Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The New Order Of Business

Becoming a retailer in this challenging economy was certainly an interesting move on my part and one that I do not regret. I know that things have changed for the consumer drastically in the past few years and with that, the climate of shopping has changed too, forcing myself and other retailers to re-think how we market to the customer. There seems to be a new order of business out there and the name of the "game" is savings....

It used to be true that this was the time for retailers to "make their year", gouge the prices if the need be, and reap the benefits of a healthy holiday buying season. Such is no longer the case, as major retailers, little guys like me, and everyone in between have had to offer, unheard of at this time, discounts to get consumers into their retail establishments. Open up your mail box or your email box and you will see what I mean. There were no less than 15 offers of 20% or more off at major retailers like JCrew, Bloomingdales, Saks, Barneys New York, etc in my email box from the time I got dressed to go to work and the time I got to work, (no more than an hour) leaving me to wonder, how do I compete?

The facts are what they are and it's a fact that discounts bring in the shoppers. Which means I must offer the customer great customer service AND a substantial discount. Will this effect my bottom line? Yes, but it won't kill me and it certainly won't hurt to build that ever important customer relationship. Gone are the days of excessive shopping, as they are a thing of the past. Even the shoppers who CAN afford to binge, simply are not. They too, appreciate a discounted price for goods. Another sure sign that the climate has changed; Nieman Marcus offered 25% off everything in the COSMETICS department last week-this is unprecedented. It has always been a rule that any discount coupon from a major retailer did NOT apply to cosmetics. It was right there in the fine print, and any savvy shopper knew it. Hence the new order of the retail business.

While forecasts for retail over all show spending to be up, I wonder how up if the majority of goods were sold at a discounted price point. Take moment to think about the discounted offers you have received in the past week and post them in the comments section. I'm guessing there are more than you can even remember. Let me know if it motivated you to go to the store, buy more, or think about checking out that store because you hadn't been there in a while. Then let me know if you intend to be on a spending spree this holiday season.

Your fellow little guy would appreciate it.

12 comments:

Scott Oglesby said...

I thankfully no longer get junk mail, or junk email. While there would be no opportunity to binge shop here, we are going to London and Paris over the holidays, but I still won’t go crazy.

I would think that you’ll be ok, being that you have a very specialty, niche market. People are always willing to pay more when they know that they are getting a superior product.

Bill Stankus said...

Shopping.
We, more or less, buy what we want throughout the year so holiday shopping has no major significance to us. For the few gifts we do buy, generally we do that on line or at speciality stores.

We have used coupons at Macy's for clothes but I have low regard for the store, especially after they went predator on so many regional department stores. Here in Seattle, Bon Marche (now a Macy's) had much better merchandise.

We had to go to a mall this past weekend and we entered it through a Penny's and we were both repulsed by the volume of junk crap stuff piled high and deep in the isles. The sort of stuff seen in the last week of Christmas shopping.

That was enough for us to swear off mall shopping for the season.

Joker_SATX said...

Discounts really don't mean anything to me as I know that MSRP can always be adjusted. The only thing that discounts mean to me is what is the difference in price from one store to the next.

I have looked at two identical items from two different stores. Both stores offered a 15% discount, yet their prices are different. Obviously I went to the store with the lowest price.

I sometimes wonder how retailers check on each other and become competitive. It seems to me that the big boys like Walmart, strive to put them out of business...

LegalMist said...

Just in the past two days I've received a 15% discount coupon from Kohl's, a $10 off purchase of $10 or more from JCPenney (wonder if it excludes cosmetics? I didn't check...), a 20% off certificate for Bed Bath & Beyond, and 6 different catalogs from mail order merchants promising huge holiday discounts. Last week I got a toy catalog from Target with a ton of coupons inside.

I keep them until they expire, just in case I go to one of those stores, but I don't necessarily rush out to use them. I'll probably make a point to go see what I can get for free at JCPenney, since it's close to my house and I need to go to the Michael's at the same mall anyway. It's going to be a low-key holiday for us this year, so I'm not looking at a huge spending spree, but will definitely be shopping for the kids a bit.

The Dental Maven said...

The Maven RARELY if ever buys anything unless it's on sale. I'll often be enticed to look when I'm notified of a sale, but I don't always buy. My inbox has been inundated with Neimans offers for months now. In fact, there's a 2 hour special going on now, so I have to dash off...

Scope said...

I recieve about 15 discount offers from Dell a month. They have not inspired me to buy.

When signing up for stuff, I always use a just email account that I can just ignore. I am really not motivated by discount offers or sales. Seems to me that is the retailers way of saying "It was over priced to begin with."

But glad to hear you don't regret jumping into the business. That was the most important part of the post to me.

Carol said...

I just bought Ward a pair of nice hiking boots that were on sale for $65.00 ($100 reg. price)
Kohls our favorite place to shop - 20% off entire purchase and we got to use our Kohl's cash from the purchase of my watch so the total for these boots: $35!!
My kind of shopping!

Elenka said...

Land End constantly offers me free shipping and some item are discounted. That is when I order.

Pearl said...

Apparently DSW misses me in a big, big way because I hear from them regularly.

The Macy's here (Mpls) downtown now offers a card "punch" in their lunchroom. For every $6 spent, you get a punch. After 7 of them, you get a lunch for free. I've worked downtown for almost 7 years now and this is the first time Macy's has ever done this with their food...

Pearl

madtexter (corey james) said...

I am pulling in the reigns on my holiday shopping this year. Everyone I give gifts to (including myself receiving gifts) already have everything they could ever want. Well, maybe not everything, but dang near close.

I avoid the mall like the plague, unless I absolutely need to get something there, but I go with a game plan, get in and get OUT!

Besides, I try to shop my local and neighborhood shops and business as much as possible. I think it's crucial to support these smaller businesses, because they KNOW customer service, and I enjoy being remembered by my first name whenever I walk in the door. You can't get that at a big box retailer, I don't care how much % they knock off the retail price. Once you add in the cost of fuel and time spent getting to those big retailers, you could have just purchased local. Besides, buying local brings the tax revenue closer to home and community. Why don't people get that?

Cora said...

I just received a $10 off a purchase of $30 or more from OfficeMax. I might check it out. That's not too shabby a coupon!

I love a good deal and if I know something I need is being practically given away, I'll stock up. And this time of year when I have 50 million gifts to buy, you bet coupons will lure me in. Every little bit helps.

Best of luck with your business, Candy!! :-)

the walking man said...

We receive about 5 discount offers a day. We have not been inspired by any of them to purchase anything and this holiday season I doubt there will be much spending on anything.

I will write a few checks and let the recipients of them do what they need to with them.