Thursday, February 18, 2010

How Small Retailers Can Take On The Retail Giants

How would you like to compete with the biggest retail chains in the country, but without the massive retail chain budget?

Toyota, Big W, Esprit, Westpac - all of them understand the financial benefit of keeping customers with children in the store or branch longer, as not only are they are more likely to spend, but they perceive better customer service and are more likely to return.

Small retailers and chains have the ability to do this too, at minimal cost (just a few hundred dollars) so it is deceptively simple to compete with the big guys and hitch your store onto the child friendly retail trend.

I am always amazed talking to retailers who say "But we don't sell things for children" or "We don't want children in our store" or the classic "We don't have parents shopping in our store."

Now, in some rare cases, this is true. I wouldn't take my toddler to Tiffany for example. Or Chanel. Heck, I don't even take myself there! My credit card wouldn't cope. Nor would my husband for that matter ("That postage-stamp sized handbag was HOW much?")

But the vast majority of retailers, from lighting stores to car dealers to clothing boutiques to vet suppliers are selling to parents, whether they like it or not. And parents, whether they like it or not, go shopping with their kids in tow. 88% of parents, in fact, go to the shops accompanied by their little darlings and 91% of them said they had been unable to make a purchase due to distractions from their children.

So my question to retailers is, do you really want to be missing out on 88% of your potential market?

Let's break that down. If one parent leaves your store every day because there is nothing to occupy their children, and your average sale is, say, $50, that's around $18,000 in lost revenue EVERY YEAR.

"Hold on," you say, "I could seriously make an extra $18,000 a year just by putting in a play solution that will cost me a few hundred bucks? I must be crazy! Bring it on. Where can I get one?!"

At least, that's what I would say if I were a retailer. And that's what the good folk at Esprit and Toyota and 700 other retailers have cottoned on to. Especially at Toyota because their average sale is more like $40,000. Even one family leaving the dealership every week without buying is costing Toyota over $2 million every year.

So I put it to you my retailing friends, whether you are selling barbeques or towels or books, the question is not "Why should I put in a play solution?", it's a resounding and very persuasive "Why haven't I?"

After all, you have at least $18,000 worth of reasons to!

You can find Child Friendly Solutions Play Panels, Play Tables and other play equipment, as well as lots of information on becoming a child friendly retailer, at

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