De­liver premium ser­vice through prod­uct

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Price ar­chi­tec­ture Cat­e­gory killers Ex­clu­siv­ity and new­ness Sam­ples, tast­ings and testers Sizes, pack sizes and out-of-stocks Best and worst Sellers

Although dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing on prod­uct alone is dif­fi­cult, prod­uct is of course very im­por­tant. It is the back­bone to what drives busi­ness and prof­itabil­ity for most or­gan­i­sa­tions. What are the things that you need to con­sider, to make you rel­e­vant for your mar­ket seg­ment? ‘What does good look like’ for you?

Cus­tomers need choice while or­gan­i­sa­tions need sales. Re­tail­ers marry th­ese two by fo­cus­ing on price ar­chi­tec­ture, ie good, bet­ter and best. For ex­am­ple, a cook­shop won’t just stock one model of fry­ing-pan. They might stock Pres­tige (good en­try price level); Stel­lar (bet­ter or mid­price); and Fissler (best or premium range). By hav­ing this wide range of prices, they’ll ap­peal to a wider au­di­ence and ful­fil their ex­pec­ta­tions. It also gives the sales­per­son more op­por­tu­nity to up-sell. We in­tro­duced this con­cept to a pro­fes­sional ser­vices provider and it’s driv­ing more sales.

A cat­e­gory killer is where an or­gan­i­sa­tion has de­vel­oped the best edit for a cat­e­gory of prod­uct/ser­vice. The op­por­tu­nity here is one of own­er­ship in a cho­sen cat­e­gory, which is about be­ing the des­ti­na­tion and hav­ing real au­thor­ity for that cat­e­gory.

Sel­fridges in Lon­don has the largest col­lec­tion of ladies’ shoes in Eu­rope. Recog­nis­ing the po­ten­tial in shoes from a sales per­spec­tive and as a foot­fall driver, it in­vested heav­ily in space, shop­fit, mer­chan­dise edit and mar­ket­ing. You might say that Sel­fridges ‘owns’ shoes and is the des­ti­na­tion for shoes in Lon­don.

We live in an age where cus­tomers ex­pect and are in­spired by ‘the next best thing’. And for some sec­tors of the mar­ket, cus­tomers want some­thing that is dif­fer­ent. ‘Ex­clu­siv­ity and new­ness’ might re­fer to a prod­uct or ser­vice, a way of work­ing, new pro­mo­tion, new ad­ver­tise­ment or catch­phrase — or what­ever other con­cept might make prod­ucts stand out.

Cus­tomers ex­pect and like to imag­ine what it will be like to own your prod­uct. That’s why shops have fit­ting rooms and mo­tor deal­ers en­cour­age test drives. The mas­ters of this prac­tice are the beauty prod­uct houses. They have lots of testers on dis­play at their coun­ters for con­sumers to in­ter­act with. This prac­tice is not just lim­ited to re­tail, it will work for B2BS also.

Pack sizes are in­flu­enced by a num­ber of fac­tors — pack­ag­ing cost sav­ings, de­liv­ery cost ef­fi­cien­cies, shelf size, prod­uct safety and pick­ing ef­fi­cien­cies. But what’s op­ti­mum for your cus­tomer? When did you last check? Rather than just do­ing the maths from your own per­spec­tive, con­sider the im­pli­ca­tions for your cus­tomer. Like­wise, if your cus­tomer or­ders some­thing from you that is tem­po­rar­ily un­avail­able, tell them.

Your cus­tomers will take com­fort and re­as­sur­ance from your hon­esty when you tell them that some­thing is a best­seller. But be care­ful as it doesn’t mean that it’s okay to lie and pre­tend that a ‘dog’ is a best­seller. As a short-term re­sponse, cus­tomers might be­lieve you and buy. But if their pur­chase does not suit their needs they will be upset with you af­ter­wards.

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