The No. 1 reason why your retail business could be failing – Part 1

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The retail business is a challenging industry! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In a study conducted by the University of Tenessee (read more here), only 47% of retailers continue to operate after 4 years! That means a whopping 53% failure. If that is not challenging, I have no idea what is.   Which got me thinking, what actually contributes to such a high failure rate? I believe the answer is simple. In my experience, it comes down to a business’s (i.e. retail brand’s) positioning. Al Ries and Jack Trout, in their book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, introduce the subject by saying: “[P]ositioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect”. In simple terms, do your customers think of you when they are looking to buy your product / service.  

So the question is “how do I get into the mind of my customer you may ask?”  

Here is a tool you could use. Al Ries and Jack Trout created a tool called a product ladder (read more here). They used this tool to illustrate that due to the limitation of a consumer’s mind, coupled with the mass quantity of brand located in the market, consumers are forced to rank products (i.e. brands) in their mind.

Which means, if I asked you to think of the top pizza brands in the market (i.e. Malaysia) your mind would probably rank it as:  

So since Dominos is no 2 on the product ladder in the mind of the consumer, what could they possibly do to be no. 1? Simple, they could create a new ladder in the mind of the consumer called:

In this way, they would be no. 1 on this ladder in the mind of the consumer. So they would then need to create branding to position themselves in the mind of consumers that would place them in the No. 1 position when it comes to Pizza delivery!  

So as you can see though this tool may seem a bit complex it is absolutely worth your time when it comes to create a positioning for yourself in the mind of your consumer.  

In my next posting I will share with you another tool you can use to create and define the positioning of your brand in the mind of your consumer.  

To your retail growth!  


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