Retail Champion explains path to success at PCR Retail Boot Camp

Clare Rayner: Climb the 10 Steps to Retail Success

Retail Champion Clare Rayner took to the stage at PCR Retail Boot Camp to reveal her ten steps to business success to the 250 dealers attending the event.

In short, it was essential advice for any retailer, focused on businesses finding their place in the market, and understanding their ideal customer.

Rayner, who comes from a family of retailers, is a well-known retail expert, a frequent contributor to television and radio discussions, with a book coming out later this year.

She was born into a family of retailers and understands well the challenges on the high street today.

Here’s a brief guide to her essential steps to success:

Step 1: Goal and Mission
Rayner noted that personal and business goals are not the same, but they are often linked.

Business goals help you define your direction and targets, while values and beliefs define your culture.

It’s helpful to have a mission statement that clearly says what you offer, who you offer it to, your service proposition and the outcome for your customer. Can you say it in 50 words or less?

Step 2: Positioning
All retailers should think about how you are considered relative to your competitive set. Be realistic. Think about four key elements – where you are positioned on product, price, presentation and service.

She said: “Positioning is important because it’s the outward representation of your brand to anyone who notices it.

“If you fail to live up to the promises you make, you will create a customer service failure.”

Step 3: The ideal customer
Create a persona, an individual, an imaginary friend. It may sound counter intuitive to focus on one individual but it works. Then widen it out to think about people like them.

Marketing is more engaging when it’s written in an inter-personal style, and once you have an ‘ideal customer’, you can select ranges, price points, promotions and locations that fit them.

Step 4: Range planning
Product is part of your positioning, it impacts the top cost drivers in a retail business. You have to think about the width vs depth of your range and use trade shows to negotiate with suppliers.

Step 5: Pricing and promotions
Price is of course a key aspect of positioning, and inextricably linked to your range plan. What’s the right kind of promotion for your positioning – you don’t want to devalue your brand or confuse the customer.

Step 6: Channel and location
It may seem obvious, but you have to be where your customers are and this means thinking about how they shop and what they expect.

If you have a young audience it is important to be on Facebook. If you have a technology offering you need a mobile website.

Step 7: Customer engagement
Rayner talked about a four-step upward cycle:
*Attraction – knowing the customer, having the right product, price etc.
*Conversion – being visible, having good product availability and info, and competent staff.
*Retention – keeping promises, being consistent in service delivery.
*Referrels – eventually you can reach a point where the customer trusts you enough to recommend you.

Step 8: Supply chain
There are three key elements – selecting a supplier, defining criteria for selection (such as right product, right price, determining service levels), and making sure your logistics provider keeps its promises too as they can be the last step in the chain with your customer.

Step 9: Planning and controlling
Access to data and information is key to controlling your business. Information about your stock, cash flow, sales and margins is vital to have to hand.

Step 10: Back office
Lastly, you can’t forget about all the functions that keep your business running and make you efficient: HR, Legal, Finance, IT.

Rayner concluded by suggesting retailers’ next step should be to make an action plan of their own. What steps do you need to take? What can you change?

PCR Retail Boot Camp, powered by Innergie, is an exciting new conference and expo for the UK PC and IT channel.

Supporting the PCR Retail Boot Camp are Innergie (Headline Partner), Micro-P (Connected Home Partner), GData, VIP Computers, Arctic, Westcoast, Lygo/Turtle Beach, EntaTech, ESET and Zotac/Kuoda (Platinum Partners), plus AVG, AOC, Philips, Avance Technologies, Computers Unlimited, Koch Media, Autotask, Samsung, TP Link, Wasp, Synaxon, Realtime Distribution, Avance, Cisco and Hama (Gold Partners).

CompTIA, Brigantia and the Network Group are also Associate Partners of the event.

Don’t forget to follow our Twitter feed @PCRBootcamp.

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