Why Should I Come into your Store?
I had an interesting conversation this week with one of the people who I work with in The Retailer’s Advantage Platinum Membership
. I asked a basic question about how business was. She said, “Business has been spectacular during the last three months.” She said that she has been up 30%. The thing which is really impressive about what she said is that she had admittedly stated earlier that her business was floundering or was just “so so” prior to this. What was the silver bullet? What transformed the store? Her explanation was simple and a lesson for all of us to learn.
She said that every day she gave a customer a reason to shop the store. Every day she would have some type of activity, promotion, class, or anything that you can think of, which a customer might say “that’s interesting”.
She went through my list in my book from The 5000 Best Sale and Promotional Terms Ever Compiled
. She went to the book and checked off all of the different varieties of sale and non-sale ideas and started to plug them into her store calendar. She then brainstormed various types of classes she could have and picked the best ones and sorted them into a calendar.
But it is more than events. It is more than just having sale or price promotions. It is also about well-planned, friendly reminders. It is about the ways to plan on delivering those friendly reminders. Let me explain.
A simple, friendly reminder just means that you are reminding the customer about the store or, perhaps, getting more specific and reminding or informing them of something they have previously expressed an interest in. We would spend a great deal of time when filling out a preferred program information page. And we would ask what types of merchandise this customer would have the ability to purchase from us. We would break it down by category, price range, and by vendor name.
A planned, friendly reminder simply means when we plan in advance to contact our customers who have an interest in a specific category. The way this would work is that we would ask the customer about their preferences, which might be a particular manufacturer. Then we would filter all of the people who liked this particular vendor and send them some type of message. It could be as easy as a phone call, an email, or a text message. If you had enough in a category, you could have one of the popular email services send a personalized email to the people who fit into this category from your list. The key is to send the message which they will get and understand.
What this is really saying and what we have to do is to be proactive about attracting people to our store. When you look at a master calendar which will incorporate sale events, non-sale or fun events, classes and you merge that with the one-to-one friendly reminder, you have the formula for doing business.
Since I started writing this article, I received a phone call from a past RAMAE (Retailers Association of Massachusetts Awards of Excellence)
award winning store. They called up to see if I could help them get an article published in one of the magazines for which I write. I asked her how business was and she proceeded to tell me how terrible it was. But she thought that by having one article in this particular publication would help to turn her business around.
I then asked her a series of questions, such as “Do you have a blog?, Are you on Facebook?, Do you do an electronic newsletter?, Do you have any system that highlights your customers’ preferences that would allow you to be able to contact them about those preferences?” Needless to say, the answer to all of my questions was “no”. She did say that she sent out a beautiful newsletter but it cost a fortune to send it. I was starting to get the picture as I am sure all of you are as well. Bottom line:
Promote in as many different ways as you can (not just by lowering the price or having sales) and give yours customers multiple reasons to come into your store.The more reasons and the more people that you will appeal to, the more business that you will do. Charles Dickens said, “These are the best of times and the worst of times.” Where does your store fit???