Last week a trader responded to one of our articles by saying that the simple answer to our retail woes was to promote our market more, just like in the good old days. It would be great if things were that simple – just bring us more people and everything will be ok. But is promotion the answer?
Maybe in the good old days bringing more people was just about promotion but things have changed a lot. And proof of that lies with our bigger retailers, particularly the struggling department stores. Take Myer for example. They have recently announced their 2015/16 results with a 2.9% increase in sales and a modest net profit of $69m. They credit that performance with a number of things but it is fair to say that promotion was not at the top of their list.
Here is what their CEO said - “There is no doubt that as a result of our strategy, Myer is a measurably stronger business today than it was a year ago.” “Our early progress shows Myer in a new light, where the focus on customers, brands, service, efficiency and productivity is evident in our results.” Note the emphasis on customers, service, efficiency and productivity. Understanding your customers and targeting their needs is the new way of looking at retailing.
Simply promoting what you have may not be enough. Understanding your customer and providing a whole range of services to make their purchase more convenient seems to be the focus. Myer talk about, on-line purchasing, speedy delivery, click and collect, shop and drop, free wifi, and more. You get the impression that Myer are going to make themselves much better before pure promotion becomes a priority.
The implications for every retailer, including The Queen Vic Market, are obvious. Getting your house in order and adapting to the needs of your customers are the key priorities.