Red Zebra Business Centre - Management Memos

Making Measurably More For Your Business Since 1985!

January 2013 Now including My Local Pool Shop Monthly News.  

‘Omni-Channelling’ Merchandising Uses

On-Line Sales to Bind Customers Tightly

On-line shopping not only allows for retail convenience, but also gives you the chance for retail personalization. It's all part of binding your customers tightly to your store.

Multi channeling in storesAccording to '', allowing shopper personalisation brings greater customer involvement and word-of-mouth advertising. Of course there is a cost impact, with custom design shoes, for example, costing 20 to 25 percent more than off-the-shelf alternatives.

But personalisation needn't mean custom-built goods. The classic example in a pool shop is supplying a pool blanket. Customised to fit each individual pool. That's personalised shopping!

There are literally dozens of ways you can personalise your on-line offer. It just takes little more imagination, determination, and effort.

"It really helps build a relationship with their customers," said Ann Marie Fiore, a professor of apparel at Iowa State University, in the article. "You're always looking at building that brand loyalty."

And building "brand loyalty" is exactly what happens when you bind your customers tightly to your business.

Retailers generally, that is, of the "bricks and mortar" variety, treat the internet as a threat. Think of it as the enemy. Work hard to blunt its impact. Try to avoid it. And so they miss the point, and fail to use and develop one of the most powerful tools they have ever had.

Merchandising in-store is something most retailers don't do well. Or easily! Coming into work every day in the same place suits us all, because we want to work in a familiar environment.

But customers want excitement and stimulation. If your store doesn't provide that stimulation, just watch what happens when the next store does!

You can provide that excitement with a whole range of special value offers they didn't expect, but discover once they've come into the store. You can provide a tremendous sales stimulus with good visual merchandising - and that doesn't have to cost a lot. What you need to do is create (relevant) quirky environments (like using old tractor seats at the counter in a walk-in lunch café), or aspirational displays.

A good aspirational display might be found in a spa showroom, with towels and robes, sandals and lounges, and some cool, sparkling, drinks for store visitors. With an invitation a special presentation night, of course!

If that kind of merchandising is so effective in-store, (and it is), how much more effective is it when you can present displays and invitations on their smart phone - so that you are always being carried on your customers'' pockets?

Once a customer has experienced your powerful in-store merchandising, introduced by your SMS and email messages, the next thing is to actually get an on-line order.

Then they know that they can trust you to deliver quality, value, and dependability. As well as the absolute convenience of on-line shopping. Now, watch your business grow!

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