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