How to Sell to Retail: Section 1: LOOK BIG, Part 2, Presence #selltoretail

In my recent blog – How to Sell to Retail – Overview of Section 1 – LOOK BIG I gave a brief introduction to the 3-part plan to “looking big”. Having covered part 1, Identity, in my blog last week, this week I’m going to dig a little deeper into part 2, and talk about the importance of your business PRESENCE.

Why you business presence is key (both in the real and virtual worlds!)

Continuing a theme of this section on “look big” – First impressions count! This follows on from your identity and now we need to consider the impact of your business presence in both the real and virtual worlds, exploring:

  • What kind of business location you should have
  • How to ensure you never mess up an important call
  • How to be sure that you have congruent brand identity and narrative online and that you’re taking advantage of the different options available to you to increase your online presence.

Why does a swanky office address or smart call handling service matter?

The fact is we ALL just people on first impressions and we do the same with businesses, if a retail buyer thinks you are a home-based business or lacking in professionalism when it comes to things like call handling then they will have concerns over your professionalism and scalability when it comes to dealing with their custom. It doesn’t cost much to use a virtual or serviced office or a call handling service but if it can make the difference between success and failure then it’s a very sensible investment!

How your website looks and performs is critical too – it needs to be clear, usable, readable and compatible with all browsers as well as mobile devices. Most importantly though it needs to be findable…

Why you needs to be findable in the virtual world…

How being easily you are found online can add to your credibility in the eyes of a retail buyer. When buyers are used to working with bigger brands who are easy to find in search they may give up if they can’t find you. You also need a credible online presence that appropriately represents your brand. So you need to consider:

  • Protecting your brand name online through securing domains and social media accounts
  • How your website performs compared to your competition
  • Your “Findability”; making sure that when a retail buyer goes looking for you they find the content you’d want them to see.

When you focus on your presence it doesn’t matter how a retail buyer comes across your brand, in the physical or online worlds, they’ll get a great first impression that gives them certainty that you’re the kind of professional business they’d be confident to do business with.

Moments of Truth – what you need to remember to give the best possible first impression

“Moments of truth” are those experiences we have with a brand or business that leave us with a lasting impression – no matter how hard a business tried to express it’s identity or deliver impact through it’s presence, the last interaction someone has with a brand is often the one that remains most vivid in their memory.

Below are a list of the key areas to be mindful of when developing your business presence to make sure all of those moments of truth deliver the impression you’d want people to have of your business:

  • Business Name – does it sounds credible?
  • Business Address – are you based somewhere professional?
  • Business Phone – are you using suitable numbers and are calls received professionally?
  • Marketing materials – are they quality and are they on-brand and on-message?
  • Domain names – do these represent your brand / business name?
  • Email addresses – are they connected to your domain?
  • Business Website – does this look and perform the way you’d want it to?
  • Search marketing – can anyone find you online?
  • Business use of Social media – are you sharing the right kind of messages and content?

Use this list and the association questions to analyse how you perform to make sure you are presenting a great first impression and have a clear list of actions to put in place in order to ensure that you look big.

In my next blog we’ll consider the 3rd part of the section on “Look big” – your people, specifically exploring the impression that THEY can give of your business. We’ll also explore some aspects of social media in more detail – namely the importance of the online personal profiles for key individuals in your business.

Thanks for reading this post, and, if you’d like to learn more around the topic you can sign up for 52 FREE weekly tips on selling to retailers via or you can pre-order my book, “How to Sell to Retail: Secrets of Getting your Product to Market” via which will be published and available from 3rd February 2013.


About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
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