Retail Consultant – Who Needs One?

Let me start this article by saying that I am, and I am proud to be, a retail consultant. Retail consultants kind of get a bad wrap in a lot of conversations and understandably so. Many of those in the business hang their shingles with minimal amounts of experience and therefore its easy to see how the stereotype develops. The president of a company that I consult with on a regular basis said it like this: “They call me, imply that they know more about my business than I do and then start throwing grandiose promises of additional sales and margin improvement.”

Okay, first things first. If any consultant implies that he knows more about your business than you do, by all means, kick him to the curb. If she promises that she can deliver instant sales and margin improvement, think twice about using her. But in this day and age of ultra-competitive business arenas it does make sense to hire an outside perspective occasionally.

When considering a consultant check their experience. Does their area of expertise dovetail with your current or proposed business interests? For example, my background is in the variety, hardware and home center businesses, I would probably not be the proper choice to pick for a jewelry store consult. Of course, many aspects of retail and customer service remain constant from business to business but its just common sense to hire someone who’s “been there”.

A good consultant can help you look at old things in new ways. The changes that occur from my interactions with retailers are usually small things. But that’s the point. Small things, when blended into the bigger picture, make huge differences. Chances are, if you’re currently a successful retailer, you are doing the big things okay…you have to be or you wouldn’t be profitable. You probably wouldn’t still be in business. But imagine taking your retail operation to a new and higher level and it should get your juices flowing to consider at least having conversations with someone who could help.

Retail consultant, who needs one? Well even the best stores can benefit, who knows, maybe even one as good as yours.

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