Retail Musings

"How can money be the root of all evil, when shopping is the cure for all sadness..." Elizabeth Taylor

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Posted by on in Valentine's Day
Poem or Acronym

This one can be used in-store(on sticky notes) , website, blog or facebook.

Ask clients to be creative and submit an acryonym based on the word "LOVE" (for example, an entry might be something like, "Lifelong Obsession with Valuing Everyone") or another word.

Or ask clients to get really get creative and submit a short poem as a contest entry (the poems can be cynical for your 'Singles' sake!)

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Posted by on in General Retail
Working with Your Partner or Spouse

Could you go into business with your partner? Retail has such a tradition of family owned and run businesses that it almost seems 'normal' to work together. But not every couple can handle the stress of day-to-day contact in a small shop without it taking a toll on a relationship. [I, for one, would not be able to do it...]

Try to look realistically at your relationship, your communication style, and your individual strengths and weaknesses before deciding if you would make good business partners.

One solution to working together is to have separate areas of responsibility and to trust one another to make most decisions within those areas on their own. It may help to divide almost everything into his and hers - even the office files. Do ensure though that you collaborate on all major decisions - even if you don't agree. Try to work out your disagreements in private, however, and present a united front to your staff and customers.

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Posted by on in General Retail
Is Your Instore Music Legal?

Music is an integral component of any successful retail store. Shoppers might not notice store signs, fixturing or store layout, but they are very likely to notice the sound. The right music at the right time can create a lasting impression, attracting customers and adding value through increased sales, productivity and brand presence. The wrong music can drive customers away...

But is the music in your shop being used legally? With increased accessibility to a wider range of music and technology, it’s understandable that some retailers are confused about what represents appropriate and legal use of music in business environments, especially with regard to playing recorded music within your shop.

As outlined by www.business.gov.au, you almost always need permission to play live or recorded music in your business or as telephone ‘music on hold’. This is to protect the rights of music creators, music publishers, performers and record producers and pay them for the use of their product. Simply buying a CD, for example, doesn’t include the right to play it in a commercial environment, such as a shop.

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Posted by on in General Retail
Early Mornings and Late Nights

You probably spend as much time at your shop as you do at home, at least during the first few years, so include a few amenities to make life more comfortable.

A small kitchen area with a refrigerator, microwave and sink will be appreciated by your staff as well. Make sure there is a place to relax, with comfortable seating and good reading light. You don't need to be stuck in a corner surrounded by stock!

During the day, the shop belongs to the public, but in the early morning or late evening, it's all yours. Enjoy the calm and solitude, and the opportunity to get some work done without the distractions of customers and staff.

...
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Posted by on in Musings
Game Changers

I was born in Tasmania. And I grew up on a dairy farm. Beautiful countryside but, hey, who cared? It was so far from everything.... or so I thought. I recently went back and visited. Not that far from everything after all (at a place called Elliott - between Yolla and Somerset on a Tassy map).

I was a curly haired child (still am 'curly' but thank God for hair straighteners and product!) who hated having my hair combed, brushed or touched. Still hate it. Back then I wore a hat and lied about having had my hair brushed..I was also a feline lover. Still am. Many a night I fell asleep with mother cat and kittens tucked up under my blankets, warm as toast.

I remember visiting my nanna who lived on the beachfront at Penguin. Standing in her kitchen I looked next door and was gobsmacked at what I saw on their clothesline. Coloured knickers! Couldn't believe my eyes. I wanted those knickers, those beautiful colours, lined up side by side. Much better than the boring white cottontails I had always worn.

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Posted by on in Visual Merchandising
Ten VM Tips That Work

Visual impact is a huge component of retail merchandising. Customers enteringmannequins a shop are greatly influenced by the visual information they gather in that first split second. One simple visual element, such as colour, can catch a shopper's attention and greatly affect their mood.

In today's ultra competitive marketplace it is of paramount importance that retailers understand the basics of visual merchandising.

Here are 10 visual merchandising tips to help you maximize your efforts:

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Posted by on in Visual Merchandising
Stop Them In Their Tracks

Unlike the familiar saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” people do judge a shop by its “cover”.
The first impression a person is going to get of your shop is from its windows, the front door and the outdoor signage. Many a decision on whether or not to enter is going to be based on this first impression. Furthermore, if the potential customer does get by the cover and enters the shop, they must feel comfortable inside, or chances are they will walk right out.
So it is important that both the inside and outside of your shop are kept as attractive as possible. Both should reflect a personality and image that appeals to your target audience.

