Sunday 18 December 2016

Two More Retailers Get It Wrong

Howard's Storage World and Payless Shoes have something in common - they have both gone into receivership. The reasons for their demise are poles apart although in a sense the same. Let me explain.

Howard's Storage World was expensive - super expensive. One of their products was a $529 Recycler Step Bin (kitchen waste bin) which had features like carbon filters to absorb smells and silent lid closure but in the end not enough features to justify the price tag particularly when competitors had much cheaper alternatives. Commentators are suggesting that high prices generally caused their demise.

Payless Shoes on the other hand went super cheap, claiming to meet fashion demands of the modern family but in fact only generating a race to the bottom on price. In the fashion world, cheap prices alone are not enough.

Both retailers lacked the balance necessary to win over consumers. There are retailers who are expensive but they offer other benefits like quality, innovation and brand strength that justify their consumer support. Similarly there are retailers who are cheap but offer enough other qualities to make them desirable. How to get the balance right is the $64,000 question and a quandary for every retailer.

The ingredients that make a successful retailer are many and varied but If there is one quality that stands out it is probably innovation. Exciting your customers and showing them that you are on their side with constant improvements in your product range, and how you deliver retail service, could be a great way to avoid the experience of our high-profile failures.