Successful retailers are not cheap; however they run lean and mean every day, as part of their normal routine.  If they don’t, they’re looking at a tough road ahead.


Lean is thinking about the best way to spend money, not the least expensive.


When you’re cheap, you’re always looking for the lowest price.  Lean retailers are looking for the best price that also affords them the best value.  They are firm in their commitment to quality while sensitive about overpaying.  They will pay more for a product that adds extra value, provides something additional to their offerings, or provides the customer with an experience not found in other similar stores.  Being lean means targeting spending to those areas that will create the best experience for your customer and still provide you with the greatest return.  It includes hiring (and paying for) the right people, partnering with the right vendors, and making purchases that satisfy your customers, not you. 


Lean is thinking about the best way to spend time, not just the quickest way to do things.


Lean is not about doing things as fast as possible, but about doing things correctly in as little time as it takes.  Lean retailers look for ways to check out their customer more efficiently while still maintaining a great customer

experience.  They will never do things faster if doing so reduces quality or customer satisfaction.  Customers value the input of a good salesperson and want a more personal experience.   

Lean is thinking of the best resources to apply to marketing and not just gambling.


When you’re cheap, you’re reluctant to spend money at all, particularly on marketing.  Marketing IS important.  Lean retailers do invest in marketing, but the investment is targeted, focused and backed by research in an effort to prove that the dollars invested will produce the greatest return and provide value to their store.  Lean retailers spend their marketing dollars carefully and analyze the results.  But they do spend.


Lean retailers invest in good technology that will provide results.


A cheap retailer tends to ignore technology, or buy second-hand hardware to cut corners.  Others spend freely on technology, but those dollars go to gadgets and fads.  Lean retailers choose their technology investment (whether it’s a computer, a cash register or a scanner, for example) with a specific return on investment in mind.  They invest in tools that will assist them in doing things better and more efficiently.  They understand the need to invest in quality products and good support. 


Much of this article gleaned from Shopkeep

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