Think of your shop as you would of an impulse item.
You want the passerby to be stopped in his or her tracks by your windows and signage, and drawn right through the front door. Then, once the customer opens the door, you want them to be further drawn to your merchandise.
Start with your footpath or car park. You want it to be head and shoulders above all the other footpaths on the same street. If someone surveys the entire block from across the street, you want your entire package – footpath or carpark, shop and signage – to stand out from all the others.  And don't forget to sweep!

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Posted by on in Visual Merchandising
Silent Selling

Visual merchandising used to be about “making pretty”. Today it is challenged with making sales. It’s current status today is as a sales-supportive entity, which impactsLafayette Maison Paris store design, store signing, departmental merchandise placements + display, store atmospherics and store image.

Visual merchandising can transform a shopper into a buyer. It can increase the average dollar amount per sale. Effective displays teach shoppers about using multiple basic and accessory items to enhance and extend the use of their purchases. It’s not uncommon to hear a shopper say, “I’d like to purchase the entire display”. That’s silent selling at its best.

In-store displays should do the following:
communicate the latest trends and colours;
assist the customer in making a buying decision; and
create an exciting environment in the store

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Posted by on in Visual Merchandising
Hot Spots

Effective merchandising demands the most effective use of available retail space, ultimately seeking to capture the impulse of the customer to buy more and to buy better. An understanding of customer behaviour in the shop, often learned through trial + error and observation can be used as a positive sales tool.

It is telling that large retailers employ policies of shop layout, based upon research and understanding of consumers' purchasing patterns.

An initial consideration is a basic building floor plan, and every shop through it's physical layout will have areas which draw higher traffic, as well as areas of the shop which may not be explored so much for reasons such as congestion (perceived or real) or simply being at a distance from the point of entry.

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Posted by on in Visual Merchandising
Display Fundamentals

See the quality and utility
See the price
Self-select

The customer must be able to do all of the above in the shortest possible time

In the light of the broad layout principles discussed above, it is now possible to focus on where best to place the merchandise and how best to display it. The following notes provide a summary of the principles and key issues that need to be considered.

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Posted by on in Visual Merchandising
Colour My World

Colour is what customers see first.
More than anything else, colour makes people stop and look. bright shirtsFor many customers the colour is more important than the size, the style or the price.

It's important to remember that most people, when they pass windows, are not thinking of shopping; their minds are elsewhere and it's quite a challenge to catch their eye and their imagination. Colour invariably does the job beautifully.

COLOUR AS A MERCHANDISING STRATEGY
Retailers promote different colour schemes each season. They introduce new shades of a currently popular colour or select an entirely different palette (selection of colours). Standard colours may be combined in unusual ways. These colour schemes should be featured in highly visible areas of the shop, like shop entrances, department entrances, along aisles, in windows, or on interior displays, so that customers can find them easily. If the colours are part of a national trend, or have been aggressively promoted through advertising, customers will be looking for them.

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Posted by on in Marketing
The Easiest Sale

The easiest sale to structure is one that requires you to look at everything in your shop.

Look at every colour. 
Look at every size.
Look at every shape.
Look at every type of product.
Then act.

We're talking about a series of one-day sales, each featuring a particular category of products. These one-day sales can be held one day a week, one day a month, on consecutive days, or even every single day during an entire month.

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Posted by on in Marketing
Local Marketing Doesn't Work ... oh really?

Excuse me for disagreeing.
Bad local marketing doesn't work.
But clever, innovative local marketing - aimed at the locals - most certainly works. Check this out:

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Posted by on in Marketing
Bondage and Discipline

You know how 'boring' the majority of shopping is nowadays?  - same product, lookalike shops, same less than exciting service ... yada yada yada.  For the first time in a long, long time I walked into a shop and laughed out loud with delight.  This is what took my fancy.
How great is this!!  ... bondage and discipline products to get your garden under control...

I was in Tim's Garden Centre in Campbelltown ... on a wet, wet day.  
This Centre has such a personality - it's quirky, funny, different than any other nursery I've set foot in - and I've set foot in quite a few.
People tell me that signs don't matter.  They matter! As you can see from this sign in Tim's they not only tell you about the product [and refocus you on what they're selling], but they fit the 'personality' of the business.  

