Our "Retail Adventures" research is featured in the January 2008 issue of Home Furnishings Business Magazine!
Taking On All Challengers
By Howard Whitman, Managing Editor
Retail is, by nature, a competitive occupation.
While we all want the furniture industry as a whole to prosper and grow, the sad fact is, it’s only human nature to want to do better than the “other guy” down the street. Sometimes getting the edge over your competitors could mean the difference between celebrating your store’s anniversary or posting signs for your going-out-of-business sale.
In today’s constantly changing market, outperforming competitors requires daring new approaches for running your business. Fortunately, noted retail consultants Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender were on hand at the Summer 2007 Las Vegas Market to offer some “battle tactics” in their discussion provocatively titled “Neutralizing the Competition.”
Older Rather than Younger
Perhaps you’ve heard of Kizer and Bender. They’re the pair that go to such lengths for research that they disguise themselves (in full costumes and makeup) as senior citizens to experience client stores as older customers.
One of the main reasons they do this: “The customer base is getting older rather than younger,” Kizer said, “and it’s changing the way we do business at retail.” Therefore, entering a store as older folks is simulating typical customers.
And what does today’s customer base want? “Service and experience,” Kizer said. “This is the age of experience and direct market fulfillment. You compete for the customer’s mind.” He added that when customers buy from you, they “join a club. It’s a culture, a mental attitude.”
Kizer and Bender said that in their travels around the country, they look for unique attributes that enable businesses to stay ahead of their competition—even from outside the retail community.
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