By sheer co-incidence the subject of cross-selling came up several times this week, along with a discussion on ‘opportunity’ during a networking breakfast, which prompted me into giving both more thought. As one would expect when companies are experiencing challenging times within their niche business, some reach outwards in an attempt to capture a larger share of the market.
It’s becoming increasingly common to see businesses making the most of an existing service by offering add-on compatible services and products, enhancing the value of the brand. Recently we’ve seen a local florist open a café integral with the shop and a pet store with an on-site veterinary practitioner. This is by no means a new concept. During the recession in the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s, when retail sales were depressed, the Garden Centre industry in particular seized the opportunity to branch out into a wider area of retailing. Previously known in the main for simply selling plants and plant products many became an attractive venue to spend leisure time, with an in-store restaurant, gift department, special events and gardening seminars delivered by experts. The introduction of cross-selling of new products and innovative services gave them an advantage over the increasing competition from supermarket and DIY chains who had also moved into the market by opening plant areas within their stores. Plant nurseries, often owned by second or third generation family growers, became astute retailers, adapting to the needs of their customers, offering a one-stop shop for the leisure market.
The horticultural industry is a prime example of how by branching out and seizing an opportunity and giving the customer what they need, rather than simply what we want to sell them, secures repeat custom and enhances the value of our core business. This doesn’t have to be limited to retail. Bussroot has been approached by so many clients asking for tips on how to get up and running on Twitter that we now offer one-to-one mini tutorials on joining the Twitterati and starting to tweet.
It’s not simply about the shoe shop selling polish when you buy a new pair of shoes. You’d be happy for them to offer you a cup of coffee while you’re waiting wouldn’t you? To quote the Greek orator and statesman Demosthenes; “Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises”.