The aim of any retailer is to maximise their profits by obtaining the maximum gross profit in relation to the maximum stock turn. Pricing a product and putting it on the shelf to gather dust is the role of a ï¿½caretakerï¿½ not a retailer. The role of a retailer is to create some urgency in the consumerï¿½s mind and encourage them to buy now. Too many retailers believe that the only incentive to convert a shopper into a customer is to reduce the price. The result of this thinking process is that the gross profit goes down. The shopper may be converted into a customer, but that is rarely changed into an advocate. This quick fix approach is often hidden with many dangers. Think about the challenges you face as a retailer if you reduce the price. Just to stand still as a business you will need to increase the stock turn by the following amounts. These are high numbers, just to stand still, never mind increasing your profit! Iï¿½m not against price seductions as a draw card. I do believe they have a role in todayï¿½s retail environment. My challenge is there are other ways to create urgency in the customerï¿½s mind. Understand Your Customer Every retailer needs to understand their customers and what motivates the customer to purchase. That motivation often changes with generations and status. What stimulates a Generation Y customer to purchase may be completely different to what encourages a Baby Boomer to buy. The Generation Y consumer is more interested in being at the forefront of fashion and new ideas than a Baby Boomer who may resist buying the latest ï¿½fadï¿½ until it has proved itself in the marketplace. One of my clients is Sunkist Garden Pavilion Garden Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is a family business situated in the suburbs. Within a 5 kilometre radius there are other businesses that do what they do. Hence they have competition from ï¿½box storesï¿½ and independent retailers. Luckily for Johan Kok and his daughter Monicque they are located in a marketplace where the other retailers are followers rather than leaders and this has enabled the Kok family to take the initiative in the marketplace. One of their keys to success is that they understand that a range of ï¿½urgencyï¿½ messages can grow their business. Urgency Messages The book and CD retail sectors have realised for some time that a best seller strategy is an ideal way of growing sales. Everyone wants to feel part of their community and read the best seller or listen to the best selling music. This strategy works in other industries as well. In fact, the only industry where I feel it does not work is in ladies fashion. There was a major ï¿½socialï¿½ mistake at ï¿½The White Houseï¿½ recently when the First Lady, Laura Bush wore the exact same red dress as a guest. The red dress is a symbol of supporting womenï¿½s heart disease, but to wear the same red dress from the same designer was not good P.R. Apart from that retail sector a best seller strategy is a winning strategy. Consider also the food industry. According to new research coming out of the UK 85% of British shoppers would buy more locally sourced foods if those products were clearly marked as such in the food outlet. Retail is about detail; those little messages on the signs can make a difference to the bottom line. But, back to Sunkist The concept developed at Sunkist Garden Pavilion can work for any retailer in any country. The ideas are easy to apply Brand new stock – Every consumer wants to purchase something thatï¿½s new; especially younger fashion conscious customers. Whether itï¿½s a dress, garden container, plant or furniture you cannot assume anything, you may know its Brand New, but the consumer needs to be told the obvious. Latest Flower Accessories – An excellent way of growing the average sale is to promote the accessory rather than the core product. Put both products together and promote as a package, but highlight the accessory as the must have component. The customer will purchase the core product come what may. Itï¿½s New and Itï¿½s Excellent – Many retailers promote the fact that a product is new, but some customers may be sceptical of the fact that it is new. Reinforce the message with an ï¿½Itï¿½s new and itï¿½s excellentï¿½ stand behind the product and watch sales increase. Best Choice and Itï¿½s Perfect – The consumer looks on the retailer as the expert and therefore you should be promoting best choice products, but reinforce this with Pot Perfect Planted. Not only are you promoting one product, but you are sowing the seed to encourage the customer to buy an add-on product. Other ï¿½Urgencyï¿½ words that can be used to sell products include words such as: At Last, Check Out These, Finally, Itï¿½s here, Switch toï¿½, The Smart Choice, Hurry, Exclusive, Attention, For the First Time, In a class by itself, State of the Art, Take a look at these, Just Arrived. The key to success is not to overdo the price signage offers. It is getting a balance between price and promotions and added value promotions. Walk around your store and ask yourself are your signs growing sales and profits or just increasing your conversion factor.