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INDEPENDENT RETAILER magazine is now the official news outlet for Wholesale Central visitors. Each monthly issue is packed with new product ideas, supplier profiles, retailing news, and business strategies to help you succeed.

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Marketing Closeouts - The Pleasure Principle

Jan 1, 2009
by Rob Kole

People do things because of the feelings those things create. If something makes you feel good, you want to do it again. If it makes you feel bad, you don't want to do it again. This is referred to as the Pleasure Principle. Simple, right?

Let's apply this to your business. Why do customers come to your store? What makes them buy the things they buy? What will make them come back and buy again? And, of course, you must ask the opposite questions about customers who never come back. What is stopping them from returning to make another purchase?

Let's start with the first impression a customer gets when they walk in the door. A real estate agent once told me a homebuyer makes the decision to buy a home within 30 seconds of entering the home for sale. In sales, no matter what you are selling, a good first impression is vital. Pretend you're a customer and walk in the door of your store. See what looks good and what looks bad, and make changes accordingly. It's a good idea to have the first thing the customer sees be a great deal on something they can use.

Now that you've gotten someone in the door, consider what their overall shopping experience will be. Is the store clean? Is the lighting bright? Is the merchandise attractively packaged? Are items well organized so shoppers can easily find what they need? Do you have enough, "surprise," deals in your store? These are gadgets or closeouts the customer wasn't even thinking about buying, or even knew existed, before they came to your store. If you can satisfy all these needs, the customer will feel comfortable in your store, know they can easily find what they want, and know they will have fun doing some treasure hunting, looking for surprise deals.

People don't go to a coffee shop just because they are addicted to caffeine. Most of them have coffee makers at home. They go for the music, the people and the big comfortable chair. In short, it's just as much about the experience as it is about the product. Try to tailor the shopping experience to the type of customers you have. Play the music they like, have pictures of their favorite things on the walls, and sell the items they are looking for. And if they come back often, you'll have a genuine relationship with them, which will be good for both of you.

Many of these things are inexpensive or free, if you're creative. Consider the Pleasure Principle next time you're in your store. If your customers are happy, you will be happy too.

Rob Kole, President
Kole Imports
24600 South Main Street
Carson, CA 90745
Tel.: 800-874-7766 or 310-834-0004

Topic: Business Strategies

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Article ID: 885

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