How much is convenience worth

A friend of mine used to work at a 7-11 that was directly across the street from a major grocery store. He told me that people would come into the 7-11 and buy hundreds of dollars worth of groceries at a time. These customers could have gone across the street to buy the same thing for a lot less money, but they went to the convenience store instead.

You might understand this, but did you ever think about how you could use this part of human nature to grow your own business.

Why would you pay more money for the same thing that you could buy for less somewhere else? The main reason is that it saves you time. Your time is something that you can't buy back; and it is something that no one has enough of.

If you want to sell more, one way to do this is to make buying from you faster and easier than going somewhere else.

You can rent a store where customers go to buy things, and you will find new customers this way. You can set up a booth at a festival or special event where your customers are going to be, and new customers can buy from you there. But how can you get these same customers to come back to you later. How can you get repeat customers when they are somewhere else, and when it is not so easy for them.

There are a lot of ways; and we will talk about some of these in more detail in future articles. All of the ways to make yourself easy to buy from though have two things in common.

1. Customers need to know how to get what they want from you in the fastest and easiest way.

2. You need to actually deliver the products to your customers faster and easier than anyone else.

Basically, the way that you reach this first goal is to make sure that people remember you (and know how to buy from you) when they want some of your products. You do this by keeping in touch with your customers. You can keep in touch by mail; email; phone calls; visits; or going to the same places that your customers go (such as church, jobs, etc.). You can have a website so that people can find your information online when they want to. You can make sure that people all have your mobile phone number. There is more that you can do, but you have the idea.

One of the biggest things that stops people from reaching this second goal, is that they do not have everything on hand. When your customer wants something, they normally want it right now. You may not be able to keep everything in stock all the time; but you should always have your most popular products on hand.

If you take the time to figure out how much you lose by not having things in stock, you will be amazed - at least if you are like the rest of us. Being out of stock for something that a customer wants to buy means that you lose the sale. All of the other work that you have done to build your business and to get your customers becomes worthless. If you avoid buying things that you are likely to need soon, you also pay more in shipping and in processing your incoming merchandise. You could make a single larger order instead of many small ones, and make your life easier in several ways.

When you don't buy more inventory than you need for just your immediate orders, you don't have what your customers want when they want it. You feel like you are saving money, because you don't buy as much. Really you are losing everything by not focusing on the bigger issues.

So figure out what your best selling and most regularly selling products are right now. The next time that you re-stock, order a few extra of these products. You know that you will be selling these soon; and you give your customers much better service.

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