does the buyer persona spend with you over their lifetime?
3. Acquisition costs: How much have you spent on marketing and sales to get this type of customer?
4. Retention costs: What do your buyers need to stay? Do they need much support, training, or communication? Usually, it costs more to acquire a client than keep them.
5. Customer happiness: Are your customers satisfied with your products or services? Are there groups of happy and unhappy customers, and what is the difference between the two?
6. Value alignment: Are your intended customers buying from you? If the intended core customers are not buying from you, then who is?
Whether you are a brick and mortar high street shop or an eCommerce site, understanding your customer’s wants and needs is still critical to growing your business.