Saturday, March 9, 2013
The Five Drivers of Traffic - Convenience
I posted that JC Penney was struggling because it was losing in all five of the main drivers of traffic... Price, Product, Convenience, Trust and Delight. Let's look at each one of them separately.
Convenience is a tricky subject because there are many different ways to define convenience.
You could be considered convenient if it is quick and easy to get in and out of your store. Heck, we have a whole category of stores like that called, conveniently Convenience Stores. Smaller stores located on intersections with front door parking, a handful of commodity products, and rarely ever a line at the register. You can charge a lot more for a product when you have this kind of convenience.
You could be considered convenient if you have such a wide selection of product that it truly is one-stop-shopping. This is the road Wal-Mart and Target Supercenters are taking. Add in the groceries and you can get everything you want under one roof. How convenient!
You could be considered convenient if you offer services that make your customer's job so much easier. Free giftwrapping is such a service. We get many customers the day of the birthday party or baby shower who stop in on their way. They get the gift, get it wrapped, buy a card and off they go to the party. Repair services, installation services, delivery and assembly services are matters of convenience to a customer.
The first and last of those three examples are fairly easy for indie retailers to own.
We can certainly be quick stops for customers who don't want the hassle of parking in a huge lot, walking half a mile to the front door, navigating a 200,000 square foot store to find a $20 gift, only to now have to wait in line behind someone juggling three kids and two shopping carts in a line staffed by a minimum-wage, poorly-trained, gum-chewing clerk.
We can offer services that make life easier on our customers like those mentioned above.
But I will also argue that we can, in some ways, also own that middle example. Do you have everything to "complete" a sale? For instance, if someone buys a model, do you also sell them the glue and paint and a display case to show off the finished product? If someone buys a pair of shoes do you also have the socks, stockings, inserts, shoe polish, shoe-trees, suede brushes, and waterproofing to complete the sale?
Whatever you sell, you can become the "convenient" store in your customer's mind if she is able to buy everything she needs to complete that purchase. If she has to go to another store to finish the purchase, you lose that driver.
Convenience comes in many forms. Although you may not be the one-stop-shop that a Wal-Mart Supercenter is, you can (and should) still own convenience in many other ways.
PS Completing the Sale is a major component of my staff training. I want my staff thinking about that with every customer. It isn't so much about selling a product as it is about fulfilling a need or solving a problem. When you start thinking like that you will see two things happen. First, your average sales will increase. Second, your customers will be happier. Yes, your customers will spend more and be happier at the same time!