Cutting Prices Won’t Save Your Business

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.