Articles

Creating Wriggle Room.

I love the term ‘wriggle room’ and the images it conjures up. Some space and the necessary lubrication to ensure you don’t become constricted, snagged or worse still trapped in a potentially lethal situation. Without wriggle room you can feel claustrophobic, constrained or imprisoned. With it you have a feeling of maneuverability, untapped potential and the freedom to explore options.

Retail businesses need wriggle room.

Wriggle room means you are more in control of your own destiny. But wriggle room is not automatic and past or present success does not guarantee wriggle room. Creating wriggle room requires continual discipline, tenacity, creativity and energy because it evaporates without ongoing nurture.

Wriggle room relies on competitive leverage and in a world where cheapest price has been made transparent and distribution global (thanks to information technology, simple consumer apps and e-commerce) that leverage is inevitably boiling down to a select group of key themes. And all of them rely on consumer recognition and motivation.

In retail the real repeat purchase device is the product or service. The motivators for consumer behavior that create competitive leverage are quality, new ideas, exclusivity and convenience or ease. If you can’t honestly say that consumers recognize that you deliver any of these attributes and you are currently surviving on discounting and aggressive pricing strategies you have no wriggle room. With the current state of competitive activity in most categories of retail, no wriggle room means your petrol tank is empty and you are only surviving on few remaining fumes.

Increasingly in every category of retail the price leadership attribute is being fiercely contested and will result inevitably in one winner. That winner will be on a global basis – unless government’s reinstate protectionist policies that will be a long time coming. Technology is making it easier and easier for consumers to find and buy the cheapest price and with brands being so negligent in their distribution strategies, ninety nine percent of retailers will not win the price war.

Wriggle room. You need to create it and create it fast. How can you get consumers to recognize you for quality, new ideas, exclusivity, convenience or all of the above in a way that you can monetize it?

That is the question that you should be wrestling with, the issue that should be keeping you up at night. When you find the answer that is right for your business you are on the way to creating wriggle room. Without it you are on your way to the retail morgue.

With wriggle room you can enjoy – what we used to call in the olden days – ‘rude’ good health. I like the sound of that!