The diamond in your offering
There are a series of activities which have a positive impact on the profitability of independent convenience retailers and their suppliers, ‘lets call them to do lists’. This information is supported by consumer research and working examples from the UK and International retailers.
The ‘Diamond’ in your offering, an absolute ‘must do’ is to achieve complete clarity on what you stand for in the eyes of your customers. This is the reason why anyone chooses to spend money in your store and not with your competitors. If you cannot identify this, how do you expect your shoppers to?
To achieve and sustain profitable growth you must have a clear customer proposition. It is unfortunate that many of us make an assumption that our proposition is obvious to our customers and we focus on our product and services, prices and promotional offers.
The result taken from many consumer research areas is the perception by the buying public that most if not all independent convenience retailers are the ‘same’. The opposite response if you mention Marks & Spencer’s, Sainsbury etc is more clearly explained by the consumer.
Most products and services that we sell are available from other retailers, online sellers and the High Street so a unique customer proposition is at the top of our ‘to do list’. What does our customer proposition describe?
Why a customer should buy from us rather than any other retailer. It is the sum total of the benefits which we promise a customer will receive when they shop with us. It must be delivered consistently and you must assess and revisit continuously. As we must continually convince customers that our products and services deliver better value, meet their needs or solve their problems better than any other retailer.
To develop a unique customer proposition or confirm our existing one we must:
- dentify our target groups
- Understand their needs and what value they want
- Make it your business to find out what they find inconvenient
- Discover the most effective way to communicate with these groups of customers
- Find our/observe their purchasing behaviours
- Find out what needs are met by different products and services
- Look at all ways to make our offer distinctive
- Communicate our offer and its unique features as our “customer promise”
- Ensure we always deliver each piece of this customer promise
- Make certain that store staff fully understand how to ‘live’ the customer promise
- Regularly confirm our customers needs and their views on our promise
- Quickly adjust and communicate all improvements
Take a look at the following site which demonstrates examples of excellent customer propositions:
Warner’s Budgens: ‘Real food for today’s communities’. The ‘who we are’ section of the website shows a clear and precise proposition