a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.
What an odd analogy, for mice are known to be creatures of habit.
A pest control expert will tell you that you should move a baited
mouse trap if there is no response within three days.
is not building a better mousetrap, but putting the cheese where
the mice are. While we are not suggesting you move your business,
we are going to share with you some ideas for moving your strategy.
with several retailers on the phone, each is asked how sales are so far this year. One reports a steady decline over the past
two years, another reports stagnant sales, and the third tells of
continual sales growth.
first store is a clothing shop. It is the one with declining sales
and looks exactly like it did three years ago. The interior of the
business is the same color, the counters are arranged in the same
manner, and signs look as they always have.
to some of the competitors of this business, and you will see they
have significantly changed the way they merchandise their stores.
Not that they have made only one change during these years, but
they have constantly been looking for new items and new ways of
presenting their goods and services to their customers. Perhaps
if this shop were to change, it would see improvements in its sales
due to the revamping of the business.
see the results of his inaction. Is this important to customers?
Apparently so. Just look at any business having a grand opening;
people come to see what is new.
may not be impressed with the store with stagnant sales. However,
its efforts are quite unique. This is a sporting-goods store that
carries a lot of t-shirts and related products. For many years they
stocked products related to the nearby university in addition to
NASCAR, professional baseball and basketball. In the last few years
the university has not fielded great football teams; sales of products
relating to the university have decreased.
an effort to replace the lost sales, the owner found lines of products
relating to pro wrestling. He began to decrease the college mascot
products and added more pro wrestling items. His current dilemma
was created by the college football team's latest winning streak.
Now the professional basketball and baseball products are being
squeezed out as pro wrestling and college football are showing increased
this owner how sales are, and his answer is that they have been
stagnant, but as you can see, if this owner had left his product
mix alone, sales would have decreased.
is one more example of adapting to your market. John L. Morris was
an avid bass fisherman. His father, John A. Morris, started a Star
Terminal service station and restaurant in 1937. There was a tiny
liquor department inside the station.
L. loved bass fishing. He shopped often at a discount store in town,
as they had the largest fishing department in the area. John L.
asked the store manager to stock some of the exciting fishing equipment
he had seen. When he found out the items would not be stocked, he
turned to his father and received permission to create a small inventory
in the back of Dad's store.
store was an adaptive business. It started as a Star Transfer service
station. Dad added a restaurant and liquor store. John L. wanted
to follow in Dad's footsteps with his own business. Dad even co-signed
the inventory loan that started young John L. in his new business.
may not know young John L.; but if you enjoy fishing, you have definitely
heard of his store - Bass Pro Shops. Whether you shop in one of
the stores, by mail order, or on the Internet, John L. demonstrates
the lesson learned from Dad: adapt to the market. It is not necessary
to have the best location, although one of his stores now occupies
the former discount store location.
of the lessons I learned early in life from my Dad was, "Good
merchandise, well displayed and reasonably priced, will always sell
well." Notice the first ingredient in the formula - good merchandise.
Surely, good merchandise is what the customer wants. Snow shovels
do not sell well in Florida or Southern California, and orange pickers
don't sell well anywhere but these areas.
idea goes hand-in-hand with research I remember reading several
years ago. Thousands of consumers were asked what they wanted most
from a shopping experience. The number one answer: Have in stock
what I want. Know today's changing market; have the items I want
to buy. Be the next John L. Morris.