5-Step Action Plan to Grab More Customers in the Recession - What You Can Learn From Wal-Mart's Electronics Move

This week Wal-mart is rolling out an expanded electronics selection in 3500 stores across the U.S. Wal-Mart has never been given much respect as an electronics retailer. Until recently, they only carried 2nd and 3rd tier brands. They've been improving their selection--offering products from manufacurers such as Apple, Dell and Samsung. And this week, they're kicking it up a notch. The new electronics section will include Sony TV's, blue-ray DVD players and the new Dell Studio One 19 (when it's released later this quarter).

The strategy is aimed directly at sucking up the customers that Circuit City's demise is leaving on the table. Until now, most analysts saw Best Buy as the big winner following Circuit City's backruptcy. But Wal-Mart shows us a great recession strategy.

In every industry, established players are dissapearing. When they do they leave big opening for the players who are left standing. Despite all of the challenges we face in business, right now, this is THE best time to start leaping to the next level.

So here's the five step action plan that you can use to capture market openings like this:

  1. Identify your 5 weakest competitors (hint: make a list)
  2. For each of the five, write three parts of their business that you WANT to capture and can capture. Wal-mart's answer: TV's, Video Games, Cell Phones (Computers and DVD's...more than three is OK). If it's not business you want, don't waste time thinking about it.
  3. Choose the first step you will take to position yourself to capitalize on your competitor's weakness for each of the areas of business.
  4. Prioritize the list of competitors and types of business based on which area will be most profitable for you to expand into.
  5. Take action on the first steps you identified. Do this on the top three competitors' businesses. That's at least nine areas of business (3 competitors x 3 of their business you want). Execute all nine first steps simultaneously.

You need to execute all nine at the same time because you don't know where any of them are going. You may find that a few steps in, your number one item is unachievable. That's OK. You've got eight more. But if you start at #1 and do them one after the other, you'll be lucky to make it through #3.

What approaches have helped you succeed in tough economic times? Share your ideas below.