Retail Sales: It’s All in the
By Anthony Raissen
Unless you’ve just won a big jackpot, like the
rest of us you are no doubt finding it harder to
make ends meet during these tough economic
times. Many of you reading this article are
“self-employed,” and while government unemployment
statistics are merely numbers to those who have managed
to keep their jobs, the harsh reality is that as entrepreneurs, not only do we have to keep our “jobs,” but more
often than not, we need to keep investing in our business
in order to keep the doors open.
If you are running a direct response company, chances are you check the numbers on a daily basis. It is much
more difficult to watch the numbers when in retail, as
access to DR-style numbers is limited. Even more troubling is the fact that most retailers today are finding it
harder to stay in business. Many flagship retailers have
already closed their doors, and many more will follow in
the months ahead.
We do not qualify for government bailout money like
banks, insurance companies and big auto companies.
Trying to borrow money is harder than ever. Many smart
entrepreneurs are going back to basics — and I mean real
basics — in order to survive.
Over the years, I have worked with many companies
that — as a result of their success — became careless
and negligent with their overall cost of goods, damages,
returns and needless expenses. It’s part of human nature that when you are successful, you indulge yourself.
Money is wasted and only when the money starts running out, or the going gets tough, do people come to
their senses and go back to basics.
Start by looking back at when you launched your
» You looked at the cost of production and researched
for competitive pricing
» You worked out of offices that you could afford
» You made sure that your staff
maximized its time
» You micromanaged your advertising and ROI
» You did not take success for
Next, don’t let your ego get in the
way of good business practices:
» Look hard at your product to make cost-saving
changes (this may be as simple as changing one of
your packaging materials, paper to plastic, etc.)
» Go back to your suppliers and negotiate better pricing or terms
» Renegotiate your lease
» Make every dollar you spend on marketing and advertising accountable
Now more than ever, it is important to keep your
product top of mind with consumers. As consumer
spending decreases, marketers need to reinforce their
messages to consumers with impactful marketing and
One powerful marketing tool that can be used creatively to increase sales in such tight economic times is
the use of truly effective vanity toll-free numbers. There
are more than 25 million toll-free numbers in use today.
Finding the right vanity 800 number can be daunting.
Choosing a keyword or phrase for your vanity number
— one that really resonates with your audience — can
Identifying the keyword that will create the highest
impact and be the most memorable is critical to your
success in using a vanity number. Often the obvious
choice is not always the best to increase your sales.
Sometimes the best number is not really a number. (800-
555-1212 vs. 800-GET-INFO).
The right vanity number can:
» Increase caller response
» Increase sales
» Increase return on investment
» Reinforce branding and messaging purposes
» Improve customer service
Let’s say you have a product that reduces facial wrinkles. This category has many products on the shelf, all
competing for the same consumer, and many have similar names. You must make sure that when a customer
is standing in the store in front of a dozen anti-wrinkle
creams, your product is either on the shopping list or
is one they can identify. Having a memorable vanity
number that you use in your advertising and marketing
could be the difference between your product being purchased or left on the shelf. It’s all about messaging and