I was reading the text of an interview with a prominent retailer in Ireland (in business for over 40 years) who has a number of outlets – he was talking about the current state of his business and his outlook for the future.
Some of this is as you would expect:
“Footfall, passing trade, impulse buying and general sales have decreased.. Last year was bad and this year is the worst ever … there is a need to work harder and continue to offer great quality, reasonable prices and a top class service to customers … we have to offer continuous promotions to keep the business ticking over …
we have to offer discounts to get customers to part with their money … whether we are in sale or not customers will often barter for a lower price and we are prepared to negotiate … the nature of our business is very personalised and we promote it with quality merchandise and great quality…
we’ve reduced prices by between 20 and 50 per cent, which customers have reacted well to… circumstances are changing on an almost daily basis as there seems to be a constant crisis with the Irish economy… we never got complacent even in the good times … the government isn’t doing enough to ensure healthy business and sales growth in Ireland…
Vat and rates are beyond our control and are the main reason why so many businesses are closing for good… we advertise on local radio and in the local press…. we do what we can to keep the doors open… hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel”
Now this is a guy and a business who has been in a permanent scrap for the last few years, no doubt fighting with landlords over rent, cutting back on staff levels, reducing staff wages, negotiating with suppliers over margins, fighting on a daily basis to get more efficiencies in the business and doing everything I am sure to stay in the game.
With admiration I am saying to myself “well done you are one of the great survivors – it sounds like you have been doing everything to survive” – then I read one final piece in the interview..
“I acknowledge the growing importance of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter for making immediate contact with my customers … we’re in the process of setting up a Facebook profile aimed at younger customers as I recognise the importance of social media as a form of free and immediate advertising”
In the process of setting up a Facebook profile! – I find myself screaming to myself ..”What are you waiting for?”
Unfortunately this hard working business is fighting a battle on many fronts but it is stuck in the slow lane with smart competitors putting on the indicator and whizzing quickly by – he probably doesn’t even notice them.
Despite the extreme economic climate and the huge shift in how we consume media for many people the huge Social Media Penny has still not dropped … one of these days!
Why do we find it so hard to adapt?
At Fuzion we offer social media consultancy to clients even those where the penny takes a while to drop!