Failing to attract enough customers is worrying, but if you know why it’s happening you might be able to turn things around. Here are some reasons why customers could be going elsewhere:
If your prices are perceived to be too high, then obviously they’ll drive some or all of your potential customers away. But what some business owners don’t realise is that offering prices that are too low can create the impression of low quality products or services, which can be equally off-putting. Customers are not always looking for the cheapest option. The key to price setting is knowledge of your market, both customers and competitors. The aim, of course, is to set optimum prices, which allow you to maximise your profits while still remaining attractive to customers.
Perhaps your products or services just aren’t as attractive as they once were. Maybe your competitors’ products or services are superior to yours. Maybe yours look a little ‘old hat’. Evolution (not revolution) can be the key to longevity in business, which means you might only have to enhance or update your products. Alternatively, you might need to introduce new ones and phase out outmoded products or services. Before spending significant sums on developing a new product or service, carry out thorough market research.
This is most relevant to offline retail businesses, of course. Outdated, poorly decorated, cramped or otherwise uninviting premises can seriously deter footfall. Operating from a hard-to-reach or find location can be another reason why businesses fail to attract punters. Despite your best marketing efforts, you might not be able to attract sufficient footfall in your present location, which means you’ll have to rethink your business model or move to a better location.
You might believe you look after your customers’ every need whenever you interact with them – but would they agree? Do you really understand your customers? And what about your employees, do they provide the levels of service required to attract and retain customers? What about when they’re handling customer complaints? You should aim to exceed expectations, and good customer service can help you to sell more to your existing customers. Do you and your people need to brush up your customer service skills?
Poor marketing could not only be preventing you from attracting customers – it could be driving them away in droves. The traditional marketing mix is made up of price, product, promotion, and place, three of which have already been mentioned, which just leaves promotion. Lack of promotion or promoting your business in the wrong way could explain why you’re not attracting enough customers. If people don’t know you exist, they won’t buy from you. If your promotional activity fails to convince them to at the very least find out more about you, you’ll simply be wasting your time and money. From online marketing and advertising through direct marketing to exhibitions and PR, there are many ways to engage potential and existing customers. The key, of course, is to find out which methods work best for you.
The sad fact is that many products, services and indeed businesses simply come to the end of the road. They lose their appeal and never recover it. This happens because customers’ tastes, wants and needs change, which is why it pays to make sure your market knowledge remains current. Another way to try to stay on the right track is to devise a marketing plan. It’s become a business cliché, of course, but failing to plan is planning to fail (well, in many instances). If your business is to get to where you want to take it, you have to know which road you need to take.