November 2012 Welcome

Who says the consumer isn’t king!

A friend of mine has recently returned from a trip to the USA.

He told me of a story which made me think. He visited a “Pick & Mix” sweet shop in New York to buy some sweets for his children. The shop was clean, bright and colourful and attractive. A very polite shop assistant approached him while he was mulling over the alternative selections. She asked him if he would like to try any of the sweets – he could help himself!

I recall the late lamented ‘Woolworths’ where there were many signs “Don’t Try Before You Buy”.  One of these two businesses is now bust! The other is clearly doing well!

Businesses have to change and develop to retain their competitive edge. The reasons behind the recent failure of Comet show this;

    • Increased competition – the development of supermarkets into the market. Supermarkets have better buying potential and higher number of customers. This has also sqeezed margins tighter.
    • Consumer behaviour – Comet have provided a great showroom for people to look a t the product and then buy online!
    • The present market – the last few years has seen low consumer confidence and people hanging on to their money and putting off a big purchase.
    • Staff training – Comet have not made the investment in training of staff that their competitors have. One advantage a physical store can offer is ‘face to face’ guidance and this opportunity has been overlooked.

It is vital to regularly review and assess a business to critically evaluate where it is placed in the market – and act upon the findings.

The accountants to the business should get involved with this review which will help to provide an objective opinion – two pairs of eyes are better than one!

Be sure that’s what the market leaders of any industry are doing!