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"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 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
Pile It High and Watch It Fly

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:

THE LINK

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.

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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
Letter Drops

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; 

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Posted by on in Marketing
Move that Stock

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....
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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 Christmas
Christmas Windows & Hot Spots

Let's look at window displays, hot spots and standing out from the crowd.

Creating a dominant window display with significant impact from a distance  should be the aim of every retailer.  It is important not to over-complicate your layout.  Make sure there is one strong simple message coming through.  Change your window displays regularly throughout your festive campaign to keep it updated and looking inviting.

Hot Spots
Careful selection of product for hot spots will ensure the highest number of customers are passing your your most important product lines.  Products in these locations need to be clearly ticketing and rotated to ensure they remain full and renewed throughout the festive promotion.

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Posted by on in Christmas
Your Online Christmas Store

Here are some things to consider with your Online Store for Christmas.  

Are you offering Christmas specials? 

You can put up special Christmas only products that have special pre-Christmas offers.  Gift buyers come in many different types and good quality novelty items sell well at Christmas.

Add Christmas Keywords  
Make sure that you add the Christmas keywords to your meta-keywords with plenty of time to get crawled by the search engines before Christmas. Also make sure that you add Christmas Gift category names and description text to match up with your keywords.  But remember timing is important.  How often does Google crawl your website homepage?  For most online shops it might be every 5-10 days so to get your changed messages out there -  it is not instantly available.  Now might be a good time to set up some web analytics.

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Posted by on in Christmas
Christmas Promotions - Your Online Store

Christmas is the peak retail period of the year and preparation should have already started.  If it hasn't - START NOW!
There are two guarantees:  Christmas will happen and people will still spend up on gifts and food for the holiday season.

Let's start by looking at your online store:
You have issues to cover but the key issue is time.  The date for Christmas doesn't change so by December 24th your Christmas business is done. So plan backwards:

  • How long does it take you to pick, pack and ship?  That will determine the last date for selling online and delivering by Christmas.  Remember, there may be backlogs in delivery so check with your shipping company.
  • What are the peak number of orders that you can handle each day and still get the deliveries out?
  • How much stock will you need on hand?
  • What content changes do you need for your online shop?
  • Do you have photos and new stock information from suppliers?
  • What about pre-Christmas promotions and sales?
  • What about Christmas gifts and gift wrapping materials?
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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
Telling Customers NOT to Complain

Complaint handling that discourages customers from speaking up includes all or some ofthese reactions:

  • apologies and nothing more
  • rejection
  • promises that aren't delivered
  • no response at all
  • rude treatment
  • being passed on to someone else
  • avoiding personal responsibility
  • nonverbal rejection
  • customer interview, or
  • customer interrogation

Apologies and Nothing More
A customer walks into a restaurant and leans against a freshly painted wall, leaving a paint smear on his coat.  All the staff members he talks to say they are sorry but there is no attempt to fix the situation.  "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do."  The customer says, "They're very good at saying 'I'm sorry' but they don't do anything.  'Sorry' isn't good enough.

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