That was the headline in a recent business page editorial*. And the writer was able to cite chapter and verse of all-too-prevalent lousy shopping experiences for customers.
As noted by a Wharton School professor, "retailers frequently reduce headcount because 'you immediately see the savings in payroll but you don't necessarily know what damage that does to the top line.'" Of course, the retailers that professor is referencing are the Big Guys who have to satisfy their investors every quarter.
As independent retailers, you have advantages that are unavailable to the Big Guys.
You answer to the customer, not to the investors. That means you can showcase what makes your specialty store special.
What else sets your stores apart from the Big Guys is, of course, your nimbleness.Your recognition that "Times have changed, and so have we."
Get your staff involved; they will have lots of intriguing ideas. Make it fun!
Most of all, seize the opportunity. Be the store in your community that puts the personality back into in-person shopping.
When customers are put off by the hassle of shopping at the Big Guys, welcome those customers with open arms. They'll love it!
*"In-Person Shopping Keeps Getting Worse." Jinjoo Lee, The Wall Street Journal, September 9-10, 2023.
What is the definition of "value" for customers? Pretty straightforward, actually.
Wait. What? "Benefits received?" "Burdens endured?"
Turns out, the only single answer to "What is value?" is, "It depends."
Don't just roll your eyes. What constitutes value for your customers increasingly is a make-or-break part of retailing.
The constant challenge for retailers is to anticipate what their customers really want. And this year, there seem to be plenty of choices available.
It is all part of the on-going challenge of retail; the art and craft of being a merchant.
Then there are the customers who are reacting to the constant drumbeat of news about supply chain issues, merchandise shortages, and looming price increases by starting their shopping early.
Adding to this stampede, some major chains were launching their Black Friday specials before Halloween!
So, say you have re-opened your stores. Then what? Did the customers come back?
Or, were many of those who did show up just there to say "Hello!" And "We missed you!", but not to buy? Sigh.
We are not surprised. And here's why.
Just one week until Valentine's Day! Are you feeling the love yet?
What better time to send a love note to your customers?
That's right. A Valentine. Just a Valentine. No strings attached! Show your love!
photo: Greg Gilbert/Seattle Times
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."*
For most retailers, especially this year, reducing inventory is priority #1. With talk of a 2023 recession still in the air, lingering inflation driving up costs, and rising interest rates, cash is definitely king this year.
Time to revisit your year-end strategies for meeting your targeted ending inventory on December 31. If you are like many retailers this year, with plenty of merchandise in your stores, you know the challenge: how best to turn that inventory into cash? Quickly! Especially without looking like a distressed merchant.
Here's one answer for how to do that. Focus on improving the productivity of each shopper who comes to your store. That is, increase the IPTs (Items Per Transaction.) Make it easier, more compelling and more fun for them to buy more items from you.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