By James Atkinson

Liquor retailers need to get to know their customers better and embrace more innovative marketing methods if they are going to have any chance of succeeding in the current economic environment, according to financial commentator Peter Switzer.

At the Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) conference on the Gold Coast, Switzer said that while current market conditions are challenging, "retail's not dead, you just have to do it better".

"Hands up those people in this room who regularly survey their customers to find out what they want?" he asked delegates.

"Hands up anyone who actually has a social media strategy for their business?"

Very few of the retailers in the room raised their hands.

Switzer said the reason Apple had been so successful was that founder Steve Jobs "knew what we wanted".

"I reckon that's one of the things that a lot of people in retail struggle with – they don't really understand what their customers want," he said.

He added that many businesses have been slow to embrace social media because it seems too difficult and time consuming, and they don't know what the return on investment is going to be.

"I reckon, the better you know your customers, the more likely you'll come up with a social media strategy that suits them," he said.

"In challenging environments, you've got to be an innovator," Switzer said.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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