What can you do that the Big Boys can’t or won’t? What can you do better? It’s not as hard as you think.
1. None of the Bigs offer free gift-wrap. It’s an easy service for an Independent to add. It saves your customer time and worry. They go home with beautiful gifts ready to present.
2. Have you ever tried to ship a gift from a Big? The process is painful. You can make this very easy by adding USPS click and ship from your store. If it fits it ships supplies are free from the Post Office. Stock up and let your customers pack and ship directly from your store. (This can be an add on service to your gift-wrap) Arrange package pick up direct from your door.
3. How about local delivery to your customers door with-in a selected area near your store? Everyone is in on the delivery gig now and most of them do NOT do it well. Customers can shop and pay in-store, leave items to be gift-wrapped and then have them delivered to their home. Of course this can work well for phone, online or special order items as well.
Saving your customers time, money and stress in an efficient manner, these 3 services will encourage your customers to shop small and local, increase customer loyalty.
Need more help with your holiday strategy? Attend ONO’s FREE 30 minute Webinar: 5 Tips to a Stress Free Holiday for the Independent Retailer, November 1, 9AM Eastern. Sign Up here. For more information contact Anne Cecil, firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's face it, the holiday will be here before we know it. It makes good sense to take an hour or two out of your schedule now to plan. Here are some tasks to help streamline you transition into and through the holiday.
1. Review your inventory and outstanding receivables. Re-order current stock and review outstanding orders. Make sure you have enough either on-hand or on-order to get through the rush. Making a master calendar noting outstanding order arrival is useful in the process. Note where new deliveries will be merchandised on the floor.
2. Get current on markdowns. Review merchandise that isn't moving or is moving slowly. Can you bundle these items with holiday items to create a gift with purchase or bundle? Move broken stock and slow sellers into clearance mode with a 3 week chance for sale as we have outlined before. Create a plan for weekly markdowns and clearance management from now till mid November. It may be helpful to note markdown dates on the master calendar in item 1. Consider how markdowns will be handled and where they will be placed during the holiday season.
3. Look at your floor. Determine where and how you want to merchandise holiday items. Can you make a holiday shop? Is it better create a small outpost of holiday ideas within each department or category? Where exactly will they be placed on the floor? Can you allow for spaces to flex as they grow or sell down? What fixtures and display pieces do you need for the plan? Find, inspect, clean and repair all items and put them together so they are handy to find. Replenish cleaning supplies.
4. Review your interior and window display areas. How can you incorporate holiday throughout these spaces? It is best to pick a theme and let that theme carry through. For example, a holly sprig could be used through out the store in a thematic way. It could be an integral part of your window and interior displays, carry through onto signage for holiday fixtures, hang tags, shopping bags, etc. Replenish your tool kit. Arrange for your windows to be washed and your store front to be clean and well landscaped.
5. Enhance the in-store experience. Strive to engage all 5 senses. Entice customers to go deep into your store and stay. The deeper in and longer the stay the more they buy. Keep the experience as easy and stress-free as possible with every tool you have. How you set your floor can go a long way toward stress free shopping.
6. Review your marketing plan and customer loyalty incentives. Create and place materials, schedule social media and loyalty rewards.
7. Don't forget the operations. Create your holiday schedule and determine staffing needs. Include staff to come early and stay late to handle cleaning, stocking primping, etc. Hire additional staff now and train them. Do you need a second register outpost? Can you have sales people with mobile checkout via smartphones or tablets? Make sure you have enough bags, boxes, tissue and gift wrap ready or on order. Consider offering gift cards and have an adequate supply.
Get organized now for a stress-free holiday for you.
Need help with your plan? Contact Anne Cecil, email@example.com
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – out with the old and in with the new. Here’s a checklist for you as you prepare for the AETA trade show:
AETAEdge is presenting brief videos on getting ready for the show. Watch for them on FaceBook. Friday education seats are limited so sign up now. You will leave with an action plan that you can implement to improve your business.
ONO offers several tools to help you understand your store, your customer, your products and the experience you offer starting at $99. Contact us today.
Let’s face it, a tack shop customer is not going to buy a saddle, bridle, show coat, or grooming supplies every day. Some items you carry they will only buy once or at most a few times in a lifetime. Your challenge is to maximize the items that do sell frequently AND to diversify your offerings into items that are more frequently purchased.
Many of you do this with impulse items – human snacks and drinks, but the problem with these are that the margins are slim. You are not likely to pay your rent or mortgage off candy, chips and soda. You need to consider your categories and build on them with items that can be purchased every day.
If you sell riding apparel, consider adding some every day options into the mix. Think about adding a basic t-shirt program like the Gap or J. Crew. Choose 2-3 styles in 3 to five colors plus black and white each to start. I’d suggest a cotton/poly blend and styles and colors that co-ordinate with your britches and can be worn for schooling. A second category to consider is exercise-wear. Adding a great yoga pant, a good running shirt, a water resistant hoodie into the mix allows you to offer appropriate schooling, gym and everyday attire. Because these pieces are familiar and are easily worn across various activities, customers are likely to buy them frequently. Why not at your store while they are there?
If you are considering testing this option, make sure to buy enough product and variety to make a statement on your floor. Show the customer how to mix and match everyday items with riding attire, using mannequins with outfitted fixtures nearby. A good place for a test shop is to the left of your entrance.
Everyday apparel will sell at a higher margin than snacks and drinks and offer your customer time saving convenience. As you learn what they buy and find out what else they would like, you can teak your offerings and build a reputation as an every day destination, not just a once in a while stop along the way.
ONO offers several tools to help you understand your store, your customer, your products and the experience you offer starting at $99. Contact us today. firstname.lastname@example.org
As the new buying season approaches, this is a very good time to reconsider your customers and their shopping habits. Remember the advantage you have over online shopping is your ability to offer an experience. Using what you learn, consider how you might buy merchandise, promote your buy, and create experiences in-store targeted to your store’s customer profiles.
The following are several typical retail customer archetypes:
The Savvy Shopper is price conscious. She is looking for high quality at budget prices. She is generally motivated to shop in response to a need. This customer will comparison shop, look for sales and use coupons, loyalty points, etc. Be a Savvy Buyer to support this shopper by offering a loyalty program, meeting the lowest advertised price (if possible) and setting aside some open-to-buy for key promotional items in your store. Examples of promo purchases are Buy One Get One, or T-shirts $12 each or 2 for $20.
The Practical Purchaser knows what she wants and will go to great lengths to find and purchase it. She is not particularly price conscious or brand loyal. She shops only when she has a particular need and will often research before purchasing. Support this shopper by positioning yourself as an information leader. Use a blog or social media to provide valuable information about your products. In-store employ educated sales staff and use informational signage to educate the customer.
The Explorer is all about discovery. She shops frequently and enjoys browsing for something unexpected. She can be cost sensitive or value conscious, but she is generally not brand loyal. Create an in-store experience that leads the customer to discovery. Choose a fixture floor plan that drives pathways to destination fixtures. Merchandise these fixtures with interesting new items in the sweet spot (eye level). Display only a few of this item so it looks limited and special. Add some signage with a quirky story and the explorer will feel she has found a treasure.
The Stylish Influencer is a trendsetter and respected fashion leader. She shops frequently and wants the newest products. Communicate with this shopper often. Let her know when you have something new. Create opportunities and rewards for her when she sells your product to her followers. Social media is an excellent way to engage her pre-store, in-store and post-store.
ONO offers several tools to help you understand your store, your customer and the experience you offer starting at $99. Contact us today. email@example.com