Why Retailers Need Retail Consultants
This morning I was reading Richard Hammond’s Smart Retail.
In the book, he quoted a retailer explaining how another retailer hire a consulting firm to help it identify it target market but came out of the process more confused.
While it is true that most retail consultants do not produce results, a few of us do.
However, like any other business transaction, you get what you pay for.
Secondly, it is the responsibility of the retailer to ensure they hire the right consultant.
The main reason consultant-retailer relationship go pear-shaped is this, most retailers fail to clearly articulate their desired outcome.
They view their relationship with retail consultants as a means of outsourcing their thinking.
When you open a retail store or if you are a CEO of a retail organisation, the ultimate responsibility for the success of that venture lies with you the owner or the CEO.
The responsibility for success does not lie with your store manager, store assistants or retail consultant.
It lies with one person and one person alone that will be the person you see in the mirror in the morning.
After all, when your business succeeds, you are the one who claim the lion share of the spoils.
What's the Role of a Retail Consultant?
What’s the Role of a Retail Consultant?
The role of a retail consultant in a retail organisation is threefold:
- Ask the right question
- Show the retailer where to retrieve data
- Interpret data
Ask the right question
Let’s say for example your sales have stalled.
My job as a retail consultant is to come to your store, through Socratic questioning method, help you arrive at the root cause yourself.
There are certain fundamentals present in every successful retail venture.
Retailers that are successful are successful because they follow those fundamentals.
Those that are unsuccessful are unsuccessful because they either do not know those fundamentals or they stray away from them.
My job is to walk you through those fundamentals and see if together we could identify those you are not adhering to.
“Every happy family is happy in the same way. Every unhappy family is unhappy in different ways”.
My job is to show you the ways of happy families i.e. successful retailers.
Show the retailer where to retrieve data
Do not underestimate the value of the right information.
It can make the difference between success and failure in any endeavour.
There are tons of info online about retail sales and management.
Up to 95% of those information are peoples’ opinion that has no validation.
Anyone can write a book these days.
Therefore, by virtue of the fact that an information is in a book does not validate it.
So our job as retail consultants is to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
Retail consultants show retailers how to identify good information and where to locate those information.
Accurate data analysis is key to making the right decision.
Most retail organisations have access to loads of data.
For example, they know the amount of traffic to their stores.
They know the identity of their target market.
They know the areas of the store most frequently, etc.
The issue is not knowing the information.
The issue is what to do with the information.
This is where retail consultants come in handy.
We help you make sense of the data and show you have to utilise the info to boost your sales and increase profit.
Walmart Case Study
You do not need me to lecture you on the difficulties of running a retail business.
Adding unnecessary layer that will make the process even harder is not that smart.
This morning, I read ‘Made In America’ the bio of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart.
In the book, he said for years he had a few stores with twenty million turnover.
Then he hired a consulting firm and implemented most of the advice they gave him and his business went through the roof.
Sam Walton was a pretty bright guy.
If there was anyone who never needed a retail consultant, it would have been Mr. Walton.
Yet he was smart enough to know that he needed the help of retail consultants.
Retail Consultants Reduce Your Years Of Struggle As retail consultants, we bring years of experience that you as an individual retailer do not have.
What Retail Consultants Do
We go around different retail organisations, learning the good, bad and the ugly.
Because we have experience of good and bad practices, we are strategically placed to advice you.
Even if you have a thousand stores or you are the CEO of a chain retail organisation, you do not know all there is to know about retail.
That’s the reason you need a retail consultant.
We have access to information you might have never thought of.
A group of Brazilian retailers once wrote letters to all the top retail organisations in the US asking if they could come and learn some best practices from them.
Guess how many of them responded?
You are right, only one.
That was Walmart.
When they arrived in the US, Sam Walton picked them up personally.
Took them to his home for dinner.
Over dinner, the Brazilians noticed that instead of answering their questions, he was the one asking them questions.
Small wonder the guy built the biggest retail empire in the world.
He understood the importance of Kaizen…never ending improvement.
The next time you hire a retail consultant, instead of viewing the individual as an adversary who has come to snatch your money, view the person as a partner you are investing in.
Need help increasing your store sales and profit?
In this fiercely competitive retail environment, the tiniest of things can make an enormous difference to your sales and profit margin.
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About the author
Romeo Richards is an experienced retail trainer and consultant with knowledge of retail marketing, store performance and retail loss prevention.
He has the ability to choreograph the customer journey, boost store conversion and enhance in-store experience using store design and visual merchandising.
Specialises in increasing retail profit through shrinkage reduction.
He is the author of 23 retail and marketing books including:
• How to Increase Retail Sales
• How to Make Profit In Retail
• Store Design Blueprint
• Visual Merchandising Display
He is the creator of five retail home study courses.
Frequently presents webinars on shoplifting prevention and boosting retail sales.
Featured in Professional Security Magazine, Retail Week & Retail Technology Magazine