This is the second of a three-part series of articles that try to simplify the art of making a profit. Improving your profit potential requires you to clearly differentiate your business, improve productivity, have correct pricing strategies and establish effective customer retention programs. Customer retention programs are included as part of distribution and marketing strategies as it is important that your sales and marketing staff are as fully committed to this vital issue as well as any specific customer service department you may have.
Getting bigger margins for each and every sale you make is the name of the game. This usually means that either you have to sell more at a higher price or make more at a lower cost whilst maintaining your existing price.
If you can manufacture your products and services more efficiently then you can improve your margins otherwise the key factor or variable is your selling price. However, many business owners are reticent to increase their prices for fear of losing market share to their competitors. It is more common to see businesses lowering or discounting their prices in order to improve sales and market share but be aware that this has very short term viability. Competitors will match you sooner or later and then you will have no where to go!
If you really believe in the quality of your products and services then focus on your customers and not your competition – provide your customers with the very best service, advice, quality product and delivery systems in order to differentiate yourself and justify your pricing strategy.
Creative Distribution and Marketing Strategies from a Thai Village!
An excellent example of this pricing strategy comes from a newly established Thai silk cooperative based in a small, rural village near the Cambodian border. The world market for Thai silk is dominated by some very large operations who have almost unlimited supplies of Thai silk available to sell at wholesale or highly discounted prices.
The small cooperative could never match the supply quantities of their competitors nor their very low prices. Instead with their unique, handmade silks they established their prices 15-20% higher than their much larger and more established competitors.
The cooperative then focused their attention on promoting the fact that their supplies of silk were not only unique but extremely limited due to the labor intensive processes of spinning, natural dyeing and weaving required to make their totally original silk fabrics.
They also provide their customers with a wonderful story about the reasons for their business operation and created an excellent personalized service via their customer focused website.
The cooperatives distribution strategy for their high quality silk fabrics included world-wide free shipping. In addition, they created an extraordinary offer of allowing their customers to have their fabrics delivered before asking for any payments and only if the customers were totally satisfied with their purchase – otherwise they could return the fabrics at no cost to the customer.
In order to further their market differentiation they provide services that their competitors do not offer. this small cooperative recognized that their competitor websites only focused on Thai silk and this was another opportunity to achieve differentiation.
Their website provides practical advice and guidance on a wide range of topics from leadership, work ethics, online shopping and work place recognition programs. These topics are all relevant to their site as they use examples related to their cooperative or their village as illustrations. These “extra customer care” articles are designed to provide readers with interesting and helpful ideas.
All these strategies show the strong belief these Thai village people have in the quality and value of their product offer and by developing a real perception of value that truly differentiated themselves from their competitors they have initiated what will be a very interesting business model.
If you have valued the steps and ideas presented in this article you will appreciate the need to get fresh perspectives on your business and the urgent need to ask yourself some key questions in order to maximize your business profit potential.