How the "Ripple Effect" impacts Every Retail Business
You undoubtedly already know that word-of-mouth marketing (essentially "free advertising" from satisfied customers) can be very effective for most retail businesses. If one of your satisfied customer brings in another, and if you can keep them both happy, they will subsequently bring in more customers, and gradually your business is likely to grow.
That's the essence of the "ripple effect". When properly applied to development of customer relationships, the "ripple effect" can give a business amazing leverage.
The "ripple effect" is a major factor in the growth - or death - of almost any retail business. And since most people usually go shopping with friends and family, the "ripple effect" works!
Because of the nature of the "ripple effect" it is vitally important to your business that you understand FOUR IMPORTANT FACTS about "disabled Americans":
• FACT 1: More than 23% of the U.S. population have a disability that is "severe enough to impair their mobility"
( ... that's more than one out of five Americans!)
• FACT 2: Senior Citizens control more than 77% of America's wealth ... and over 53% of Senior Citizens have one or more "disabilities", according to current U.S. Census Bureau statistics.
• FACT 3: The collective income of "disabled Americans" is now more than a TRILLION DOLLARS a year. And since a significant part of the total income of both the "disabled" population and the "senior" population usually comes from one entitlement program or another, most seniors and people with disabilities don't have to worry much about fluctuations in the economy.
• FACT 4: Disabled Americans have more than $220 BILLION in disposable annual income ... that's money we have to spend after we have paid all of our bills. This "disposable" amount is also sometimes referred to as "consumer spending power" ... and yes, we do spend it, with barrier-free businesses that can accommodate our needs!
So now that you know these facts, what is their immediate effect on your business?
These facts mean that you may (or may NOT) be getting a significant amount of business from two of America's major demographic groups, because disabled Americans and seniors have money to spend. However, if those seniors (or people with disabilities) who live in – or who should happen to visit – your neighborhood don't already know ...
(a) that your business is barrier-free; and also
(b) that you value their business; and also
(c) that your business can accommodate their needs ...
You've just LOST TWENTY-THREE PERCENT (or more) of what could have been your potential customer base, and along with that, a substantial amount of potential sales – and profits.
Most of those people won't be coming to your store ... ever!
As far as most people with disabilities are concerned, if you have a store (or any retail business) that can't accommodate their needs, then your store is USELESS to them. And in their minds, your store might as well not even exist! But the long-term adverse effects on your business can increase exponentially.
The long-term adverse "ripple effect" on your profitability:
Over time, the adverse financial and social consequences of failure to at least attempt to serve these population groups is likely to have a SUBSTANTIAL NEGATIVE IMPACT on your bottom line. And that negative impact can go much further than 23%, when you consider the "ripple effect."
Since the Fixed Costs (rent, utilities, etc.) of running any retail business are a significant part of its total operating budget, a 23% increase in gross sales will tend to generate substantially more than a 23% increase in bottom-line profits.
However, the "ripple effect" works both ways. And a 23% DECREASE in sales is always likely to generate significantly more than a 23% DECREASE in bottom-line profits.
And while good news travels fast, BAD news travels even faster.
And right now, you may be losing much more business than you realize.
Is potential business slipping through your fingers every day because people just don't know that your store is barrier-free and can accomodate their needs?
Now let's look at an example of the "ripple effect" that isn't always so obvious.