Flooring The Consumer on Simple Marketing Now

Please visit Flooring The Consumer's new home on SimpleMarketingNow.com where you can subscribe to receive updates to blog articles in real time!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January Retail Tips

long january originally uploaded by greenhem.
January is what drove me off the retail floor.

I was okay with the holiday rush, the extended hours and the frantic scramble to keep the floor looking neat and the shoe samples balanced on their displays. In fact, it was fun.

Then came January and the letdown was spectacular. I had gotten used to the intense pace, to time zipping by. And, when the pace slowed almost to a standstill, I couldn't handle it. I needed to be more busily engaged.

January’s the Time to Get Shoppers Back in the Stores by Mickey Meece from 1/3/2008 caught my attention for that very reason.

The article makes these points comparing small and large retailers:
+ "...bigger retailers have fewer unique gifts and more private-label goods."
+ "consumers ... want to support the companies that make a commitment to their communities.."
+ "...smaller retailers have to be nimble and strategic this month to instill customer loyalty for the rest of the year..."

January, then, has a purpose. For example, "... keep an open line to ... customers" and "engage in grass-roots communications." The article refers to Professor Evans from Hofstra and his list of 15 ways to be smart about marketing in January.

1. Generate store traffic with splashy seasonal merchandise sales while prominently showcasing new products [at full-price].

2. Promote products/services that support what your customers just received.

3. Be hospitable and offer delicious sustenance - coffee, tea, cookies, snacks.

These two tips are employee-related:
4. "Reward the best employees with an extra day off. Give them a button that says “Star Performer.”"

5. "Empower employees to bend the rules for returns. Consider a distinctive return policy, like 110 percent back on gift items if the customer accepts a store credit rather than a cash or credit card refund. (Limit this to holiday items.)"

This one is counter-intuitive:
6. "Stay open a little longer than regular hours" [especially compared to your competitors].

7. Thank your regular customers via email or snail mailing and "offer a special gift or discount for their patronage".

8. "Run a customer contest or sweepstakes" [Evans has some cool examples.]

9. Absolutely start planning and organizing upcoming events [e.g, something along the lines of Mining March Madness].

10. Create your own holiday [read Mining March Madness]: “...Spend $250 in January and get a $35 gift card.”

11. Be happy! Look over the past year, makes plans for an even better year ahead.

This one is a big deal:
12. "Keep the store fully stocked. This will help shopper and employee morale. Don’t make it seem as if a distress sale is going on."

13 and 14. Show your support for the community. Become a sponsor; donate excess products. It promotes your name and reputation.

15. Be sure to Advertise. Our Wear-Dated Regional Managers just this week reiterated that those carpet/flooring stores advertising consistently are the ones benefiting from the business that's out there and remaining profitable!

Maya Avrasin offers Perspective in the 12/3/2007 issue of FCW in "Lack of traffic fuels problems." The article quotes Jon Logue, co-CEO of Alliance Flooring: "... When business was good, retailers could push back plans to renovate their showrooms or update racks, but not anymore," Logue said. "Now it's time to take sage advice and use it... It's cutting costs, optimizing their business, diversification and making sure their showrooms are up to date."

The last set of tips comes from wonderful Yvonne DiVita at Lip-Sticking. Check out her 2007 update to Smart Marketing To Women Online Top Ten Tips available on her right sidebar. As relevant as they are to the online environment, consider then in the light of a retail environment. My favorites:

1. "Women want to be treated as if they matter. Ask our opinion and then listen to our answers."

3. "Make it easy for us to contact you."

4. "Keep your navigation simple." In other words, make sure your store is neat, well-organized, welcoming and clean!

7. "Continue to offer loyalty programs... Reward women for their loyalty."

8. "Concentrate on your own hometown first."

9. "More women than men check out a site's About Us page." So, include something about your heritage, who you are, why someone should buy from you.

Read them all for yourself. Each one matters.

So there you have it. Tips for dealing with January at retail. Do you have any you'd care to ad?

Technorati Tags:
Del.icio.us Tags:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Reminder: Please, no self-promotional or SPAM comments. Don't bother if you're simply trying to build inauthentic link juice. Finally, don't be anonymous: it's too hard to have a conversation. Thanks, CB

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...