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Tailor Made – Part 1

Tailor Made

In this article we discuss how in uncertain economic times where more and more customers are turning to the internet for their retail fix, retailers need to remember to focus on tailoring to their customers needs and delivering more on the ‘special’ side of being a ‘specialty’ retailer.

The Re-Saler

A simple definition of a retailer is a person or business that sells goods to the end consumer and usually in small quantities. They buy bulk goods from a wholesaler at a discounted price, breaks the goods into smaller items, and ‘retails’ or ‘resells’ these items at a healthy profit.

Online Retailers
With the increasing pressure of online retailers, bricks and mortar gift shop business need to remember what makes them ‘specialty’ retailers.
Do you know what makes your business special? Do you treat your customers as special by providing an offering that caters for them?

On Sale
Not only are retailers these days having to compete against online retailers but also other businesses in their area. This often leads to price wars as gift shop specialty retailers forget what makes them special and economic pressures sees them descend the spiral of diminishing returns offering their products at discount prices to compete with their competition. When retailers begin to compete on price, there is no victor, only casualties.

Special-ty Retailer
As a specialty retail you need to rediscover your ‘specialness’. Discounting your products, often because of poor sales as a result of not intimately knowing your customer’s wants and preferences, does not make you a ‘special’ty retailer.

Become a Re-tailor
Instead, begin to see your role as one of a ‘retailor’. As a Retailor you need to really understand your customer’s wants and needs and ‘tailor’ to them. You transform goods into items of special worth simply by giving your customers what they need. Just like a tailor transforms a piece of fabric into a stunning garment that delights their customers, so too you must tailor make your offering to suit (excuse the pun) your customer’s requirements.

Tailor Made
A a specialty retailer your role is to provide products for sale that are special to your customers and not about offering them products that are ‘on special’. Are you really tailoring to your customers? Do you engage your customers to really get to know them more intimately?

Tailor to their Needs
What makes the art of a tailor so special is that he creates what their customers want. He takes an idea, finds the fabric, and transforms it into something ‘tailor’ made to suit the customer. A tailor doesn’t just assume that he knows what his customers want. A customer walks into his workshop, and the tailor asks the customer questions to understand what they want. Similarly, if you want to become an incredible retailor, begin by asking questions – lots and lots of questions. Don’t let familiarity or laziness lead you into assuming that you know what your customers needs.

More Than Just The Right Products
Through asking the right questions you can transform your business to become one that truly tailors to your customer. Ask questions not only about what products that they would be interested in you selling that you may not be offering, also ask them questions about anything else that they would like from your business. Maybe a gift wrapping service to take one more thing away that your customer needs to think about in their time poor schedule.

Touchy Feeliness
You have a distinct advantage to online retailers in that your customers can touch and feel your offering. But if this is all you are offering your customers, sadly, these days, this isn’t enough. Do you make your customers feel special the moment they walk through your door? Do you leave them feeling all touchy feely? You may argue that online retailers cannot offer the personal service they can get within a bricks and mortar environment. However, the statistics don’t lie – customers are increasingly moving online to make their purchases. Many online stores give you the convenience of being able to shop from the convenience of home or your smart phone, avoiding the battle to park in shopping centres and brave the crowds, coupled with online chatting or being able to speak to someone on the end of the telephone line and so still offering a sense of touch feeliness. Not only that, but many online stores are increasingly able to deliver your purchases in record times.

With the increasing competition with online retailers, and with the line between what makes bricks and mortar business ‘special’, online business more and more tailor to their customers, it is imperative that you rediscover what makes you ‘special’ to your customers and how you can continue to make them feel special. In Part 2 of Tailor Made, we will give you tips to help boost your bottom line by tailoring to your customers better.

* Image above is public commons. Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

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