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Is business BAD or are we becoming IRRELEVANT in the eyes of our customer? That is a scary thought and something we all need to consider. Why? Because in a time period where retail business is tougher than ever emerges a giant that changes the rules in less than 10 years, does more business per square foot company wide than the wildest dreams of the greatest retail executives, and sells their merchandise at full price, and NEVER has a sale, in the most cut-throat and price sensitive of all of retail categories. Of course I am talking about Apple.
This past week Apple released sales data to the press. Their stores average over $4200 per square foot. I actually thought it was more but their Downtown Manhattan store does over 400 million dollars and is open 24/7. There are expressions such as “gym rat’ or “mall rat”. Now we have “Apple Rat. ” I have become one. It is just a cool place to go, to learn new ways to do things, and hang out with a cross section of people coming together in a way that must be confusing the hell out of pinpoint marketers and demographic practitioners.
You see little old white haired ladies working with a 20 something guy with arms that have run out of space for any more tattoos, piercings all over their face, and a real spiked Mohawk. We are talking big time opposites, yet the Apple store brings theses divergent groups together and maybe teaches us something about ourselves along the way. People might be different but their goals and quest for knowledge are the same.
WE HAVE A CRISIS IN RETAILING TODAY AND IT’S ALL ABOUT CHANGE.
Maybe Charles Darwin, the great British Naturalist and author of the Theory of Evolution in the mid 1800’s, holds the key to our success. He said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
This week I did a webinar on the power of Inbound Marketing and it made me think of the changes that have already occurred and those changes that are yet to be.
Read these facts and you might be in awe as well. Many of these are just subtle shifts in behavior that we have all become part of.
- 40% of smart phone users report that they have checked competitive prices on line with phones in the store.
- 79% of Americans use the internet
- The average US Internet user views 2,750 web pages per month
- 1/3 of US consumers spend three or more hours online EVERYDAY.
- One out of every 8 minutes online is spent on Facebook
- 24% of adults have posted comments or reviews online about the things they buy. This is becoming word of mouth advertising on steroids.
- 40% of Facebook’s user base is age 35+
- WEB-BASED EMAIL USAGE IS ON A STEEP DECLINE (drops of 40 to 59%) among people under the age of 45, a steady decline from 45 to 60 and is increasing in popularity among 60+ year olds. My prediction is that within 10 years email will be as popular as the Fax Machine is today.
- US internet users spend 3 times more minutes on blogs and social networks than on email
- 1 in 5 mobile phone owners use their device to make a purchase every month.
- 91% of email users have UNSUBSCRIBED from a company/store’s email they previously opted-in to.
- Companies that blog get 55% more website visitors
- 67% of Business to Consumer companies who use Facebook credit it for attracting new customers to their business
- 66% of professional marketers describe a company blog as “CRITICAL” or “IMPORTANT” to their business
- 84% of professional marketers describe Facebook as “CRITICAL” or “IMPORTANT” to their business
Our marketing & advertising has shifted from “telling and selling” to building relationships first. The Chief Creative Officer from J. Walter Thompson (the world’s 4th largest ad agency) summed it all up like this. “We need to stop interrupting people in what they are interested in and BE WHAT PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN.”
Next week I will share what we do about all of these changes and share ways to adjust to all of these changes and start to create new protocols and procedures to compete on this new playing field.
Let me leave you with the first lesson we all need to learn.
We can buy attention: That’s called advertising
We can beg for attention: That’s called PR
We can bug people for attention: That’s called Selling
We can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then sharing it on a blog, YouTube, a report, Twitter, or on Facebook.
Let’s stop worrying about the mule going blind. Let’s start loading the wagon.
(The statistics represented in this piece were compiled from various sources by the team at Hubspot. -America’s leading innovator in In-Bound Marketing tools and information. Permission was received for their distribution.)
by Rick Segel
Rick Segel, a Certified Speaking Professional, has spoken in 49 states, on five continents, with over 2,100 professional presentations. The most common words used by audiences are “we have never learned so much and laughed so much.”The philosophy that integrates fun, humor and playful behavior is critical in today’s highly stressful business environment. Because of that, we strive to incorporate a fun factor in almost everything we do.Rick Segel is the author of thirteen books, including two editions of the best selling Retail Business Kit for Dummies which has sold over 100,00 copies and translated into 7 languages. Rick’s number-one selling book, that is in its seventh printing, is Laugh & Get Rich, co-authored with Darren LeCroix, a past International Toastmaster’s Speaker of the Year award winner. Website: http://www.ricksegel.com/