Thursday, February 26, 2009

Take Action.

In ‘these times’ small business owners, particularly retailers might find themselves with a little extra (ok. A lot) time on their hands. What to do?

1. Create an event.
2. Call, email, or contact your customers the best way you know how.
3. Keep music playing throughout the day- make your space seem exciting!
4. Don't let the staff congregate in the store.
5. Ask (or politely tell) your customers to tell their friends and family about store specials or events.
6. Maximize the traffic you do have, engage customers.
7. Change your store around. {ET says: a friend of mine SWEARS by this. Touch everything in the store she says to bring new life to old product. It works, just try it}
8. Buy off-price- but stay true to what you set out to be. Vision is important.
9. Rework your inventory budget.
10. Move out merchandise that hasn't moved to increase your cash flow. SALE!
11. Buy just in time. {ET says: I try to do this as much as possible, but if you are an online retailer like we are, it’s hard to not have sufficient inventory on hand. Know what works for you and stick to it.}
12. Get the store in tiptop shape for when traffic picks up in the spring. See #7!
13. Call your vendors and see if there are extra good deals being offered to freshen up your merchandise. New sells, period.

{Tips inspired by the great ideas for retailers over at One Coast! Picture from flickr.}

Friday, February 20, 2009


Freakoutonomics in New York Magazine.

This is it, the article that really got me going, made me reassess what I was doing as a small business owner, and ultimately lead me here to starting a blog. I won't deny, I'd been ignoring the news pretty much since the election, just unable to stomach all the bad news and the copious amounts of data being churned out. This article seemed both easy to digest and insightful; I've read over it several times now. Retailers of all types will enjoy the pearls of wisdom embedded in this New York centric piece, but rest assured, the lessons are universal and worth incorporating into your own business.

-Carry lower priced gift items (soaps, jewelry, books*) that have high profit margins while still continuing to pursue higher price point items. Seems weird at first thought...higher prices in a down market? But! How can you ever make your same sales figures selling less? You can't. I know I'm continuing to find high priced, quality items for my customers while seeking out these quick pick up gift items.

- Reinvent yourself or at least be willing to change. Be flexible if somethings not working.

- Have a plan. Have a plan. Have a plan.
got it? More on this later...

- Stay positive! Retail is an experience and no one wants to see a sad shopkeeper. People use shopping as an escape, stay upbeat, happy, and smile. Even when things are rough, customers are looking to you for a positive experience in their day.

*{ET says: Books always scare me. They're often pre-priced, thus limiting the markup and cost a TON to ship. In addition, the store's copies, which are much needed for quality flip-through-before-buying-time always go to shit and need to be written off or sold at a discount, buyer beware}