Did you know that for every $100 dollars spent locally $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures? If you spend that at a national chain only $43 remains local. Spend it online and nothing comes home. (Source: the350project.net)
Makes you think twice about doing all your holiday shopping online, doesn’t it?
I love this factoid. I use it all the time. I have the flyers from the 350 project printed and hand them out in our store. We often forget how important it is to shop local. It takes extra effort. We often have to stop at more than one store to pick up all the things we need. Yet, it’s so important.
But do we, the Custom Integrators, want every client to shop local?
The simple is… No.
This took me a long time to learn. I took it personally when my best friend’s father purchased his new flat panel from Walmart. I had been after him for years to upgrade. Every time I stopped to visit I would talk about how much floor space would be opened up by upgrading to a flat screen. Then one day, while she was visiting her parents, I stopped by — and low and behold there was a brand new flat panel. I was crushed.
Was it a personal attack on me? No. I’m sure that while he was buying his toilet paper he saw some great deal (for a limited time) on a new flat screen and just couldn’t pass it up. After I started thinking about it, I realized, he wasn’t my client. What could I have made off the TV? Not much. He was looking for a good deal and didn’t care about the specs. My new line has become, “If you want a TV, buy it from a big box store. If you want the RIGHT TV, buy it from me.” This doesn’t mean one will pay more, but it sets up the right process for the right experience.
This brings me back to Black Friday. I will admit that I am a Black Friday shopper, and my shopping that day happens at the malls and large retail outlets. I go out for the deals. (Although I don’t know if you actually save that much). What I really go out for is the event itself. I go out with a group of ladies, and we have been doing this for years. We start early and end late. I get most of my holiday shopping done that day. (Don’t worry — I fill in the rest of my shopping locally.)
People that run out to buy the cheapest TVs on Black Friday are not the type of clients you’ll typically want. These are not the people looking for the best quality or the “right TV for them.” They are the ones who are going to need a lot of attention and you’re not going to make much, if anything, off them. Let them go buy the no name TV from Walmart. When it breaks, it won’t be your problem. If you market yourself right, you can catch the install on the wall or above the fireplace. You can sell the one remote to control it all (which can’t be price-matched on Amazon!)
Black Friday is a day to move product, not a day to gain new clients. So let the big box stores give it all away. We can then sit back and watch them report a loss next quarter. Go forth and plant the right seeds for the right clients and watch your business bloom. Let the Big Box stores fight the Black Friday Battle… we can stand back and win the war.
Heather L. Sidorowicz is project manager/designer for Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.