Is anyone wondering how business will be for 2010? Many retail dealers have experienced increases in business in 2009 for several reasons. First they are in markets that were not badly affected by the economic downturn. That’s not to say that the slow economy has not affected everyone but where flooring retailers were not tied to the builder market the bottom didn’t fall out of their business. Many retailers also increased market share by continuing with advertising and marketing programs, some increased it. These dealers out positioned themselves in their markets and took share from competitors. Others businesses increased as a result of competitors going out of business. One retailer I spoke with had seven or eight of his competitors go out of business and now he’s one of the last men standing in his market.
In difficult economic times a return to the basics of business is always a smart move. No one can afford to relax. We all have to be creative, inventive and persistent; developing new ideas and finding ways to increase business. In fact I’ve seen more opportunity this past year than in all the 39 years I’ve been in the industry and in business. One thing you have to think about is being better every day than you were the day before. Constant and never ending improvement should be a mantra of yours. How can you do that and what should you do? Look at the simple things, a clean store, well lit, with an inviting atmosphere. If you’ve made the effort to draw business to your store make it inviting for the customer to do business with you. Get a woman to evaluate the store; you’re wife, daughter, or someone you know that knows how to shop should tell you what will make a woman want to be in your store. Why a women? Because that’s who buys the products you sell. If you can appeal to the person who buys your products you’ll immediately be ahead of your competition. Next go over your services; installation, sales, service, delivery, phone skills and sharpen them up. Every conceivable aspect of your business should be scrutinized to make it the best it can be. You have to deliver service better than the competition and differentiate yourself from them in every way you can. If you do this you’ll realize gains in your business.
Another thing you have to do is show appreciation for your customers by thanking them and letting them know how much you appreciate them shopping with you. A simple thank you note sent to them personally written including a discount coupon for an accessory that goes with whatever they bought such as a cleaning product, a walk off mat, or an offer to bind any scrap carpet they have for rugs as examples. You can also send a discount coupon to a local restaurant that you work out a deal with. Everyone has to eat and a local restaurant will appreciate your idea to help increase their business as well.
Another thing you’ll want to do is attend Surfaces. This year more than ever, if you’re still in business you have to take the opportunity to find out what’s new and different so you can stay ahead of your competition. It’s cheaper than ever to attend with both airfares and hotel rates ridiculously low. Come to the seminars too so you can learn how to increase sales, stay out of trouble and increase profits. You won’t have to wonder how business will be in 2010 because you’ll have done something about making it better. I’ll look forward to seeing you there and talking with you to help you however I can.