How to Brand Yourselves Better In This Competitive Market

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Businesses have been selling their products and services for years but they have never known the real reason about their increase or decrease in sales. Previously, people were not picking feathers in search of an environmentally friendly and economic product but today the tables have turned for businesses. People are more aware than ever before and need their products or services with a story, something meaningful, which when they use, describes them as a person.

The changing mind perceptions of customers all around the world has brought about a whirlwind change in business strategies and branding of their products or services. Re-branding or improvement in branding is needed to make customers cross the shop entrance and view the products and services inside.

There are several ways to make your branding better to attract more customers, as Patagonia does, and make them brand loyal so that they hold a tight grip to your business. These ways are:

Research

This step involves the understanding of the market you exist in, what the customers need and what causes do they support. Customers need a clear explanation of what they are buying or using.

Brainstorm Values

You need to think and brainstorm about values that your target audience will rate higher. For example, if you have recently observed an inclination towards organic products, you might think of rebranding your business, consequently altering your products to adjust the brand description. It even happens that you highlight one feature of a product and your competitor highlights another, which everyone loves, so try to re-brand the product to create new values.

Copy

When campaigning, always try to describe your product or service precisely and outline all the characteristics. Make an impact with concise statements that creates an image of quality and customer orientated product. Extensive campaigning re-enforces your brand image and calls to action.

Differentiation

Differentiation is an important rule that should be followed by every company. What separates your product from the competitor’s is your strong point and is the basis of your branding.

Same Page

If you are re-branding your image then you must take extra care and show responsibility in notifying your clients and informing your customers. It is important to be on the same page.

Revision

Once you have formulated your strategy and given a hint to customers through social media or other means, the next step is to get feedback on what they think of the new and improved brand.

Always try to relate some kind of logic when creating values. This helps customers associate and relate better to the product or service you are offering. Promoting or displaying your product innovatively can help your brand.

A smart example can be of Patagonia. Patagonia is a cloth store that traces its manufacturing process from start to finish educating customers of what they believe in. The company sells its products through either creative storytelling that relates to customers through the magnificent display or a cause, which the company supports. Some of their stories include Worn Wear and DamNation, which are either product or process focused. You can view the Patagonia video on www.scalingretail.com.

Scaling Retail guides businesses on branding themselves better to make them industry leaders.

Forecasting Holiday Sales through Third Quarter Statistics

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With growing business competition and promotional offers for the holiday season just around the corner, sales are peaking off charts for some and the others are hoping for a better, more profitable holiday season. Why do businesses fail to forecast sales and apply appropriate strategies from the third quarter, so when the holiday season approaches, they enjoy higher sales.

It is not just all about marketing and sales strategies, economic factors and weather conditions are a deciding factor too, for higher customer traffic and increased sales. Predicting the real reason for low sales level and taking adequate measures will make your business flourish in the holiday season.

When the third quarter is about to end, you need to ask yourself whether you are ready for the holiday season. These questions might help:

*Do I have adequate no. of employees to serve the rise in customer traffic during holiday season?
*Are my employees trained and charged up to reach their holiday sales goals?
*Have you made any changes to your shop displays that would attract customers?
*What products in your shop do you deem as the best-seller and do you have enough stock?
*Have you had the chance to visit your neighboring competitors? You should try to find out what they are up to.
*Pricing and promotion, are you aware of the changing trends?
*Do you consider staff rewards and incentives necessary for improved sales?

If last year was a real downer for small businesses like you with even lower customer traffic, there is no need to lose hope because this is how competition plays out. However, what you can do is sit together with your marketing, production, sales and finance department or think alone (sole proprietor) to make a bang on strategy for this holiday time, which comprises:

*Forecasting Holiday Sales through Most Recent Sales Statistics (Use quarter results rather than previous years for more accurate planning)
*Preparing Production And Marketing Budgets
*Prepare Sales Forecasts
* Decide On Promotional Offers
*Keep An Eye On Competitor’s Prices And Promotions
*Apply Appropriate Pricing Strategies Etc.

If you think carefully and plan accordingly, you might feel very optimistic about the upcoming holiday season than the previous year because the key to retail industry success is constantly adapting to the environment, changing conditions and varying customer tastes. Some common mistakes that retailers do which kill their holiday sales are:

*Fail to advertise their promotional offers and price cut-offs
*Fail to stock enough inventories
*Fail to employ enough reps to control extra foot traffic

A retail consultant can help you turn around your sales by increasing the foot traffic in your shop. With the holiday season approaching, you can seek advice from a retail consultant on promotional strategies, merchandising, store layout and choosing a store location if you are in search of one. Retail consultants are specialists on customer perceptions of products and services, displays, attractive promotions etc. If you are considering hiring a retail consultant, you must layout your needs and goals to make a smart choice.

