marketingA specialty grocery store in Brisbane Australia began charging it’s customers $5 to “just look around. “ The fee is intended to cut down the high number of people who come in to research products and then buy them elsewhere online.

You’ve got to be kidding me.  So just because I walk into your store – I am required to buy something?  Novel idea. How about I start making people pay $5 just to come to my website before demonstrating the value of what’s on there…just in case they don’t decide to work with me.

Sounds ridiculous, right?

Here is an idea – rather than point the finger at your customers (and prospective customers) I think it’s time you look in the mirror to realize the real problem.

If your company is losing money to a competitor – slapping customers and prospective customers with a fee is just plain stupid.  If you’re losing money…it’s not me, it’s you.

Why isn’t this specialty grocery store offering their products online?  Why are they continuing to charge high prices when they know people can get it elsewhere at a lower cost?  What do your competitors do or know that you don’t that is allowing them to offer the same product at a lower cost?

These are all questions this specialty grocery store should be asking themselves.

But it’s not just the specialty store customers who are comparison shopping then buying online elsewhere. It’s happening to Bed Bath and Beyond, Petsmart, and Toys ‘R’ Us, too.  But I don’t need to pay $5 to walk into the store.

So regardless of the size of your organization or your business model – there are simple ways to change how you do business to turn “lookers” into “buyers.”

First – ask someone who isn’t close to your business to evaluate you versus your competitors.  You can’t do it – you’re too close to the situation. You need an objective opinion that you really can’t provide.

Second – have them pretend to be your customer and your competitor’s customers.  When they visit the websites – evaluate how the product or service offering is presented.  What are the costs?  Is there convincing content? And is it clear and concise?  Does it solve a problem? Is it easy to connect with the company – socially or via email or by phone?

Third – view the feedback side by side.  You need to see a side-by-side comparison to understand the differences.  What are your pros and cons as they compare to your competition?

Fourth – create a strategic plan to modify your business model.  The strategic plan takes you to where you want to be.  Without a plan, new processes, goals, and actionable steps, you won’t be as successful in changing.

Change is not an easy thing.  But today’s world is much different than it was even 5 years ago.  Your marketing, strategy, and product or service offering needs to be adapted to today’s needs and wants.

If you feel that you can simply ignore trends and best practices yet still make the same kind of revenue you once did – you will likely be disappointed by the end result.

P.S.  There is no charge for this advice.  This is on the house.