Cruising for customers | How to cut inventory – fast! | New Ways of Thinking About Your Competitive Edge 
Monday, May 16, 2022

From The Co-Founders

Patricia M. Johnson & Richard F. Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC  •  Retail Turnaround Experts
Bookshop on wheels
photo: Greg Gilbert/Seattle Times

Following the Customer

Recently we read of a "bookshop on wheels" launched by a college English instructor. While certainly not the first retail variation on a food truck, this one has gained praise for its authenticity. 

"What’s most surprising when you walk into Blue Kettle Books for the first time is how cozy and, well, bookstore-ish the tiny space feels."*

Monica LeMoine has converted a hotel shuttle bus into a tiny bookstore, able to hold a highly curated selection of 800 books.

But what really is the driving motivation behind this? "Providing a frictionless entry point to the joy of reading," says LeMoine.

👀 Not a "frictionless transaction," as e-commerce giants have focused on. A "frictionless entry point to the joy of reading."  
  • The Blue Kettle Bookshop has been built to go to "events and locations that are attended by people who don’t regularly visit bookstores."
  • It is scheduled to appear at family-friendly events all summer long: music festivals, farmers markets, street fairs, even the occasional brewing company. 
This startup retailer is not waiting to be discovered by customers. She's taking her shop TO the customer. And she realizes that is not only online or at the mall. Have wheels, will travel!

Poses some interesting questions, doesn't it?
  • How and where will you best be able to connect with your customers?
  • Dare you just wait for them to come to you?
  • Or, is it time to meet them at least halfway?
"Location. Location. Location" is more of a moving target for retailers than ever before! 

"Newest and smallest bookstore will drive to you," Paul Constant, Seattle Times, May 12, 2022. 
Want more of the strategic retailing observations from Outcalt and Johnson?  Prior commentary From The Co-Founders  is available under PERSPECTIVES on The ROI site.  ➡️

Retail Finance How-To Articles

How To Cut Inventory – Fast!

Sometimes retailing doesn’t quite turn out as you had planned. 

If you find yourself long on inventory and short on profits—whether from overbuying, expanding lines too quickly, or overestimating sales – don’t panic. 

You still can whip your inventory back into shape before it devours your profits.

Here are 10 tips  – all for free! – to turn your inventory into cash – quickly!
Cut Inventory - Fast!

"Customer Service":
Above & Beyond the Transaction

Technology increasingly dominates the processes of retail transactions. 

While this generally is regarded as a good thing – greater efficiencies, time savings, fewer mistakes, etc – it does have some "unintended consequences" for the customer. 
  • That is, thanks especially to big box and online retailers, the concept of "customer service" increasingly has come to mean "customer SELF-service." 
So, how is a retailer to stand out? To be special? To matter to the shoppers? To have a competitive edge?

Well, there are ways! In this challenging and thought-provoking TOPICAL TUESDAYS Webinar of the Week, Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt, Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute®, will show how specialty retailers can:
  • focus on and sharpen their particular competitive edge;
  • create and implement a training program to sharpen and maintain that competitive edge;
  • and know when it's working!
This fast-paced session is full of consulting insights and tips. And yes, even some lofty ways of looking at all this.

Be sure that you and your key staff people take advantage and gain these insights.
FREE Access • Webinar of the Week
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