It may seem obvious, but one way to make more sales is to get more customers. Businesses will often look at ways of expanding their customer base during periods of growth, but it can also be considered when existing customers are not generating enough sales.
The main growth areas are:
Target audience/sector: Consider targeting a completely different group of potential customers from your existing customer base. For example, if you currently sell to consumers you may wish to target businesses as well, or if your clients are in one business segment then consider selling into others. Finding a niche in a crowded market could result in sustained growth.
Geographical coverage: Review your existing geographical coverage to find out if there is potential to increase your market reach. For example, if your customer base is quite local you may wish to target new customers at a regional level, or if you currently trade nationally you may find there are opportunities overseas.
Business referrals: Consider approaching other businesses that provide supplementary products or services to what you offer. You could make an agreement to cross-sell to each others' businesses, getting access to a completely new customer database. For example, if a printing company knows that a client wants a website they could recommend a new media company, and vice versa.
There are five key strategies to consider when reviewing your plan:
In spite of predictions of US retail e-commerce sales expected to take a dive of 0.4% from 2008 to total ca $132 billion in 2009, I can still see light at the end of this tunnel.
Many economists are predicting the recession will indeed end this year, with online sales looking set to begin to climb again in 2010. The growth will most likely come from the hardy online buyers who will help drive the e-commerce machine successfully into 2010 and beyond.
With an estimated 150+ million people (aged 14+) in the US predicted to shop online in 2009, that’s 86% of internet users who will browse, research or compare products online this year alone. Unsurprisingly, the positive rise is set to continue. This particular trend however, perhaps points to another interesting area – and one online retailers need to be ever mindful of – internet shoppers are keener than ever to compare prices, seek out retailers with no (or at the very least, low) shipping fees and look for discounts at every opportunity. ‘Shopping around’ is the new black! The recession has made product research even more important than it previously was to the pre-recession frugal online buyer.
These statistics however, make no mention of cross-channel shopping habits. Agreed, they are notoriously much harder to measure than an e-commerce sale, nonetheless, cross-channel sales could equate to more than triple the e-comm sales predicted – not a small sum to be sniffed at by retailers. Yet, to my mind, they’re still a long way from building their multi-channels in to what could be classified as a cohesive presence online. If the e-tailers can succeed at implementing this, then perhaps they could help drive a real boost to consumer confidence.
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