How differentiating your business delivers 3 x revenue lift now

How to increase demand for any business’s products and services has many elements – clear differentiation from competitors is critical. 

Regardless of industry, location, size or the age of the business – informing future buyers, customers, patients and clients why they should only buy from your business rather than your competitors – has a significant impact on revenue and profitability. 

Take the traditional shoe store experience. The standard operating approach for millions of retailers is 

  • Enter the store.
  • Browse models on the shoe wall and displays,
  • Pick a style that catches your eye.
  • Ask the salesperson to bring you a size for this shoe model, 
  • Confirm shoe fits – buy – or not. 
  • Wash and repeat until you find the right shoes for you. 

Footloose: a six-year-old retailer in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, has differentiated itself from traditional retailers. Online retail is called

Instore: It has a corner location with aquarium-like glass storefront windows. The store features a floor-to-ceiling digital display screen playing the moment of feet slipping into the shoes.

Product differentiation: most of their styles look like typical sneakers. Except they have a spring mechanism built into the heels. As you place your foot into the shoe, the heel compresses as the foot slides in; once the foot’s secure, the heel snaps back into the upright position. The retailer says about their shoes,

They are the easiest shoes you’ll ever put on. No tying, no heel crushing, and no hands necessary.

Its parent company, HandsFree Labs, holds more than 170 granted or pending patents on the technology.

Instore sales operating approach has changed:

When a potential customer tries one shoe in-store, and the retail assistant gets an immediate smile – it’s almost always new revenue. In-store changes 

  • At least one style in every size is within the retail area – ready for anyone to try it on,
  • Sales staff are ready to encourage shoppers to step into it when they enter the store – give it a go – you will be surprised…they say, 
  • Selling more = standing up more – traditional retail is all about potential customers sitting to try shoes on – at Footloose – success is when they stand and place their foot into the shoe – the auto lock – almost guarantees every try-on as a sale. 
  • Stepping into a shoe sales staff get that smile from potential customers – that roughly translates into ‘Oh, I didn’t know a shoe could be like this.'”
  • Most new potential customers who try the shoe – go on to buy, 

Business model: Kizik started as a direct-to-customer (DTC) online retailer. Following the successful framework of DTCs, it extended into departmental retailers (now five Nordstrom locations) and now its physical retail stores – Footloose. 

Price points: Australian retailers can buy online, with most shoes delivered for around $200. 

It is catching on: other brands are trying to lure consumers with slip-on shoes.

  • Nike invested in HandsFree Labs in 2019, including IP rights to the technology, which deployed in Jordan slip-on shoes for kids that Nike introduced earlier this year.
  • Skechers makes a range of slip-in sneakers, including a collaboration with Martha Stewart.

The differentiation results in one of the highest conversions in the industry – from stone cold to the buyer at speed – more than a third of people who come into the store walk out with new shoes on their feet. 

  • Has your business reviewed its current differentiation – product, brand, story? 
  • Has it undertaken an independent review to highlight opportunities and new growth? 
  • Does it know how much a lack of differentiation is reducing demand and profitability now? 

GPT Chat | AI problems to be aware of

In the last couple of weeks, professionals have fallen into the lure of AI without knowing its limitations. 

  • A teacher school who thought ChatGPT could tell him if essays were plagiarised – (it can’t).
  • A USA corporate lawyer asked ChatGPT for legal precedents and case numbers. ChatGPT responses do not exist at law. A very unamused federal judge rebuked him in court. 

The upshot – if it looks like magic, it’s likely not factual and cant be relied on. Validate first.