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Increasing market share

This is the best way to grow a business. Do this in three main ways:
  • Increase the number of customers
  • Increase the frequency of purchase
  • Increase the average spend
Increasing market share means demand will grow, in fact, it might even boom, even if only in bursts. Make sure your internal systems, processes and customer support infrastructure can cope with the increased demand. A sudden increase in business can bring down a company as easily as no sales can. Be sure to add extra staff and be able to increase the product/s or service to cope with demand. Again, market research is invaluable in forecasting what will be needed.

Increase the number of customers
This may not be the easiest of the three choices but it can be done. Enticing more customers to try your product may not be all that difficult, but to keep their custom and not have them revert to their original supplier means you need to offer more than a quick buy one get one free sale.

Points to consider:
  • Profile existing customers. Are there any other groups with similar characteristics not targeted yet?.
  • Know who the competitors are. Understand the strengths and weaknesses in their marketing.
  • Compare other businesses to yours and consider what advantages your product has to attract their customers.
  • Brainstorm a little and jot down all the aspects of the product use. From this, a new angle might become apparent. Speak with other staff and see if customers have mentioned something different they particularly like about the product/service offered by your company.
  • Communicate your message to these potential new customers. See what your most successful sales method is being used now, and examine why that may miss the new market. What messages and methods will best reach more people, and how frequent will that avenue need to be pursued to gain the customer increase?
Increase the frequency of purchase
Existing customers can be easier to sell to, but you'll still need to get the marketing right to get them coming in more often. One of the most used ploys by supermarkets is to have the bread and milk at opposite ends of the store, that way the chance a person will pick up an 'extra' along the way. The more times customers come in, the more they will buy.

Points to consider
  • Have any customers stopped buying your products/services altogether? What is needed to win them back?
  • Make it easy for people to do business with you e.g. easy purchase process, easy to understand price structure, different options for payment, information or knowledge available at point of sale (whether its face to face, via telephone, order form or a web page)
  • Communicate frequently, make sure it's personalised
  • Always promote the benefits of your business/product/service. Tell customers how they'll benefit from buying from you again
  • Offer the customers encouragement to buy, such as alliances or referrals with other organisations, or adopting new products and services.
Increase the average spend of each transaction
Once a customer has chosen to buy, you should consider suitable ways of increasing the value of the transaction. You should take care at this stage not to offend or seem too pushy. The emphasis should be on the benefit to the customer.

If you plan to increase customer spend, work out what percentage you want to increase revenue too. Then equate that back to the average number of weekly customers and the average spend per customer. If purchases need to increase by £2, then decide how to get almost every customer through the door to spend that extra amount. It could well be; any purchase this week gets one of these at only...type thing. But remember the £2 needed is the net amount after all other costs have been accounted for.

Here are some ways increased spending can be encouraged:
  • Offer volume discounts
  • Customers who spend £x can buy another product at a reduced price, and as an extra incentive put an expiry date on the offer.
  • Offer advice on additional products e.g. a customer has bought a torch, what about the batteries? A digital camera might need an additional memory card or a photo-printer or a carry case for it.
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