Christmas Shopping Lessons for Entrepreneurs
Ho! Ho! Ho!
I’ve always said I never wanted to work in retail. It’s hard work and unreasonable hours. Customers expect too much and are willing to pay too little. Employees ask too much for doing too little. And both groups are probably stealing from you.
It’s a harsh judgement based on limited evidence, I know, and my recent Christmas shopping experience has given me new insights and a new respect for retail.
You may have noticed, my latest entrepreneurial adventure is writing fiction. It has been an interesting and challenging process and forces me into doing retail. There’s no point in writing the book if you don’t sell a few. So, after the writing comes the marketing and selling part of the adventure.
At a recent book-signing and author sales event in the local shopping centre, I learned some useful general principles from the Christmas shoppers and the bookstore. Here’s what I learned that’s worth sharing:
- The customer in the store is still the best source for market research and feedback on your product, price, packaging, and positioning.
- Retail sales people do best if they like the product they’re selling and they’re supported by effective tools for making the sale.
- Direct contact face-to-face with customers is still more immediate, more effective and more valuable than the filtering and anonymity of on-line selling and social media contact.
- Price is not that important, as long as the product, packaging and positioning are aligned and consistent with it.
- Shelf space is very important. It makes awareness unavoidable and confirms that sales are expected in large quantities for added sales pressure.
- Proximity to direct competitors significantly aids positioning and awareness of your alternative.
- People do judge a book by its cover.
Enjoy your holiday reading and learn more.
Be better. Do better.
Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson