22 Sep 2021, 11:57 — 7 min read
Today every shopkeeper or a small business owner has one question on their minds -- how to compete with ecommerce marketplaces, malls and big brands who have deep pockets to market and also they can offer huge discounts. Can small business owners survive these strategies? Here are my thoughts.
You will say what's new in this point, we know how to deal with customers. Many times our behaviour leaves a negative impact on customers' mind when they come to shop for something. Customer has a right to check, compare and know all the things about the product they want to buy. A shopkeeper has to show him/her all the options available, and provide all manner of assistance. Sometimes a customer will end up the visit without buying anything, but this should never be the reason to disrespect the customer. Sometimes owner is very well behaved but the staff is rude towards handling the customer. Here staff should be strictly instructed about proper behaviour with customers. Remember, if customer feels that the service provider is acting rude then that customer will be lost forever and he will narrate this to others as well. So behave well with your customers.
Most of the customers who buy online or from the malls have only one reason: "discounts". Yes that is true! Though in some cases there are no upfront discounts; some change MRP and again its lowered to show it as a discount. But what we have to understand is that humans like discounts and when they give a lower amount than what they are asked, it makes them feel good about it. Psychologically this might be boosting their ego and they feel like getting a victory in a war. So why not let your customer have that winning feeling every time when they come to shop. Let's assume that any business allows 5-50% of the profit margin. So can't we share small part of our profit with these customers? Remember a small discount offered to customers will make them return to shop. So the choice is yours.
Also read: Decoding Psychological Pricing
Every time a customer comes to shop or sometimes just for inquiries, let them be comfortable in your business place. If a customer does not feel comfortable, he will stop visiting your shop. You can give him something extra by providing a home delivery; extra carry bag, small discount, some credit if you know him, free sample or just a smiling face! Is this very difficult? We have to understand that everyone expects to get something extra than what he actually pays. So let's not disappoint the customer and give them a great shopping experience.
Sometimes to attract customers, shopkeepers compromise the quality of the product to reduce cost and increase profits. However in the long run, poor quality products will impact you negatively. It is better to educate customers about the quality and price of the product rather than giving them inferior quality products at low rate. This will build trust and customer will feel that they will never get cheated in your shop.
When customer buys certain products which comes under warranty, they have a faith that local shopkeeper will be helpful when it comes to warranty or change the product. Sometimes customer can return the product after trying or may be size change is needed. So never let your customers down when it comes to after sales service. Be it repairing or checking the product onsite, replacement or changing the part or whatever it takes, stand with your customer if you want them to come again to your shop.
Ecommerce sites and big brands have CRM where they remember all the important dates of customers like birthdays, anniversaries etc. A person will feel good if he/she gets a message and special offer for shopping on their special day. There is no need for important software for this. You can use calendar feature on your phone and set a reminder. See the magic.
A different set of vendors can come together and can organise an exhibition kind of thing in festive season or off season so customers can come and they can have a feel of shopping mall and get all the items under one roof. Shopkeepers of food stuff, clothes, cosmetics, jewelry, grocery etc can come together and give customers a feeling of mall culture. Vendors can keep this exhibition in bigger halls or banquets. This will beneficial to both customers and vendors. Every vendor will get other vendors' customers and all customers will come in contact with new vendors. They can market this expo well in advance with newspaper ads, pamphlets etc so customers won't go to malls especially in festive seasons or off season sale.
Nowadays people can use new ideas to increase profitability in business. Particular vendors of a region can come together and buy products together so they can negotiate better with the upper level and ask for additional discount. This will increase the profitability and they can compete with malls and ecommerce sites. This is not very simple but if one can implement this effectively, it will give them huge advantage.
In this way any small business can survive the difficult time where big brands are ruling the market. They can try implementing above pointers and see for themselves the difference. Nothing is permanent and nothing is impossible. If you have a will and you don't mind going the extra mile for your customers, then no one can stop you. Cheers!
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Posted byJaimin Rasiklal Doshi
Hi Everyone! This is Jaimin Doshi. We are the manufacturer and exporters of Cloth bags, carry bags, shopping bags, packing bags and much more..As an owner of my company I have to...
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