Waiting for the Penny to drop

Changing trends?

Changing trends?

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?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

At Fuzion we offer social media consultancy to clients even those where the penny takes a while to drop!

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10 Responses to “Waiting for the Penny to drop”

  1. irishdevdotcom Says:

    Ah come on Greg. If the age of the business man in your image is anything to go by, it’s not totally surprising that his company is ‘only just’ getting to social media.

    Perhaps, if you haven’t already, your company should look at this particular business person as an indicator. There’re thousands of mature retailers (potential customers) out there without Social Media presence

    Of course, to get to them, means you’ll have to do some of the things they’re doing. Like picking up the phone or calling in off the streets …. but after all, getting business isn’t all about Social Media now, is it!

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Hi Barry,

      I know the stores and they have very young & trendy brands – he acknowledges that he has younger customers and that Social Media is the way to access them. He has young staff.

      Of course it is not the only way but it is a whole free (other than the resources he dedicates to maintaining it) channel that he is ignoring. He needs to be working all of the channels, which is what we advise with our clients, where appropriate.

      With our clients I see their eyes fog over when we bring up “social media” – to the extent that often I leave it to the end of our recommended activity – not because it is not important but because you want them to keep listening – I call it the Business Social Media Dilemma!

      Have a peep at the blog and you will see that we do a lot more than Social Media.

      Thanks for the post.

  2. timothy Says:

    Technophobia is an issue. My own father, almost eighty now, had a mobile phone and a lap top many years before I got mine.

    In the case of my brother, cork city restauranteur, techno phobe and GAA fanatic, the business was only contactable by telephone until very recently.

    The recession and tripadvisor changed that. Now he has a website – no facebook page yet- and consistently scores in the top five restaurants in town on tripadvisor.

    This then allows connectivity through a host of other web media who simply mine the data from the two sites. It certainly has paid off.

  3. weddingphotographerkerry Says:

    I agree Greg. I am in Tralee and the number of businesses here who do not have websites or use social media is frightening. I am not sure why that is but I think it may be the fact that because they have a shop window in the town, this should be enough to get customers in the door which of course is not the case anymore. I would love to see each town in Ireland given a social and web media expert who could take the businesses by the hand and re-educate the owners in how business is generated in the world we live in today.

  4. Gianni Ponzi (@gianniponzi) Says:

    It might be down to the advice and maybe even cost of setting up the fan page.

    Or even more simply, they are waiting for an the nephew of the brother of the sister of one of the employees to do it for them, when he gets a chance.

    The fact that he believes that it’s only younger customers using Facebook, seems to point to a general lack of information / advice.

    Send them an email 🙂

    • Greg Canty Says:

      I agree totally with you – often people have a mental block about things they don’t fully understand and as a result it ends up being put on the long finger!

  5. neilobNeil Says:


    From my experience shops in rural and provincal towns often have an attitude of ‘not wanting to frighten the customer away’ and are slow to even ask for any details so they can contact them.

    Along with that other great reliable ‘ah sure my business is different so I don’t need (insert here) facebook, a website ….

    On survival of the fittest I often share this short story with clients.

    Two men are being chased by a bear in the woods.

    One of them stops to change into a pair of runners. The second man stops and looking down at the first man says ‘why are you changing into runners. You will never outrun that bear’.

    The first says ‘I know I won’t out run that bear but……I might outrun you.’

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