On these pages we have often talked about consumers re-assessing their values, changing their buying patterns and generally finding reasons not to spend. The result has been a consumer buying drought that has made our trading lives very difficult.
It has been suggested that consumers and retailers are moving in different directions as retailers concentrate on cheap prices while consumers look for the sort of stimulation that cheap prices alone can’t provide. Some retailers are very good at dominating the cheap end. It has been said that Queen Victoria Market traders have this type of advantage through low overheads but the sheer volume of large national retailers is very hard to compete with.
One of the problems we face is that “dumbing down” our ranges to compete on price will destroy the very attributes that make us interesting, different and stimulating to consumers. Trying to compete just on price will destroy our attraction. Ignoring price competitors will be equally destructive. It is a very difficult problem and requires careful awareness of customer responses. It is ok to have prices that are a little dearer if you are engaging with your customer and can adjust your sales pitch to suit the situation. Selling up to product advantages that meet your customer’s needs is a wise strategy and shoppers who love to shop will appreciate the attention.
This is our big advantage. We are dealing face to face, one on one, with our customers in a way that staff-reduced, big retailers can’t. It is an advantage that can be profited on with every customer who shows an interest in our stalls and enjoys the service we can provide.