Commentary by Tom Columbia
Scissors Industry Growth Creates a Tipping Point
Is the scissors business experiencing pointless turmoil as it diligently attempts to project a professional image and improve the quality of services? Why would consumers be willing to pay a premium price for similar products or services?
Perceived value is not measured in the actual cost of any product or service, in fact the perceived value has an extraordinary impact in the pricing. The concern on what a product cost to manufacture verses the suggested retail price becomes dismantled when the buyer or the seller does not value the products intended purpose. Allowing consumers to purchase at a much lower price randomly and not when it is at an advertised promotion can slowly destroy the market forever. Yet, selling at the suggested price is being unjustifiably deemed as gouging, overcharging, or swindling.
Many retailers sell at well below the suggested price with the belief that more sales at any price will satisfy the consumer. When in actuality it diminishes both the perceived value of the product and the credibility of the retailer for not defending the products true value.
Customers that continually seek out discounts are generally the least satisfied of all consumers, as they believe they could have gotten even a lower price. History of consumer purchasing confirms that being able to dictate pricing from a specific retailer establishes an image that is nearly impossible to erase.
With that stigma goes lower profitability that stagnates business growth, inevitably leading to more panic selling. Under pricing and overpricing are equally disruptive and confusing to the consumer, nonetheless underpricing is considered by many as “moving more product” and becomes an untouchable subject.
A retailer that believes in their product or service can easily and confidently justify its value and the price. However, not all scissors are of equal quality and the negativity surrounding the poor performing product seems to outweigh the comments of the more successful ones.
If you are selling scissors that have a poor performance record, chances are you are presenting them from a pricing perspective as it is not easy to project purpose or value when you do not 100% believe in the quality of your inventory . No matter what the final price the consumer expects a perfect product, follow up service will cost the retailer the same whether it was a profitable sale or not.
Superior product maintains a higher perceived value because the suggested price does not diminish over time or vary outside of sanctioned promotions. Representing a superior product requires an investment for inventory, guarantees of quality, service follow up to confirm long term relationships, and is generally more difficult for the dealer to obtain as it will generally have protected territories. You must be able to support your product in a way that continues consumers satisfaction in order to maintain your retailer status.
Scissor manufacturers that do not have specific standards or requirements for long term consumer satisfaction seek retailers with similar ideals
There have been manufacturers that have taken advantage of the scissors business by overpricing, misrepresenting quality, yet with good story telling have acquired a huge market share at the expense of the independent scissors dealer. Instead of blaming them for how they have disrupted the industry and caused chaos, lets realize why everyone was caught short sighted.
Businesspeople from the outside easily capitalized on our obvious weaknesses by listening to the stylist and barbers’ specific needs and proceeded to fulfill them
What the stylist valued was education, knowledge, and confidence to become better at their profession.
Offered financing with payments that were affordable or at discount if they purchased the scissors outright.
Scissors service options were offered where they paid an ongoing monthly subscription fee.
Bundled multiple scissors at special pricing.
A large retail selection to choose from at a variety of prices.
These benefits satisfy specific needs of the consumer and should be applauded by anyone that is in the scissors business. Companies that support their customer base this way will achieve more long-term business relationships and success.
Imagine if this company actually had quality scissors that were priced to match their performance, had reliable service support, and a knowledgeable person like yourself at the helm. This is where your efforts should be focused, adjusting your business model to be competitive. Work with scissors distributors that offer business building opportunities, quality product, and education. Some companies have failed because they omitted quality scissors and reliable service support it has created an opportunity for you to capitalize on their mistakes to progress your own business model.
It is important to realize that there will be other opportunistic outside businesspeople that will take notice of the huge profits in the scissors market. They will be astute enough to make the necessary adjustments and investments to capture a vulnerable, confused, and weakened scissors industry.
Meanwhile, the most powerful entity existing within the scissors industry, the independent dealer and the sharpener, squabble and argue over incidentals, egos, and personalities. It is time to move forward and strengthen the inside alliances because it makes our industry look weak and available for the taking.
Good business practice, marketing, and profitability are the outward signs of success and should be applauded by everyone. For every hour of productive work there is three hours of preparation that the consumer might not be sensitive to unless they are made aware. Making your individual knowledge, dedication, and skills visible with everything that the customer can see and hear is what gives your product and service value.