On Monday, October 15, Sears filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, announced the shuttering of more than 140 stores and fired its CEO. None of these actions came as a surprise to anyone who has followed Sears recently. There will be many who attribute Sears’ woes to Amazon and other online etailers. That’s not the reason for Sears’ current predicament. In fact, Sears was Amazon before the Internet was even a pipe dream.
Common complaints among consumers shopping at brick and mortar retailers include bad customer experiences, bad customer service, having to cater to the convenience of the retailer and being directed to buy whatever the salesperson is spiffed on.
Your potential customers won’t tolerate salespeople who do not place them at the center of the universe. According to BKBG Conference workshop leader the Retail Doctor Bob Phibbs, most people believe closing occurs when a customer decides to buy and either signs a contract, agrees to pay for an item or puts down a deposit. Closing, according to Phibbs, is the end of the selling process. It’s the conclusion of a journey. In a kitchen and bath showroom, closing occurs after a customer decides, after talking with a designer or sales professional, to partner with the showroom to create a new kitchen, bath or other space in their home.
Seth Godin is one of the most admired and respected minds in marketing today. He is the author of more than a dozen books and publishes a daily must-read for anyone who runs a business. What makes Seth special is that he looks at the world through different lenses, constantly challenging the status quo to take fresh new approaches that work more often than not. He was among the first marketing minds to understand that the way people purchase had changed and recognize that it is necessary to change messaging in order to respond effectively to the paradigm shift that had taken place.
There have been numerous studies that show being an optimist is good for your physical and mental wellbeing. However, does the benefits of being an optimist translate to the showroom? Not necessarily. According to Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, there are generally two types of people: multipliers and diminishers. Multipliers, as the name implies, highlight the intelligence and skill sets of their co-workers. Conversely, diminishers do exactly the opposite. Even the best managers and leaders can have elements of a diminisher in them because their personalities are so large they tend to inhibit or intimate their fellow team members.
Millennials get a lot of press. They are the largest generation in U.S. history and will eventually be a major market for kitchen and bath showrooms. However, at the moment, they are not as important as two other market demographics which are:
Women are the premier purchasers of more or less everything. What are you doing to specifically craft messages, services, designs, merchandising and displays that appeal to women?
No one wants to pay too much for a new kitchen or bath. Everyone seemingly wants a deal, prompting many showrooms to offer a discount on their products and services before the customer even asks for one. This practice devalues what you bring to the table, brings price into the conversation front and center and reduces your negotiating power.
Brookstone recently announced that it is closing its 100+ mall stores to focus its energies on 30 brick and mortar airport locations and ecommerce. It’s another sign of a niche brick and mortar retailer seemingly throwing in the towel. For more than 40 years, Brookstone has offered quirky, niche products ranging from drones and all types of remote controls to 3D printed pens. Similar to recently shuttered Shaper Image and Radio Shack stores, Brookstone did not adapt to the changing retail paradigm that has resulted in a significant decline in shopping mall traffic. But it would be a disservice to Brookstone to blame online competitors and Amazon as the primary reason for its restructuring and substantially smaller footprint.
In 2011, Google coined the term, Zero Moment of Truth as the time between a consumer’s first interaction with a brand and the final purchase. If you don’t believe that the customer buying journey has undergone a complete transformation in the last seven years, consider this: consumers review on average 22 sources on information before making a purchase, and that number is more than 40 in categories such as travel and hospitality.
Learning new things can be difficult. It becomes even more challenging when the subject matter that you are trying to master is one in which you are not interested. However, this process does not have to be painful writes Dr. Barbara Oakley, in her book Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential.
How many times after working a full day do you believe that you did not accomplish as much as you wanted to? Have you ever wanted to add an additional day to the week or a few extra hours to a day in order to get through your “to do” list? A challenge in improving your and your team’s productivity is to determine how you currently spend your time. There are a number of apps that can assist such as Be Focused Timer, which is free, an enables you to track blocks of work and track past work history. Another app, Focus Booster ($2.99/month individual, $4.99 month professional) tracks where your time goes and can link revenue, projects and meetings to your to-do list tasks. There are literally dozens of others and always the option of tracking your time the old-fashioned way by recording it on a spread sheet in hour or half hour increments.