Scaling Retail is your destination for consultancy on holiday sales. We analyze your 3rd quarter statistics and advice you on measures that maximize your profit.

Don’t Grow Too Fast! Even the Big Guys Struggle

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What do you think is the second or third priority of a start-up business? Every business starts with the basic aim of profiting through sales of its products or services but it is not just the mere concept of thinking that will help you reach your goals. Businesses should start with the aim to gain a considerable market share and should have a through plan.

Nevertheless, the question that arises in the mind of a businessman is what if the decision of growing is being taken too early. Should a business go through the natural course like every other business does before expanding i.e. as market demand rises and retailers order more, you start planning expansion or just leap into an opportunity that is not even promising, like cheap rentals for commercial stores and outlets. It is always advisable for small businesses to plan expansion after their sales have reached the maximum level.

You, as an entrepreneur of a start-up business have to think all the way through before considering expansion seriously. A three-step process might help. The steps are outlined as:

A High-Level Direction

During a normal working day, you might dream of several different things regarding your business. What you need to do is turn those dreams into an ambition, a driving force to travel towards the right direction.

An Action Plan

You have to have a plan for achieving your ultimate goal. When thinking of an action plan, you need creativity, calculations, strategies and the leading force to drive your business towards success. “Plateau Planning” is an approach that tells you to climb a plateau on a mountain at a time. Hurrying over the hike will make you stumble and will ultimately lead to your non-existence. The same goes for businesses. Business expansion through a natural course will give you the time to think and plan carefully.

 A Platform

A strong and stable platform is essential for a growing business. What makes a strong and stable platform? When you move towards expansion, make sure that you have enough employees, technical and creative skills and equipment needed to sustain that climb. Expansion in an un-organized manner will lead to all parts of the business crumbling down. Complete Control and keeping a tight leash is necessary during expansions.

There are several examples of a fast and unplanned expansion into local and foreign markets. Some of them survived but many failed due to the inability of catering to real customer demands. Some examples include:

*Wendy’s American Fast Food chain shut their 71 stores across Japan at once due to inadequate planning and failing to satisfy Japanese palates.
*Best Buy (Electronics & Entertainment Retailer) closed its outlets in Europe, China and Turkey because, amongst several other reasons, it failed to differentiate its product line from those existing in the local market.

Scaling Retail is just a click away to guide you on the natural course of business expansion and the adverse effects of rushed expansions.

Creating Brand Partners Is the Way to Reach on Top in Today’s Competitive Market

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In today’s business world, it is very hard to survive the initial years in the business pool, let alone reaching the top. Many businesses are adopting new and innovative marketing strategies that have never been tried before and they may back fire. With several businesses out there, each with a unique range of products and services, having diverse characteristics and features, different advertising and promotional strategies, making a decision of collaborating up with them is a critical one. A company with an unpopular reputation might prove bad for your business and your brand image.

Many businesses are now turning towards co-branding to flourish and reach new heights in today’s competitive environment. What is co-branding? The concept might be unclear to many, but the urge for entrepreneurs to improvise their strategies and increase profits has led to finding new ways to increase sales. Co-branding brings two or more brands together forming a single product or service. By doing this, a strong brand rises above, gaining advantage from other single brands in the market. The perception of obtaining dual satisfaction from a single product or service excites a customer.

Different companies have varying goals to fulfill from a co-branding alliance. Standard motives include:

*Expansion of customer base
*Obtain operational benefits
*Gain financial benefits
*Strengthen its position in the market
*Reacting to expressed and suppressed needs of customers
*Building a new customer seeming value

Hotels, social clubs and other organizations are boosting up their sales by adopting the co-branding strategy. It all starts with an alliance with another powerful and popular brand that are used or owned by celebrities. In this way, hotels publicize their image as a top-notch host of star personalities and as cliché as it is, people run towards popular things. Social and sports clubs advertise themselves with a Hollywood or other influential personality to boom their memberships. Co-branding is not just limited to the service industry but widely extends to manufacturing industries as well. A classic example would be the alliance of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Nike, which raked in massive donations through the popular Live Strong baller band.

Recently a popular jewelry brand co-branded with a famous hotel’s service of master suites. The strategy involved offering the master suite guests to view and wear the jewelry if they opt for the service and could ultimately purchase the product. This co-branding was a smart move to capture market through other means. You naturally develop a liking for something, if it is constantly around you. Other co-branding examples would be MasterCard – Virgin partnership, Kmart – Martha Stewart Everyday line and the very famous RED (Global Fund) – Various (Apple, Dell, Nike, GAP, Starbucks & others).

