The gift of a close shave leads to growth

The gift of a close shave leads to growth

Most growth comes from new shoppers trying (‘trialling’ in marketing speak) new products or services, or indeed new stores. If they like the product, price and experience, they’ll buy again and your new baseline lifts a little: one shopper at a time.

Many years ago, the CEO who turned around Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) referred to it as “the moment of truth” when any one of his several thousand front line associates interacted with a passenger. He was one of the very first CEOs in the airline industry to begin to think of every single shopper or customer as an individual, and to treat them as one. Link all the dots and they stay, and tell their friends about what a great experience they had with SAS, leading to trial by new customers.

Every “calendar event” in our year is an opportunity for brand owners and store owners to allow us to trial something new. That’s because we’re more open to change at Christmas, Eid, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year or Diwali, or because new products have been bought for us as gifts by others, so we have to trial them. It’s rude not to and we don’t want to upset the gift-giver.

Over Christmas I was bought a very mundane gift. Being a dad with 20-something offspring, any gift is a pleasant surprise. Well, one of the gifts was a shaving razor. An own-brand shaving razor. From a discount retailer.

Now I’ve been shaving with Gillette products for a long time. There used to be some choice, but it kind of went away. Prices rose and now I invest more in my daily shave than I do in coffee. Not quite, but it’s a lot. In fact, at store level the disposable razor blade heads have to be security tagged or kept behind glass as they are shoplifted so frequently.

So, due to a gift, I have been trialling a new product, every day for almost two months. And it’s very, very good. I assumed it wouldn’t be, which is what most of us think about a cheaper price point, retail own-brand product – until we try it. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it isn’t.

This is better than good. It’s also significantly cheaper than my traditional brand. I went back to an ALDI store and looked at the product. It was about half the price, and the disposable heads aren’t under lock and key, so I guess shoppers are happy to pay for them rather than steal them.

The point of this blog is not around the price of a shave. It’s not even about the growth of retail own brand. It’s about the opportunity for growth from gifting.

Kevin Moore is a retail expert and the chairman of Crossmark Asia-Pacific Holdings.



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