In this article we will discuss the third of our 8 Rules of Growing a Great Business – “Make your products easy to buy”, and by this we mean the channels you use to get your product/service to market. In answering the question ‘what channels should I use’, or ‘how should I sell my product’, the simple answer is ‘in a way that makes it easy to buy’.
Think about some of the products we buy in everyday life, for example a sandwich for lunch. Convenience is often the issue here. Most of us won’t drive for 30 minutes to buy a sandwich so for the sandwich supplier, being close to their target market is a key requirement. However when it comes to buying a car, research suggests those of us in urban areas are prepared to travel up to 45 minutes to visit a showroom. Imagine if that sandwich we just mentioned could be purchased in the same way as a bus tour. Would I buy a sandwich voucher online and turn up at the shop with my voucher ready to exchange it for a sandwich? No. But I may do that when booking a 14 day bus tour through central Australia. But what if your target market doesn’t have ready access to a computer and printer? Am I excluding that part of the market from ever buying my product, by the way in which I require them to transact?
One brand that has recently been making waves in the USA is Tesla. A car manufacturer, Tesla also sells its cars directly to customers rather than via independent car dealerships. Tesla’s showrooms are not on a High Street alongside other car dealerships (ever noticed how car dealerships arrange themselves close together?), instead its showroom is a standard retail space inside a shopping centre (ie. imagine Chadstone shopping centre with a car showroom next to the clothing and homewares stores).
The key point behind the Tesla story is that this business is seeking an innovative way to reach its target customers and in doing so is breaking the traditional industry mould. Tesla has asked itself ‘how else could we sell our products,’ and in doing so, is starting to carve out its own niche in the car market by reaching customers they might never have reached before.
So ask yourself a few key questions: Who are your target customers? How are we currently trying to reach them? How could we improve our current channels? How else could we possibly reach our target customers? And it may be you will find a way of increasing sales.
Director – Business Consulting