Tips to Increase Customer Demand Rated:

Small business owners continually face peaks and troughs in customer demand. At times when your retail management software is recording fewer sales, it can seem as if customers have locked up their wallets and gone into hiding.

However, there is still money to be made. The key is to adopt your approach to take into account a change in people's attitudes. Here are a few suggestions:

Target your competition

Even in a time when people are buying less, there are still customers who are making purchases - you just need to find them. How do you locate the type of people who might be interested in your products and services? By looking at your competition, of course!

Scrutinize your competitors' approach and try to come up with some strategies for doing it better. Demonstrating why people should choose your business is crucial. Once you have figured out how to differentiate yourself, make this the center of your marketing efforts.

Resist the urge to chop prices

Businesses that reduce prices on all of their products or services in an attempt to woo new customers are likely to do more harm than good to their bottom line. Instead of making large-scale cuts, target particular items for reduction and focus your energy on luring people in with these special offers. They may even end up buying other products as well. Use retail management software to identify select products to discount that can boost your overall sales.

Maintaining consistent prices can also demonstrate to customers - and competitors - that you have not made any compromises on quality. Let quality and customer service be your hallmark - people will remember these characteristics over the long term.

Give current offerings new life

Maybe your products are the best on the block and your customers already know it. But what about those who have not yet been introduced to your outstanding product line? Focusing your energy on reaching these people may involve looking at your products and services from a new angle. Is your inventory in need of a packaging makeover? Are your prices on target? Is there another selling approach you have been missing that could penetrate new markets?

Sometimes, you don't need to come up with completely new idea - it only needs to look like something fresh to alter a customer's perception and create more sales to be recorded by your retail management software.

Keep marketing

Some business owners mistakenly turn to their marketing budget first when looking to cut costs. But although it may seem more expendable than, say, your internet connection, when you are trying to increase customer demand marketing may be your best friend.

A 2005 Penn State study actually found that firms which already have a strong emphasis on marketing can benefit from increasing their focus in this area when customer demand is lower. The researchers write that "proactive marketing includes both the sensing of the existence of the opportunity" and "an aggressive response" to the opportunity.

In some ways, there is no better time to get your message out there than when consumers are feeling particularly choosy about where they money, hunting around for ways to save cash. People may be more likely to switch to a new service in lean times.

Also work on honing your marketing message to convince potential customers that your product or service is a necessity, rather than a luxury. Consumers are spending less on luxuries and show a declining interest in paying for what they consider to be extras.

Offer incentives

One of the oldest tricks in the book actually works. If you want to grab someone's attention, try giving them something for free. Introduce a customer rewards club to reward shoppers for repeat purchases. Emphasize the savings that can be made by buying multiple items or offer a gift for committing to a regular order.

Coupons are another effective way to catch the eye of a prospect. It is a great hook to get people to try your product or service. Publish coupons in the local newspaper or send them out via email to current customers to spur them into buying.

Develop your web presence

If you have never spent as much time or money on your website as you would have liked, now is the time to start. Many people use the internet to research and find deals. Can you make them a deal? Integrate any offers or incentives into your site and consider expanding your web-based marketing to reach new customers.

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Showing 1 - 3 of 13 Comments
Sandy | June 30, 2009
I am new at this, so I do need to begin with the basics.
Veronica | June 17, 2009
This is great information...
Pet+X+Tras+Grooming+Salon | June 16, 2009
I thought this was well thought out and informative. It can apply to both industries product as well as a service. We have a store pet so she is bathed often and trys out all the colones and we paint her nails ... people love the smells and request them and it also inspires them to try new things so we keep her in style with fancy collars and rotate them often to get add on sales.
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