Jumpstart Your Business This Holiday Season

 

I just read in the Wall Street Journal this week that WalMart is abandoning the strategy of “Black Friday” this Thanksgiving Season. With the experts predicting retail sales to be off, and that consumers will shop less and save more, WalMart has chosen to try a different strategy to attract the holiday shopper and boost sales.

While other retailers are staying with the traditional tactics; slashing prices, opening earlier, and staying later the day after Thanksgiving, WalMart is redefining the kickoff to the holiday shopping season with a five-day opportunity for customers to get amazing deals. Instead of just one day this season, WalMart shoppers can experience of full week of Black Friday deals. In addition, WalMart is offering some of their best deals online, hoping to entice those shoppers who are willing to spend money, but only from the comforts of their own homes.

Now, I am not advocating that we all make Black Friday a week-long event in our businesses this holiday season, or even that this new strategy will work for WalMart; but I do think there is something we all can learn from WalMart’s break with tradition, and something we all need to pay attention to if we want to boost sales this holiday season.

It is clear that WalMart has embraced what many companies refuse accept; this economy is not down, it is different. Economists agree. They say we have moved out of a push economy and into a pull economy, and in a pull economy the consumer moves into the position of control, and they have all the power. As business owners and professionals, what we sell, what we offer in this economy has become a commodity, and the strategies and tactics that grew our businesses in a push economy won’t work in a pull economy.

WalMart’s break with tradition, shows courage and innovation, and sheds light on 4 strategies every business owner and professional needs to embrace if you want this economy to start working for you.

  1. WOW Factor – to boost sales in this economy, no matter how unique or different you believe your product or service is, in the eye of the customer what you offer is a commodity. Consumers today have so many options to buy the same products and services. In fact, they have so many options they are overwhelmed with choice. If you want customers to choose your business as the place they buy those products and services, then you need to give them a reason, you need a WOW factor. A WOW factor is all about doing something different, something that gets you noticed; something like, hmmm… let’s say shaking up the traditional Black Friday sales strategy to a five-day approach with online opportunities?
  2. Ear To The Customer – realize that more than this economy has changed, your customers have changed as well. How they buy, when they buy, and from whom they buy. You need to pay attention, you need to be offering your products and services in the ways they want to buy them. Understand they do not need you to get the product or service they want, they are buying from you for other reasons; reasons such as convenience, relationship, or experience. You need to keep your ear to the customer and pay attention to their needs and wants in order to boost sales. Needs and wants, such as no longer wanting to shop at 4 a.m., or preferring to click a button on their computer to standing in line at the checkout.
  3. Shake It Up – just like the famous business book says, “what got you here, won’t get you there,” WalMart’s idea may or may not work, but kudos to them for trying. The one thing we know is that the “traditional” approach to Black Friday that many retailers are taking is almost sure to result in a less than stellar sales performance. All the experts are predicting Black Friday sales to be down, so why are retailers doing the same thing and expecting a different result? You have to be willing to make a statement, make an impact, if you want to boost sales. You need to shake it up, try different things, and take a risk.
  4. Be Flexible – last but not least be flexible; while WalMart has not included me in their strategy sessions, I am guessing that if by day three they notice that their online sales are fast outpacing their in-store sales, you will see a strong shift to better deals online or vice versa. Why? Because in this economy, with consumers driving the boat, we all have to remain open , be flexible and ready to move where the customers wants us to and where the sales are happening.

So yes, these are challenging times, not because this economy is down, but because it is different. Your traditional approach to sales and business growth are just not enough anymore. If you want to boost business, and get this economy to start working for you; then take a lesson from WalMart and shake up your proverbial Black Friday with these 4 surefire strategies to boost sales this holiday season.

And, tell me what you think of WalMart’s decision by commenting below!

*picture credit to creativecommons_zizzy