Engagement, Education and Entertainment. The ENTERTAINMENT part of the equation is the one that leaves many retailers stymied; after all, it is not a "squeaky wheel" so it is easy to ignore when time is short and money is shorter. Unfortunately, the day when a pretty store with well stocked merchandise was a guarantee of business success has gone the way of the dinosaur. There is simply too much competition out there! Not only can your customer choose from other brick and mortar craft stores, she also has the low priced internet option. Businesses are running scared and trying harder to attract the same pool of customers, many of whom are struggling with their own more limited personal economies by shopping very carefully. Add the impact of the shrinking value of the dollar to the mix and it is easy to see that retailers have quite a burden when it comes to attracting clientele. Eek!
What is the Crafty Retailer to do?
We couldn't get away with such a lackadaisical approach in today's market and neither will you! Today's independent craft retailer needs to be a blogger, a tweeter, a friend, a fashion advisor, a crafty mentor, and more. Make 2010 the year that you make it happen. You are busy with holiday sales now, but the register will grow quiet soon. Do not bemoan the down time...it is a gift! Use the hours to brainstorm with your team to identify your goals and fill out your marketing calendar for the year. Every month should feature at least one big event and 3 or 4 minor events. A big event might include a trunk show, a Customer Appreciation event such as a spa night, or a day filled with Make and Take projects.
Of course, these events also provide substance for your newsletter, which should be sent out twice monthly, as well as your bag stuffers, which should be updated weekly. A bag stuffer is simply a flier that promotes upcoming events and activities. It is placed into the customer's shopping bag at the register, providing the cashier with a final opportunity to engage the customer by mentioning the promotion and inviting the customer to come back to the store to participate. Click here for a sample bag stuffer. Click here for a PDF file listing all sorts of whacky and inspiring promotions that will enable you to come up with the minor events you need to flesh out your marketing calendar in a matter of MINUTES!
I hear many retailers complain about hosting events that were not well attended. They give up after a few such "failures" and are reluctant to try again. The biggest impediment to success---in ANYTHING---dieting, marriage, parenting, and even MARKETING-----is a lack of commitment. Marketing is a process that takes time to succeed and you will need to stay with it, no matter what! Your customers are not going to suddenly feel warm and fuzzy because you give them one free Blond Brownie on January 22! Nope, it is going to take time for your to create a new expectation.
This week's FACTOID: Tell your customers to stock up on mini candy canes at the after Christmas sales...they make PERFECT VALENTINE LOLLIPOPS! Cindy of SkiptoMyLou has a great tutorial for the project here.
We are still looking for retailers who fly solo -- no partners, no full time help -- for a research project we are conducting. We have a nice group started, but are looking for more volunteers. The project will be short on time, long on fun. Shoot me an email if you are willing to get involved!
Question of the Week: If you had a "do over"....what is one thing that you would do differently (business related) if you could?
6 months ago