Thoughts, ideas, tips and musings as I work alongside small business owners helping them love their businesses back to life!
Shopping should be a pleasure for everyone involved - customers, staff and business owners - never a chore. I spend my time working with retail business owners - helping them love their businesses back to life! This blog is my thoughts, ideas, tips and musings on what I find...
As Valentines Day approaches (and any event for that matter), take the opportunity to create a compelling and interactive theme display.
Use products your shop is already pushing as you create the display. This can increase your sales and help you move your most profitable products as the next event approaches.
Creating a themed merchandising display also helps your store avoid costly leftovers that must be sold at highly discounted prices.
Most of us have been there at one time or another - facing the prospect of getting through a Valentine's Day as a "single" rather than a couple.
Consider doing something special and fun for the un-couples among your customers and visitors.
You could make your shop a 'Valentine's-Day-free-zone' and promote it that way. Consider what music you'd play... oh how the mind boggles!
Why should couples have all the fun? Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day singly or as a couple, love yourself!
Create special “Love Yourself” promotions around your most pampering services and retail products, or gift free, store branded chocolates or relevant products with retail purchase to clients.
Make it easy for your customers to envision your products and gift certificates as "gifts" by pre-packaging gift baskets and displaying them along with gift certificates or gift cards for your business. You can have real baskets in-store and photos of baskets on your website and social media. Promote across all your platforms - not just one.
(nb: This is probably NOT the type of gift basket to give...)
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!)
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.
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.
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....
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.
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:
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!
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
Have you ever gone into a shop to buy a single item and let with a cartload of things you hadn't intended to buy? Congratulations! You have fallen victim to some other retailers' merchandising strategy. shopping trolleyWhen a shop is merchandised well this becomes a common occurrence.
Visual merchandise is projected on entry to the shop and you need to direct the prospective customer's eyes and feet to a successful sale.
So let's look at some of the things you can do:
A customer has seen your special promotion in the window, enters your shop and turns which way? You need to monitor your customer flow: Do they generally turn right, left or stop and look puzzled? Watch the customer flow and gauge reactions to your layout.
You should strategically display the merchandise that you are selling and make sure the new range of merchandise is easily spotted. Let's start to organise your interior.
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.
See the quality and utility
See the price
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.
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.
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.
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.
I was recently asked this question: Traditionally one of the ways our business has promoted our products is via a local letter drop. Is there a more cost-effective way to promote our products to a wider audience?
There are certainly other ways of promoting your business. Without knowing the retail sector you’re in, here are some ideas:
Ramp up your bag stuffers. Change them regularly and hand them out to every customer who purchases in your store;
Ensure you capture customer’s email addresses so that you can send out emails, offers and newsletters;
Start a facebook page, ensuring you spend money on facebook ads targeted towards your market ie geographic, gender and age group;
Every product has a birthday! Your objective is to make sure that no product celebrates a birthday in your shop. Be ruthless!
So, if you have product that’s not moving, here are some ideas to get it out of your shop:
- Move it to another location and monitor its sales – the product could be just fine – it might just be in the wrong place.
- Promote it using signage, or if it is already promoted with signage, change the signage. The sign could be sending out the wrong signals.
- If you find you’re not doing the amount of business you expected, you just may need to stimulate a little activity. Sometimes you may not even need a sale. Maybe all you need is a creative non-sale promotion eg. Combine the offending product with another and sell them as a pair....