Written by Alli Price
I’m not sure if you’re aware of this but not so long ago Kmart nearly shut their doors.
Why? They were no longer making enough money to warrant staying open.
You’re probably not aware of this as, today, they are still trading.
Why? Because they listened to their customers.
Now I know this is not revolutionary but you would be surprised at the number of people who get so ‘head down, bum up’ in business they forget they even have a customer.
Then, when times get tough, instead of going back to basics they try all manner of tricky marketing, advertising, discounting to win back sales. Generally without ever having a conversation with a customer to see what they really want in the first place.
So, as far as I’m concerned, Kmart getting back to basics was revolutionary.
And what they learned was extremely interesting as I think a lot of mums in business are guilty of what Kmart found to be their flaws:
- Customers wanted reduced options! It turned out that too many products were turning them off and making it impossible to choose.
- They wanted easier navigation of the store and less clutter.
- They didn’t want sales all the time. It was annoying to buy a product and then find out it was reduced to 30% off the next day. They wanted value all year round and could simply come in and buy a product when needed.
- They wanted improved customer service.
I’m sure the answers aren’t that shocking as that’s probably what you or I would have fed back also but what this feedback allowed was for Kmart to take a completely new direction which gave them new life.
- The reduction in options of products meant they could buy greater volume of the remaining products, thereby reducing wholesale prices.
- The offer of great value all year round meant that even if they missed out on sales (a few times a year) they would probably gain sales the rest of the year as people would head to them to purchase at these times.
- The all-year value offer also now gives them a point of difference against their competitors. They don’t have to compete at sale time anymore.
- It gave Kmart a completely new focus on the customer – one that took them from seeing themselves no longer as a buying team, but as advocates for Australian families. This can now form the basis for all their marketing messages/social media and what a great message!
And how do I know all this? Kmart told me (and a room full of bloggers) to achieve their aim of being gimmick free and transparent. This is great for Kmart as families will be more likely to trust a big company who’s open with their aims for the business and they way they go about achieving them, and also great for you biz mums who can learn the lessons Kmart learned the hard way.
Cheers! Alli x
Giveaway: Win a $150 toy voucher from Kmart by popping a comment below in answer to this question by Sunday 21 July 2013: What is the best piece of advice a customer has given you about your business?
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