Moving towards your future success


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I believe that we’re always moving either toward or away from success. This is true for companies and individuals. Our challenge is that that success is also moving, driven forward by changes in market and industry conditions, technology, changing consumer preferences, and local and national events.

So not only do we need to make sure our strategy and tactics are moving us towards success, but we have to be moving as fast, if not faster, than the speed of change. That was a lot easier fifteen or twenty years ago.

I see six key areas of focus in which a specialty retailer must develop and grow to create the necessary movement forward toward future success.

1. Leadership development. It doesn’t matter if you’re an owner, executive, or manager – you need to be growing by leaps and bounds. It doesn’t matter if you’re a single store, a national chain, or somewhere in-between – you need to be growing by leaps and bounds. This is the area that is probably receives the least attention in any size company.

2. Staff development. Especially as it pertains to adding value to the customer’s experience and maximizing the sales opportunities. Specialty retailers who fail to do this and cannot compete on price stand a good chance of being insolvent before 2020.

3. Customer community marketing. The specialty retailer’s future success depends on the ability to emotionally connect with customers at the store and extend that connection into the customer’s life. Simply being transactional is like dragging an anchor while chasing future success.

4. Seeking out opportunity-centric vendor and product mixes. Just a few years ago we advised retailers to select vendors and products based on their targeted customer. While that’s still true, it’s also vital that retailers select vendors that offer retailers the best opportunity to be successful. That means not only selecting the right companies and brands, but also removing those that don’t properly support your path to success.

5. Leveraging technology. This is going to be a challenge for all retailers, but especially for smaller independents and regional chains. As consumers, especially those under the age of 35, blur the line between online and brick and mortar retail, retailers need to integrate more technology into their customer experience. Greatest opportunities are with customer engagement tools and mobile point-of-sale.

6. Proactively managing experience elements. We’ve said for years that retail is detail, and with today’s finicky customers the details are the difference between winning and losing customers. From visual presentations to customer engagement, the ability to create and manage repeatable authentic experiences is essential.

Here’s a quick exercise. Score yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 in each one of these categories.

So let me ask, how are you doing in the six areas? More important, are you moving forward fast enough?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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