With co-branding, several advantages exist. Some of these are:

*Increased Revenues
*Access To Several Finance Resources
*Improvement In Product Image & Credibility
*Amplified Exposure From Shared Advertising

For more information on co-branding, and which particular business or marketing strategy might suit your business, refer to Scaling retail, our website: www.scalingretail.com.

How Programs such as ‘Made to Matter’ are affecting the Future of the Brands?

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As the time is passing, people are looking for greener, sustainable and better products that are much safer to use. As people are getting more and more aware of the benefits of organic products, they are trying to incorporate them into their lives. Keeping in mind this fact, the ‘Made to Matter’ program has been launched that includes the brands that come under the following categories:

Baby

Beauty and Personal Care

Grocery

Healthcare

Household

This step is outright appreciable. We already are taking in so many chemicals in various forms that we cannot afford to consume any more. Organic foods will allow us to get rid of some of those if not all chemicals from our lives. It will be better for all of us and for the environment as well. 

Apart from being better for our health, it is also been noted that since the launch of products under the program ‘Made to Matter’ a huge improvement has taken place and the growth has shot-up to double figures.

All of this can have a significant effect on the future of the brands. After understanding the trends, many other brands will try to adapt the same methodology and will produce more organic and sustainable products.  It is not only the food items that are being made greener. Items such as clothes including baby diapers are also being made free from chemicals such as chlorine.

Other retailers can also employ this method on a smaller scale by displaying and promoting less number of organic brands, which are not that expensive. This would be a great way to help the planet get rid of some of the major problems such as pollution and diseases.

How Can Small Retailers Benefit From the Stores Such As Tjmaxx and Ross?

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In this era of tough competition, the small retailers are facing a hard time improving their credibility. Many retailers are unable to sell off their old inventory and the products get accumulated over time. Nobody wants to sell their stock at a loss, but when there is an excess, they are forced to sell them to be able to earn capital to buy products that can make them higher and quicker profits.

What these small retailers can learn from the bigger players such as Ross and TJMaxx is to sell out the old inventory by providing their customers discount offers and offers such as ‘buy one get and one free’

Stores such as Ross and TJMaxx pay their suppliers without making them wait for a long time and that is the reason they are able to sell the products of the latest trends and earn huge profits.  The small retailers should learn from this and should pay their vendors in as little time as possible, so they can earn their vendors’ trust and can acquire highly fashionable products. This simply means that they are going to sell more, earn more profits, and become prosperous.

Paying the vendors on time also improves the demand in the market and thus, reduces the risk of the sales falling too low. Stores such as TJMaxx and Ross do not only sell products but also provide value for the money to its customers. That is the reason why they have been very successful in earning the customers’ trust and maintaining a healthy sales rate.

There is no doubt that people are always looking for the best deals and until and unless the retailers offer something intriguing to their customers, they will not be able to get through the tough competition.

Chinese Internet Kingpin Alibaba to Capture US Small Business Niche

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How the Chinese colossus, Alibaba, will affect the small businesses in the US? This question has been in heat for quite some time now, as experts are bewildered with Alibaba being whether a golden opportunity or a dime. As it is a China based group, business owners in US are still puzzled about what Alibaba and its ventures are all about.

As per the claims of Alibaba’s CEO, Jack Ma, they consider themselves the guardians and supporters of the little guys in the corporate world, that is, the small businessmen and women. They help them accumulate in their respective niches through internet technology, but most people doubt that if this is actually the case.

According to a product director of an online fraud protection company, the Alibaba’s reach is enormous to catch the market in the US. He suggests that either the Alibaba Group can use one of its existing platforms to accomplish its goal or set up a nascent platform. Though not all the US key players see eye-to-eye regarding the Chinese giant, as they think going along with their ball game is a double-edged sword.

But there are some plus points of working with Chinese manufacturers like having the augmented potential of competition within the US market, for example. Chinese manufacturers also have the luxury of less strict regulations and cheaper labor, which will aid in producing the similar products to American manufacturers, for lesser costs.

Tudor’s, one of the divisions of the Alibaba Group, spokesperson said that there is no need for their “to be” American competitor, Amazon, to worry about the Alibaba’s TMall service just as now. For the time being, they are still focused on the Chinese market and are still in their planning phase for conquering the US market. As for their motto of being the supporters of small businesses, they are going keep it consistent for the US businesses as well.