what walmart can teach youYou’ve probably heard me say that you never want your business in direct competition with Walmart.

If it’s about lowest prices, then you as a small business owner are going to get beaten by small markups and buying power you can’t touch.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them or other retailers.

I pick up ideas and tips everywhere.  Every buying experience is a learning experience. for me.  Because the best ideas you have will often come from outside your industry.

Watch how the big retailers take advantage of this Christmas buying season.

The National Retail Federation has said it expects 2010 holiday retail sales, which exclude online sales, to rise by 2.3 percent this year to $447.1 billion, compared with a rise of 0.4 percent last year.

Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving in the US) isn’t just a sale anymore.  It’s an event. 

Specials are given for a very limited time (often just the morning).  Scarce deals are provided for a limited number of people when the doors open.  Walmart is even offering price matching on everyone else’s deals for Friday.

This season is make it or break it time for many retailers…and they throw out all the stops.

When’s the last time you had a big event in your business…with scarcity…with an incredible deal…and turned it into an event?

Everyone likes it when you have consistent sales day after day.  A perfect project to me is a frontend item you can keep selling and building customer list profitably from paid advertising (and free methods as well).  But with almost every client I have, we create cashflow surges by running special promotions and “events.”

What’s an event?  It could be a product launch.  It could be a webinar.  It could even be a telesummit (a series of teleseminar calls with different experts although these are often used more for list building than anything else).

Or it could simply be a special you hold on your products.  For example do you have any returns come back into your office?  If so, that gives you the perfect opportunity for a scratch-and-dent sale.  Discount the returned products, let people know why you’re doing it (you have 9 copies that were returned available for this price), and run the special to your email list.  Don’t be surprised if you sell out before lunch.

This year all the retailers wanted to get a jump on each other before the Black Friday rush, and they’ve been running specials online leading up to it.  So it’s not just a one day event…That’s the “launch” day but there have been other items and specials for the past week or two online. 

If you want to see “scarcity” or limited deals, watch how Amazon deals with this week.  They run specials on movies and other items that only last for a few hours…or until they sell out.  They know how to use “real” scarcity (as opposed to the fake scarcity you see in the internet marketing world sometimes where the deal just keeps going).

Walmart is offering free shipping through Christmas.  In the investor world people see this as direct competition with Amazon for their website (since a lot of people see Amazon as an online Walmart).

Free shipping by the way is a great promotional tool during specials for almost any product you can ship out.  If you would normally charge $10 shipping, you will usually see a better result from offering free shipping during a special instead of discounting by $10.  Plus it gives you the power to use the magic word, “Free” for an element of the offer.

I know a lot of people like to make fun of the “big dumb” companies, but they do know what they’re doing when it comes to specials and discounting.   They know how to get peole into their stores and buying.  And they also know how to get you to BUY MORE than you expected to when you walked through the door.

Last year I was out Friday morning because I wanted to see all the hoopla at least once.  It was fun watching the shoppers and I’m thinking of doing it again this year.

But you don’t have to be out in the crazy morning to see how they take advantage of the season.  Simply open your eyes and watch the the papers.  Look at how they market online.  When you’re in the shops, pay attention to all the ads and sales pitches you see going on. 

Look for ideas you can implement.  And at the same time have fun. 

And if you’re looking for more ideas to easily implement to grow your online business, check out the Monthly Mentor Club.

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Terry Dean
Terry Dean

Terry Dean has been in full-time internet business since 1996 and has helped thousands of entrepreneurs get started online through his articles and products. He lives in Ocala, Florida with his wife and 2 dogs. Find out more about how his step-by-step courses can help you today.