I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really tired about the naysayers who are forewarning shoppers and retailers that the soon-to-be upcoming Christmas season is going to be one of the all-time slowest in recent memory.
I’m not saying they’re wrong, but I am saying that I don’t care what they think.
Are we not to believe that the only option for businesses this Fall is to lock the doors just before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and not open up again until an NCAA Division I college football champion is declared in January? Well, count me out! I believe that buyers are out there. The difference is that they will look even harder for value then ever before.
In my opinion, that’s a good thing, because it requires entrepreneurs like us to build products and services that show a distinct benefit; not a passing fad. It also means that companies must convey these values in clear, concise and caring tones. So before you throw in the towel and cry in your egg nog, consider making some much-needed changes that will actually drive more sales this year. Start by honestly answering the following questions about your current strategy:
Are you too feature focused? Many product manufacturers and retailers love to talk about their newest gadget to the utmost technical detail. What can get lost in this discussion is what the actual benefit the widget brings. At my company, TV Ears, we continually update and enhance the technology for our headset products that allow people with hearing issues to listen to the TV better without blowing out others in the room. But instead of emphasizing that our products are comprised of the same electronic engineering that was used by U.S. Air Force pilots, we promote one simple but powerful value proposition – our headsets save marriages! Customers get that and, more importantly, they buy that.
Are you too self-serving? I hate commercials that talk about how big the company is or how many awards they’ve won before they ever get to conveying more important points like how much they understand their customer’s pain and how their solution solves that. Remember – people resonate with companies and brands that they feel value them as individuals, not as numbers.
Are you too hard to deal with? Companies may have the best product in the market, but if it’s too difficult for customers to find and buy it, they’ll go elsewhere. Top product manufacturers and retailers are such because they understand that they’re responsible for the customer’s entire shopping experience – including before, during and after the actual sale.
The bottom line is this – retailers and product manufacturers need to stop complaining about the market and forecasts about the upcoming Holiday Season and figure out how to make their product or service more valuable and more of a necessity to their customers. Those that do that will find the end of 2009 to be a lucrative one for them.