IT Retail is in its infancy in India. Though over the last few years, it has made rapid strides, it still offers an immense opportunity to the players (and potential ones too). In the same way, the IT industry sales to consumers is rapidly gaining ground, and with the potential that is India, it is a goldmine for those retailers who are able to provide the right building blocks for the customers.
The Million dollar question however- what does a customer really want? Many of our retailers believe in getting the customer through the door and hold on to them and make a sale – most often than not, using the price discussion. The Indian customer also seems to be price driven- but lately, branding, and some other elements are beginning to be reasons that are considered by them before making the all-important sale.
What are these other “elements”?
I am sure there are more, but these come to my mind now.
For an IT retailer to be successful (especially in India or emerging markets), it important to identify the areas they want to focus on.
1. Identify which primary factor you want to be known for: Price Leader, Best Support Centre, Most brand options, etc.
2. Who are your customers- be very clear of the target audience (at least the primary ones). If near a college or a mall, the trendy, young, college going or yuppies could be your target audience. It helps you to decide the kind of “look and feel” you want to provide to your primary target audience.
3. Create the “Right Awareness” – Think of marketing tools to drive the right audience to the shop- be it advertising, focused advertising through Colleges, schools or the papers – anything that works to help give a perspective of your offerings –will create awareness & over a period of time will improve the footfalls to your shop.
4. Set the right “Ambience” for the store- so that when a customer walks in- he sees the “overall message” you want to share than just brochures/posters & PC’s everywhere.
5. Understand their requirement- this can be done ONLY if you have great sales people in your store- who are willing to question the customer and then “LISTEN” to their wants.
6. Help the customer make the RIGHT choice – This is SUPER important. Don’t sell what you have- but sell what the customer needs. In the long run the customer will come back to you- and more importantly, the word of mouth it will generate will drive more customers to your shop.
7. Focus on “educating” the customer- be it hardware, software, etc. Educate the customer, and he will be thankful for the knowledge- and will buy something definitely.
8. Avoid “Hard Sales”- though it may be required at times. Drive “value” to your customers- let them walk around and make their choice. Be honest with your inputs- and they will come back to you. Don’t try to “hold” them to your shop- and desell other brands.
These are just some thoughts on building the right retail messaging- which though logical, is not exactly common in most malls.
The ones that get it, will be those who will survive and thrive in the next few years.