The Bed Expert: What is your USP?

Vic Smith, owner of independent beds retailer Vic Smith Beds, asks the question: What is your USP?

Have you ever stopped to take a look at your business to see what gives you the edge over your competitors?  Every year I take a week out of the business to analyse what we did, what went well, and to see what we can offer that makes us the people to go to! I do it away from the shop to avoid all distractions. Yes, it’s hard to carve out that time, but that one week should sow the seed for the future, so it will pay off.

Now I’m not going to sit here and give you all my secrets – but ultimately, it’s that you should have done your job so well, that A, your customer is actually a customer – you scratched your pad, and B, when they walk past your shop on a future occasion, they smile and wave because they are happy with the product you provided, and are still acknowledging they did the right thing in buying with you.

Confidence is key – and this is something I instil in all my staff – from sales through to delivery.  People are still nervous on big purchase spends, and they have to feel that you are being genuine and giving them a reason as to why they should spend their money with you. Sales staff in between customers should be brushing up on their knowledge, so when a customer asks an awkward question, they can deal with it. The delivery teams start their day by checking the van has spare parts so should there be something short from a manufacturer, we can deal with it there and then.

Complacency is a killer! It kills morale, time and profit. Our customers should not think it’s a hassle to buy a new bed – for example we had a customer the other day that rang and thanked us – she’d had nothing but problems with deliveries from other people in the past, and had set herself up to believe that this would be the same – but instead, it had all gone smoothly – and this then in turn helps with recommendations, as word of mouth is key and priceless.

Pricing is important too, but so is good old fashioned customer service. We notice it when we go to a restaurant, so why shouldn’t we notice it in retail? We all have day to day issues – but as I say to my staff, park it at the door! When that customer comes in, they want to have your full undivided attention.

So, on your week’s planning – think about the major dates in the year – what promotions can you tailor to these dates? Is there anything you can do in the community? People remember – not straight away – I did say it’s a long-term investment, your urgent isn’t a customer urgent. And don’t write customer’s off after the first visit – some need two or three goes in order to make a decision, especially in this current climate with big ticket items such as beds and mattresses.

So, go on, decide what your USP for your business is going to be, and go from there!

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