Tom Peters, Geeks, Women and WalMart

Hey, I promised Id get back to WallyWorld and Hamilton. And yes, I know its about time, but before I step back into the step by step system we’ve been discussing, I wanted to go over a list that Tom Peters put together on this same topic.

Over at http://www.tompeters.com/entries.php?note=007977.php, Tom talks about what he things the small business has to do to compete with WalMart.

Tom says his “WallopWalmart16” list is focused on “eating the big guy’s lunch”. Seems to me that none of us are necessarily going to run WalMart, Target, HomeDepot, Lowe’s or Costco out of town, which is what I would call eating their lunch – but that really isn’t the point.

One of your goals should be to regularly and systematically identify and carve off pieces of their business that they simply don’t pay enough attention to. Yeah, a niche.

Tom notes that you have to be in a niche, never attack them head-on (which in most cases means price), repeats the don’t compete on price thing and offers a few other tidbits are worth listening to. As you might expect, he refers to “In Pursuit of Excellence” by closing with the advice that you have to win these clients away one experience and one thrilled customer at a time.

In my experience, the two gems in there that seems to be missed by so many businesses are “Sophisticated use of information technology” and “Focus on Women-as-clients”.

Sophisticated use of information technology means a little more than “buy cool new computers”. It means keeping track of things that most businesses don’t capture, much less measure, monitor and use when making business decisions. For example, I’ll bet if I asked you to produce a set of mailing labels for your top 25 clients, based on lifetime sales, you couldn’t do it in less than 5 minutes. If I asked you to tell me which of your clients are “overdue” for a visit based on their historical purchases, could you produce this list? If you can answer those questions, then you know things about your clients that enable you to make wiser choices about your marketing. You know WHEN to follow up on each customer. Do you think Walmart knows when you havent been in the store for 45 days and your average is every 22 days? Depending on what you use to pay for your purchases, they probably know. The difference is…they wont do anything about it (yet).

What are you doing with your systems? What are you measuring? How are you using that information?

In the 1950’s, women make 80% or more of the purchases for the home. Since then, women have been (mostly) emancipated, have broken through tons of barriers and are climbing corporate ladders and experiencing entrepreneurial success everywhere. And guess what…they still make 80% of the purchases.

Despite this, few retail or service businesses do anything about it. Their store, their marketing, their follow up systems..none of that takes the “woman factor” into consideration. Certainly, there are businesses whose clientele is not primarily women, but there are still ways those businesses can cater differently to the women they do serve – and lock those ladies in as a lifetime customer.

What are you doing to make doing business with you easier and more pleasant for clients who are women?

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