Just like their larger counterparts, small business owners expect their channel partners (especially the manufacturers and suppliers with which they interact) to provide superior customer service. They do not want to be neglected or overlooked.
According to a February 2014 study by Cargo and Toluna (as reported by eMarketer): “Nearly half (47.3%) of small business owners (SBOs) said that poor customer service was the most common mistake brands made. Marketers must make an effort to relate to SBOs: Talking at SBOs (instead of with them), as well as failing to understand their businesses, were also big no-nos, cited by 44.7% and 40.7%, respectively.”
Click the chart to learn more.
According to Barbara Kahn, a Wharton professor, we are likely to consume more if we believe we are buying an “incomplete” product. Is this you? Read on.
In the Knowledge@Wharton video below, “Kahn talks about how a complete product encourages more consumption: A person is likely to eat two pieces of cheese with holes in them but only one if it is solid, for example. It’s a matter of perception, Kahn explains. She also discusses her research on the attention that consumers pay to large assortments of goods and how it influences their choices when information is presented visually or verbally. In addition, she describes a study on how consumers behave when goods are stacked vertically versus horizontally.”
In the United States, private brands account for less than 20 percent of all retail until sales. We love our branded products more than we want to save money. :-)
But in Western Europe, the story is much different. More than one-third of unit sales involve private brands.
As Nielsen reports:
“Price is one factor helping bolster private label growth in Europe. Notably, private label can be as much as 30 percent less expensive than brands across the Big 5 Countries. Across categories, private label has a price index of less than 60 percent in health, personal care, and home care, compared with 90 percent in perishable fresh foods, where the average prices are much closer to those of brands.”
“However the success of private label isn’t just about cost. Retailers in Europe have also created new demand, particularly by offering new premium private-label lines and by launching dine at home meal offerings with bistro or restaurant quality foods, a trend that is most evident in the U.K.”
Click the Nielsen chart to read more.
Do you get the snacking munchies? How often? When? What do you chow down?
According to recent research by Technomic:
“Snack consumption is on the rise, as half of today’s consumers (51 percent) say that they eat snacks at least twice a day, an increase from the 48 percent who said the same in 2012. And about a third of consumers (31 percent) told Technomic they’re snacking more frequently than they were just two years ago. Not only are consumers snacking more often, they’re broadening their definition of a ‘snack.’ These days, a wider range of foods—and beverages—are now viewed as snacks, and convenience stores and other retailers are sparking competition with restaurants in order to meet the growing demand.”
These are some of the other highlights from Technomic:
- “Consumers eat snacks both between meals and as meal replacements: Nearly half of consumers (49 percent) eat snacks between meals and 45 percent replace one or two daily meals with a snack.”
- “Forty-five percent of consumers who order snacks at restaurants order from the dollar or value menu.”
- “Fifty percent of consumers indicate that healthfulness is very important to them when choosing a snack.”
- “Portability is increasingly vital: 60 percent of today’s consumers, compared to 55 percent in 2012, cite portability as an important or extremely important factor when choosing a snack.”
Click the chart to read more.
For years now, we’ve been conditioned to buying a new cell phone every two years. Why? More features, longer battery life, cooler design, status, etc. And mobile companies have sure made it easy for us to do this. In return in for agreeing to a another two-year contract, we get a state-of-the-art shiny brand-new smartphone for a relatively low price. The service carriers subsidize the price of new phones by having us subscribe to contracts that promote high-margin services.
With the above in mind, let’s consider a rather radical idea espoused by Farhad Manjoo, writing for the New York Times. If Manjoo’s ideas are accepted, there will be a substantial impact on our smartphone purchase behavior — and on service providers’ bottom lines.
Here’s Manjoo’s perspective: “Despite their small size, smartphones are expensive, resource-hungry goods, and they deserve a better life cycle than two years of use followed by an eternity in a forgotten desk drawer.” So, “use your phone for more than two years, ideally three; when you run into trouble, try to repair, not replace it; and when you’re done with it, trade it in. When you’re looking for a new phone, don’t just consider the latest high-end devices; many people will find last year’s best phone just as useful as the newest one. You might even consider buying a used phone instead of a new one.”
Manjoo’s tips are to
- hold on to your smartphone for a longer time.
- sell or trade in your old phone to a company such as Gazelle (there is a growing aftermarket).
- buy a used phone (there are many great choices out there).
Click the Gazelle image to read more from Manjoo.
What are the two major goals of many companies? To grow sales and to grow profit. And while most companies say that being innovative is also a key goal, do they really mean it? The typical company tends to spend two percent or less of revenues on research and development. And the great majority of “new” products are usually simple line extensions or new models. At a large number of companies, innovation may not be dead — but it is certainly in a deep slumber.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at a terrific article called “Why Companies Stop Innovating” by Steve Blank for Inc. According to Blank:
“There’s been lots written about how companies need to be more innovative, but very little on what stops them from doing so. Companies looking to be innovative face a conundrum: Every policy and procedure that makes them efficient execution machines stifles innovation.”
“Facing continuous disruption from globalization, China, the Internet, the diminished power of brands, and the changing workforce, existing enterprises are establishing corporate innovation groups. These groups are adapting or adopting the practices of startups and accelerators — disruption and innovation rather than direct competition, customer development versus more product features, agility and speed versus lowest cost.”
“But paradoxically, in spite of their seemingly endless resources, innovation inside of an existing company is much harder than inside a startup. For most companies it feels like innovation can only happen by exception and heroic efforts, not by design. The question is: Why?”
Click below to see Blank’s detailed answers to this question.