Let’s Talk - Joe Paone
Have you seen that Wal-Mart commercial yet? The one that plays up every cliche about snooty specialty electronics retailers imaginable?
I’ll bet much of the public has. Heck, I normally hide from programs that would even contemplate Wal-Mart as a sponsor, and I saw it, so I’m assuming it’s burrowed its way into the national consciousness.
Anyway, it’s safe to say that most of the people who have seen this ad have never set foot in one of your stores or showrooms. And it’s easy to reinforce stereotypes when a viewer has no real-world point of reference.
This is what C-businesses are up against. Wal-Mart is telling TV viewers that you feel you’re too good to deal with them as individuals. And while I agree that the great majority of Wal-Mart shoppers aren’t really your customers, a lot of them could be, or should be. I’m specifically talking about the suburban couples with the kids and the SUVs and the nice houses.
Lots of these people do shop at Wal-Mart because it’s convenient for them, and even if they disappoint Wal-Mart’s ad agency and don’t purchase their A/V gear there, they might head to Costco or Best Buy or Target to do so. Believe me, visits to these stores are normal weekend events for lots of people who could spend a lot more on things. And Wal-Mart just gave them another friendly reminder that they don’t need to seek you out.
How do you fight back? Well, you’re not going to do it with TV ads, that’s for sure, unless you just won bids on the megahomes of every trashy celebrity with an AmEx black card on the planet. So you’ll have to be more creative.
Beginning on page 70, we profile three C-tailers that have taken their custom and specialty electronics locations and turned them into places that are notable, that are worth seeking out. They’re hoping to create buzz and referrals and, ultimately, even more booming businesses than they had before.