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Posted by on in Marketing
Bag Stuffers

Bag Stuffers are a most under-rated marketing tool.  Somehow we seem to have forgotten about them.  So I thought I'd re-introduce you to these cost-effective marketing miracles...

What is a Bag Stuffer?
A bag stuffer is a store offer or a calendar of store events/promotions on a  piece of paper that is given to every customer who buys from you.  And, unlike its name, its not to be stuffed willynilly into a bag - nor are you to ever be tempted to pre-stuff your shopping bags!

An Offer
Ensure your bagstuffers are visual (including photos)and include your logo and all contact details of your shop (this includes your website, facebook page, twitter name, instagram link...).  They are easily made.  You can design a bag stuffer on your computer as a word document - either one A4 stuffer or multiple bag stuffers on one page - simply guillotine them after you've printed them on your COLOUR printer.  Better still, design them (or get them designed) and either email through to your local printer or put them on a usb stick and walk it up to your printer.  Shoddy, black and white photocopies won't work.  

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Posted by on in Mother's Day
Mothers Day: Rinse, Lather, Repeat Experience

Make it a lather, rinse, repeat experience. 
Create Mother's Day gifts that come along with a good reason for mum (or the gift purchaser) to come back to your business again, soon.  
Ideally, a Mother’s Day gift won’t just represent the sale of products for your business one time, but would result in a new customer coming to your business, repeat visits and the opportunity to turn a new customer into a regular, loyal customer. If you offer services (such as a salon or spa), be sure that your Mother’s Day gifts are bundled along with a gift card that mum (wife, daughter, or aunt, etc.) will come to your business to redeem and experience what your business has to offer.

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Posted by on in Mother's Day
Mother's Day Promotions

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and you likely already have your Mother’s Day promotion plans in motion, but if not, here are a couple last minute ideas that also incorporate the use of social media marketing.

Something to keep in mind: women do most of the household shopping and make up the majority of users when it comes to social media sites like facebook and twitter.

Host a shopping party – Display all of your most popular Mother’s Day gift ideas prominently with signage so that they're easy to browse. Before the store opens, take a video of your store display and the products. Post the video to your facebook page with a post that your store is the local "Mother’s Day Gift Headquarters."

Host a mother/child shopping event – Have a special shopping day for mothers to bring younger children so they can shop together. Serve tea and cupcakes to draw in customers… you could have crafty gifts that children can personalise right in the store to give to mum. To tie in social media, take videos of children talking about why they love their mum and post it on your Facebook page, tagging mum so all of her online friends can see the video.

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What Do You Want Your Customers to Say After ...

You’re probably asking “Am I supposed to know what my customers say when they leave?”

You might well be thinking:

  • I want them to say “Goodbye.”
  • Why do they have to say anything?
  • I hope my customers leave town!

How could knowing this possibly be important?   Why do you want to know what your customers say after you’ve served them?

Easy.  It’s a test.

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Posted by on in Customer Service
Telephone Customer Service

In today's high-tech world, the one communication tool that remains a constant is the telephone.  Using the telephone competently and courteously is essential to customer and client satisfaction.  Poor telephone etiquette can have a disastrous effect on your telephone customer service - and bottom line.

Here are some tips for providing excellent customer service:

Preparation:  Have a fair idea of what you are going to say in advance of your telephone call.  Have a mental script you can fall back on if the conversation wanders.
Introduction:  When we meet people face to face we often introduce ourselves with a handshake.  On the phone we must do this verbally by greeting the customer with genuine warmth.

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Posted by on in Customer Service
Retail Robots Begone!

I recently met a genuinely funny man ... funniness beams from him.  In fact, I'd met him a few months earlier at a seminar I was running on the Gold Coast but didn't realise it.
To ensure that mobile phones don't blast my seminars (because I want people to absorb what I'm saying, not just 'attend')  I always give people the choice of turning their phones off, onto vibrate, silent or leave them on.  The only thing is:  If they choose to keep it on and it rings in the seminar, they will be asked to stand and sing "I'm a little teapot" and do the actions.
Back to my story:  He came in late to the seminar and missed the message.

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