I went to a menswear shop in Manchester today. It’s not in a particularly great location, and yet it’s close to the city centre. Plus it has free parking in the streets nearby.
I’d popped in once before because I was intrigued by its location and I suspected that it probably wasn’t doing too well. The first time I’d called I’d tried on several very nice suits and almost bought one. And during the fitting the owners and I had got into a discussion about business. Like you do!
It was clear that they weren’t making much money from it. And I suggested doing a deal where they outfit me with their best and I’d help them with their marketing. I gave them a card and walked out and promptly forgot all about it.
Today when I went back (probably 8 months later) I noticed that they were closing down and having a closing down sale. I talked to one of the owners and he admitted that they were probably making enough to pay the rent, but that was it.
When I again suggested marketing he shrugged and said he’d love to but it costs money.
And of course he’s right to a certain extent…
Marketing needn’t cost the earth. What he hadn’t thought about was that he could have used my services for a ridiculously low price as their costs for suiting and booting me would have been minimal compared to the marketing education and implementation assistance they would have got.
And if they’d wanted to sell they could have then have sold a going concern.
There are so many things they could have done when I talked to them last time. They could have …
- Worked out an interesting (true) story about the shop that differentiated it from competitors, to tell to everyone
- Started collecting names, emails and mobile numbers of people popping in (like me)
- Collected customers details
- started continually following up that list with offers and news
- re-launched the shop for minimal amounts of cash
- they could have got some PR going
- special invite only nights
- business networking!
The marketing world was their oyster. And yet they simply sat in the shop and looked at the top quality stock they have and wondered why it didn’t walk out the door.
They had well and truly buried their head in the sand and thought sales would come to them. And as a result their shop is going.
It’s such a shame when they’re both lovely people, but lack of sales happens to everyone, even those who really deserve the sales. If they don’t do their marketing right.