As I drive the familiar neighborhoods around where I live I am noticing more and more businesses with ‘Going Out Of
Business’ or ‘Business Liquidation Sale’ signs in their windows and on the sides of the buildings. I noticed that a sports store and a tile company recently went out of business near my house, and I’ve seen four or five other businesses that are on the fast track out of there. As I drive the hour commute to work each day I am seeing more and more of this all over the place.
What are they doing wrong? Why are all of these businesses going out of business? Well, I can’t say for certain because I don’t know these businesses well enough, but maybe one of the major factors is their marketing plan, or lack thereof. Or maybe its how their business is laid out for the customer. Not only must a company market their business, but they must have a consumer-friendly place of business.
As a consumer, I have seen these businesses, but only because I pass by them fairly frequently. However, nothing really stands out about these businesses. Why should I go to these businesses versus going to other big box businesses? I’ve never seen an advertisement for any of these businesses online, in my mailbox, etc. And I’m local!
The only thing I’ve seen in the past year or so is the owner of sports store (that is now out of business) stand out in front of his business and hold up sports attire (jerseys, jackets, flags, etc.). However, he never looked happy or enthusiastic about his business. I did go into this store…once.
This was my experience:
- It was so over packed with merchandise that I was honestly scared to even walk all the way into the store.
- The racks of sports clothing were obviously not in any particular order – no specific sections for certain teams, for jerseys vs. jackets, or really any order of any kind.
- The racks of clothing were so over packed that there were some hanging off the top of the round racks.
- There was dust everywhere.
- The glass counters were covered in dust and I couldn’t clearly view much of anything in the glass counters since they were just packed with tons of merchandise – again, no order to how they were put in there.
- The owner couldn’t even walk behind the counter without tripping or walking over merchandise that was piled up on the floor.
It was horrible! It was a nightmare! I didn’t even bother looking around for what I wanted to purchase; instead, I just asked the owner if he had the item I was looking for. He said he thought he didn’t, but that he could order it for me, for an additional $5 fee, and it would take upwards of 2 weeks to arrive. Uuummm…no thank you.
The moral of the story:
- Market to your local community! If you don’t, you won’t get customers to come in.
- Hire a sign walker instead of having a stressed owner stand out front with merchandise.
- Create a call-to-action for your customers – holding up a jersey of a retired player is not a call-to-action.
- Create an open, organized, customer-friendly, dust-free environment for your customers where they will feel comfortable browsing your store and the merchandise you carry.
- Do not charge extra for ordering items for your customer that are readily available at any other sports store.