July 3/10: Volume 32, Issue 2
By Pamela Danziger
A recent survey among small businesses conducted by American Express found growth is the No. 1 priority for small businesses, and that means marketing. Of course, online and social media is a given, but it takes more than high-tech tactics to invigorate marketing for small independent retailers—flooring stores included. The real power of marketing a small business comes through the personal experiences it is powered to deliver.
To many retailers’ dismay, however, the traditional marketing practices founded on the four “Ps” model of marketing (product, place, price and promotion) are no longer working like they used to. That is because marketing has been transformed, not by technology and Internet “disrupters” but because the needs, priorities and, most importantly, the mindset of shoppers have all changed.
In order for retailers to be successful in this area, experts believe their marketing efforts must evolve from the traditional four Ps into the four “Es” framework as described by Brian Fetherstonhaugh of Ogilvy & Mather. These are as follows:
Experience replaces product. In today’s retail environment, the shopper experience seals the deal.
Place becomes every place. Retailers cry out for limited, exclusive product, but that only sets up a conflict between product suppliers and the product sellers. Product is available everywhere, so retailers need to make sure every shopper touchpoint communicates the retailers’ special experiential message.
Price is now exchange. The old idea of “Price it low, watch it go” has become a race to the bottom. But the winner of that race ultimately loses. Today shoppers want to understand the value they get in exchange for their attention and their spending.
Promotion evolves to evangelism. Old marketing consists of “in-your-face,” push promotion, which only interrupts and irritates shoppers. Evangelism, on the other hand, is about “pull marketing,” which entails enticing shoppers via word of mouth and other curiosity-building techniques.
Retailers that understand their success is determined less by what they sell and more by how they sell product are called shops that pop. This is defined by a shop that creates an extraordinary customer experience that includes not just extraordinary products but also extraordinary displays that attract customer curiosity, in-store service that builds customer involvement and prices that offer the greatest value.
Rather than just a store set up to sell stuff, a shop that pops becomes a stage on which the shop owner tells their special story to (and for) the customer. It combines a unique vision with carefully curated products and services delivered in a personalized way. Specialty retailers must play to their No. 1 competitive advantage: their personal touch.
Maya Angelou famously stated, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” and that is the power of personal retailing. It is the kind of personal touch that people shopping for their homes crave. After all, good flooring products are available most everywhere, oftentimes lower than specialty retailers can afford to match. What the best customer prospects are looking for is more than just a product at a low price to cover their floors. They want to patronize a shop that puts them, their needs and desires first—a shop that truly understands them.
Pam Danziger is the owner of Lancaster, Pa.-based Unity Marketing. She will be a first-time presenter at The International Surface Event (TISE), where she will discuss “Transforming Your Floor Covering Store into a Shop That Pops!” on Tuesday, Jan. 30, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.