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Changing habits: Dr Cor Molenaar (L) with Jacob Konter of Dutch gun shop Jachthuis Leimuiden.

caps for your shotgun, that doesn’t really need service adding value to your purchase or specialist advice – like mounting and zeroing in a rifl escope – chances are that you will choose the convenience of a web shop.” Price is another issue. He continued: “Products without

“When a customer walks

into your store, they are clearly interested in buying one or more items. If that same customer, after having asked for and acquired information on those items, leaves the shop without having made a purchase – to go and buy somewhere else, maybe even the

been making use of a computer in his shop to do just that. He explained: “Don’t be afraid

that staff will be surfi ng the internet during work time; having a computer at hand on the shop fl oor is really an advantage. “T e ability to go online with your customers creates a dialogue.

customers. Asking them what they want to do and handing them the best solutions for those needs.

It’s important to have a dialogue with your

added value are easily compared online. T e cheapest shop will then make the sale. T at’s not really a position you want to be in. “Being the cheapest on products

kills your profi t margins while another retailer might always undercut your already dirt-cheap prices.”

High street disappearance “Shops are disappearing because they can’t keep up with current market changes,” he said. “Internet and web retailers have negatively impacted the turnover and profi t margin of high street shops. “Traditional retailers stuck in

the past, who wait passively for customers to drop in and buy, are nowadays fi ghting a losing battle to survive.


internet – whose fault is this? T e internet, the customer or the salesman?”

Tackling the challenge “As we can be almost certain customers have looked up information on the internet before they enter shops, why not use the internet in shops as well? “When a customer turns up with

specifi c questions, ask this: ‘Have you already looked on the internet?’ Make sure you have a tablet or a computer available to surf the web together with your customer. T at way, you can actively talk

about the products, prices or conditions they have seen. T is approach empowers shop owners and salesman to sell and give advice again.” For two years now, Jacob has

T is is exactly what you want – asking customers about their needs and preferences… while tackling issues they may have found earlier on the net.”

Adding value According to Jacob, the gun and hunting business is an emotion- based one. He said: “Customers want

to share their experiences and emotions about past and future hunting events. T ey also want the best gear to go with it. T at’s why it’s important to have a dialogue with your customers. Asking them what they want to do and handing them the best possible advice and solutions for those needs.” Dr Molenaar added: “T at’s

actually what selling is all about, with or without the internet.

“Selling products is all about

listening fi rst, uncovering needs and off ering solutions for those needs. T e internet off ers products but retailers off er solutions, service and added value.” In other words, don’t just be a

run-of-the-mill gun shop but have a clearly visible concept for your store. Jacob, for example, off ers hunting

trips as well, alongside guns, clothing and accessories. T is way, it’s easier to add value and sell more.

Survival task Dr Molenaar is dead certain brick-and-mortar retailers who adapt to the current changes in the marketplace can and will thrive, while others will go extinct. You just have to adapt. “To survive as an independent

shop, you have to be more entrepreneurial, actively engage your customers, host events and send newsletters. In short, you have to attract and entertain them, making sure that they keep visiting your shop!” How to attract and entertain

customers is exactly what we are going to discuss in this Do Better Business series. Dr Molenaar has published

numerous books on the subject, including ‘Shopping 3.0’. His most recent work ‘T e End Of Shops?’ will be available in April. More details are available at GTW

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