Most know ShoeCircle is fiercely against the status quo. The 6 most dangerous words in business are, “we’ve always done it this way”. In my humble opinion, this statement is a death march and an outdated ideology. Tradition is a good thing when it keeps our business values strong, but a hindrance for tomorrows survival and growth.
By now you should be receiving our periodic updates that are seeing ShoeCircle become a greater part of the B2B re-order and footwear viewing landscape.
Our industry like many others is going through an incredible amount of disruption and change. The change in many cases is fuelled by technological advancements that is not only changing the brands customers purchase, but the way in which they purchase them. Other examples of the disruption we’re referring to range from the taxi industry being disrupted by UBER, the hotel industry being disrupted by Air b’n’b; Apple and Spotify are revolutionising the way we listen and purchase music and Facebook had more than 1.7 billion global users last month (in Australia, 9 million used Facebook in May 2016).
The below recent statistics on the increase of Australian Smartphone use as it relates to purchasing are also jaw dropping;
- 89% of Australian tax payers own a smartphone (9 million people)
- 51% of Australians are happy to receive retail offers on their mobile device from brands
- 73% of Australians have made a purchase on a tablet
- 58% of Australians have made a purchase on a smartphone 2014 AIMIA Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index
When did this all happen? And how does this shift in behaviour affect traditional selling habits for footwear retailers?
Quite frankly, the customer is distracted. It is ever more important today for stores to discover their unique selling proposition – your defining distinction to compete. Be it your service, location, product mix, discounting, range width, database marketing, advertising initiatives, technology or focusing on a specific segment such as health footwear – the first question you must answer is ‘why’. Why do your customers need your product or service? Why are they buying from your store to begin with and possibly why are they not returning?
Below are 4 key points to consider if you’re in retail. I call them them the non-negotiables. Lets begin:
- Become Internet Active –If your customers are searching online, they MUST see you there and even better, be able to purchase from you. ‘Shop Local’ campaigns are incredible but are limited to converts or people who walk by your store. You must give your customers an opportunity to stay loyal with you online, this goes beyond walk-by traffic. This must now be part of your offering along side your unique product mix and sensational customer service levels.
- Your Customer Service –These levels MUST be draw dropping. Customers should be raving about your service commitment. After recently being privy to a large American car company’s service performance sheet, they stated anything under a 9/10 in rating was considered a fail. How would you rate your customer service? Is it a 10/10 Or 5/10? have you blended into ordinary? (Link to our footwear training website here – Barlan Consulting)
- Database Marketing –Every customer that walks in and purchases are your converts. Let this statement sink in before reading on – you’ve converted them, and have given you their money. You MUST be able to communicate with your converted customers at a later stage. Many converts are distracted by other offers well over 100 times before they come by your store again. In most cases, they just need a prompt by you to remember you’re still there and willing to serve them well. Don’t rely on your customers to remember you (most will, but be proactive in this regard). Be confident in how great your store is and how much you appreciate their custom when they return.
- Move past your lease line – Take comfort and medical products as an example. Engage where your customers are; retirements villages, podiatrists, hospitals etc. Home visits are also something you may want to consider to keep your customers loyal and interested in your new product.
Keep these 4 points in mind when working on you business.
ShoeCircle launched in May 2014. We are pioneering an easier way to view and purchase indent and refill product as well as producing proven ‘footwear specific’ customer service practices. We are in essence, a free retail use one-stop buying portal for regional and city independent retailers. We assist brand representatives and agents in the field by making their product available to you 24/7, while also being able to let you set the tone for the brands that best suit your product mix. All current wholesale pricing arrangements remain the same when buying on ShoeCircle, agents still receive their commission and reps are still paid their salary. Many of the brands currently on ShoeCircle have their own wholesale portals and we are still, receiving over 150 retail views a week.
Change is constant, so discovering new ways to evolve to our new customer, adapt and grow your business should be at the forefront of our minds. If you want to be in business in 5 years time, ask yourself today how business will be conducted in 5 years, then do it now. Our team remains dedicated to changing the way it’s done (not for changes’ sake), but to adapt and evolve to a changing global landscape where easy ordering and functionality play a key role next to B2B relationship representation.
Don’t hesitate to contact Jane at ShoeCircle or myself directly with any questions you may have. For more information contact email@example.com and for queries – Jane: firstname.lastname@example.org Or phone 02 8923 2515
ShoeCircle Presents; Your Footwear Success – Footwear Sales & Training
Date: Saturday 16 July 2016, 6:30pm
Location: Sydney, Adina Foyer – Surry Hills
ShoeCircle will be presenting a Footwear Information Evening for Suppliers and Retailers. Further information to come. If you are interested in attending the evening in Sydney please email email@example.com with the word ‘Interested’ and the number of staff you would like to bring. Evening and presentation will be $49.95 p/p and includes dinner. Topics covered on the night will be related to our ‘must do’s’ section above along with a live ShoeCircle ‘how to use guide’.
About the Author: Barry Nicolaou
Barry can be contacted here: firstname.lastname@example.org