MSNBC reported recently that stores from plain to fancy are trying to outdo each other with sales this holiday season. With same stores sales dropping 15.6% at Saks Fifth Avenue and 20% at Old Navy, retailers are running scared and slashing prices. They’re reviving layaway plans, pulling merchandise that hasn’t sold after two days, and even reducing prices by up to 40% the minute the clothes hit the shelves.
But is this really the solution? Wal-Mart owns the low, low price space, but is this the right move for high-end stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks? Whether you’re in retail, write software, or have a dental practice, there’s always going to be someone, somewhere who can charge less – eventually driving both your businesses into the ground.
Instead, try to stand out. If you’re in retail, why not offer special services to frazzled holiday shoppers instead?
* Call us with your list and we’ll shop for you. You just pick it up at our service desk.
* Expand “bridal” registries to include holiday gifts (tell your friends and family what you want, we’ll send them a coupon – this offers a “bribe” in return for something that makes the customers’ lives easier, and, as a bonus, grows the store’s mailing list).
* Start a conversation with your customers, ask them what they would like to see in the store, or what services they would like to buy
* Set up a concierge to help customers find most-wanted toys, electronics, etc.
* Offer a lounge where shoppers can take a break. Offer entertainment for small (and cranky) children.